Tuesdays with Dorie: Russian Grandmothers’ Apple Pie-Cake


TWD is brought to us this week by Natalie of Burned Bits. I was so totally stoked when I heard what this week’s TWD would be. Jaos loves, loves, loves apple pie. This one had a twist being baked in a 9×12 and had a very different type crust. I was all about it. Even though I was unsure of raisins in my apple pie, I forged on. The crust was simple to put together. Its a very soft dough, but thats just how Dorie says it should be. For the apples, I used a mix that looked good and fresh when I was at the grocery. Pink Ladies, Braeburn and Fuji. I didn’t have any idea how they would be in a pie. In hindsight, I should have read the little “About this Apple” cards at the grocery, but I did not. Hoping for the best, I sliced them up and put them into the pie. I decided to use one of the “Playing Around” options of using a deep dish pie plate. Now, my pie plate is wicked deep, so I still followed the regular recipe only using the directions from Playing Around for the crust.


I was a little concerned when it was in the oven. It started to get nice and golden, but I saw no bubbling. I kept letting it in 5 minutes longer to wait for bubbling. The crust started to get darker and darker. I covered it to try and stop the browning process, but I was a taaad too late. Bygones. It is what it is. I knew even if the edges were dark, the inside would be great. It never did bubble out the top. After I cut into it, I realized that was because my apples did not give off much juice. There was no “goo” as another TWD’er put it. I think that was due to the kind of apples I used.


Verdict- It is a fantastic pie, er pie-cake! I do not think my crust rose as much as Dorie intended because of my super deep dish. The apples were too heavy. Next time, I will bake in a regular 9×13 and I think the crust will turn out like it should. The apples were fantastic. Even though there was minimal goo, they were tender, juicy and just perfect. The crust while a little too dark on the edges had a good ole fashinoned sugar cookie taste with a slight tartness. The lemon juice gave it a unique flavor that I just loved. We really liked the raisins too. I have to admit, I could barely tell they were there. And the ones I did taste took on an appley flavor. Fine by me! I will totally make this pie-cake again. Jaos loved it, I really liked it. I think I may follow some of the other fab TWD ladies and halve the recipe next time though. It makes enough to feed a HUGE thanksgiving crowd. Which I may do next Thanksgiving and swap the raisins for cranberries. Holy yum!

Check out the blogroll on the TWD blog to see the rest of the TWD masterpieces. Next week our TWD recipe comes from Peabody of Culinary Concoctions by Peabody.


Russian Grandmothers’ Apple Pie-Cake
Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan

For The Dough

2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup sugar

2 large eggs

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

Juice of 1 lemon

3 1/4 – 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

For The Apples

10 medium apples, all one kind or a mix (I like to use Fuji, Golden Delicious and Ida Reds; my grandmother probably used dry baking apples like Cordland and Rome)

Squirt of fresh lemon juice

1 cup moist, plump raisins (dark or golden)

1/4 cup sugar

1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Sugar, preferably decorating (coarse) sugar, for dusting

To Make The Dough: Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together on medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs and continue to beat until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 3 minutes more. Reduce the mixer speed to low, add the baking powder and salt and mix just to combine. Add the lemon juice – the dough will probably curdle, but don’t worry about it. Still working on low speed, slowly but steadily add 3 1/4 cups of the flour, mixing to incorporate it and scraping down the bowl as needed. The dough is meant to be soft, but if you think it looks more like a batter than a dough at this point, add the extra 1/4 cup flour. (The dough usually needs the extra flour.) When properly combined, the dough should almost clean the sides of the bowl.

Turn the dough out onto a work surface, gather it into a ball and divide it in half. Shape each half into a rectangle. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or for up to 3 days. (The dough can be wrapped airtight and frozen for up to 2 months; defrost overnight in the refrigerator.)

To Make The Apples: Peel and core the apples and cut into slices about 1/4 inch thick; cut the slices in half crosswise if you want. Toss the slices in a bowl with a little lemon juice – even with the juice, the apples may turn brown, but that’s fine – and add the raisins. Mix the sugar and cinnamon together, sprinkle over the apples and stir to coat evenly. Taste an apple and add more sugar, cinnamon, and/or lemon juice if you like.

Getting Ready to Bake: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Generously butter a 9×12-inch baking pan (Pyrex is good) and place it on a baking shee tlined with parchment or a silicone mat. Remove the dough from the fridge. If it is too hard to roll and it cracks, either let it sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes or give it a few bashes with your rolling pin to get it moving. Once it’s a little more malleable, you’ve got a few choices. You can roll it on a well-floured work surface or roll it between sheets of plastic wrap or wax paper. You can even press or roll out pieces of the dough and patch them together in the pan – because of the baking powder in the dough, it will puff and self-heal under the oven’s heat. Roll the dough out until it is just a little larger all around than your pan and about 1/4 inch thick – you don’t want the dough to be too thin, because you really want to taste it. Transfer the dough to the pan. If the dough comes up the sides of the pan, that’s fine; if it doesn’t that’s fine too.

Give the apples another toss in the bowl, then turn them into the pan and, using your hands, spread them evenely across the bottom. Roll out the second piece of dough and position it over the apples. Cut the dough so you’ve got a 1/4 to 1/2 inch overhang and tuck the excess into the sides of the pan, as though you were making a bed. (If you don’t have that much overhang, just press what you’ve got against the sides of the pan.) Brush the top of the dough lightly with water and sprinkle sugar over the dough. Using a small sharp knife, cut 6 to 8 evenly spaced slits in the dough. Bake for 65 to 80 minutes, or until the dough is a nice golden brown and the juices from the apples are bubbling up through the slits. Transfer the baking pan to a cooling rack and cool to just warm or to room temperature. You’ll be tempted to taste it sooner, but I think the dough needs a little time to rest.

42 thoughts on “Tuesdays with Dorie: Russian Grandmothers’ Apple Pie-Cake

  1. Great job! My pie didn’t have the ‘goo’ either. I used all Fugi apples. I think maybe a little butter and brown sugar could help goo it up a bit next time?

  2. I like the stars on your crust. I used more juicy apples (Macintosh), but the filling still didn’t seem very juicy. I’m thinking it needed to bake longer, but I was really worried about the top getting too browned, since I read that everyone else was having a problem with that. I guess we’ll all just have to make this again to work out the bugs. =)

  3. I am not sure if its suppose to be gooey but mine wasn’t either. Personally I liked that it wasn’t as gooey (sweet) b/c you can really taste the apples and the crust better IMO. Don’t get me wrong! I love me some goo sometimes but other times its nice to have a simple understated light dessert you know? Great job L! 🙂

  4. Did anybody’s bubble? it doesn’t seem like anybody was saying theirs did, and 70 + of us can’t all be wrong can we? If there was a pic of the apple pie cake in the book, it should be yours.

  5. MIne didn’t bubble either. It was actually rather dry and I used a combination of granny smiths and pink ladies. A scoop of ice cream and a drizzle of maple syrup redeemed it though and my husband really enjoyed it!

  6. smellslikehome

    This is the first deep-dish pie-cake I’ve come across in the group yet and it looks like you had success with it! I LOVE the stars on top of the crust! Great job Laurie!

  7. Wow, I’m so impressed that you were able to get an actual slice of the pie out in one piece! My deep dish slices just fell all to pieces in the plate. Looks yummy! I didnt get any bubbling either! Maybe with using a pie dish, our crusts were thicker on top which kept the juices from bubbling?

  8. Well, I can’t figure what I did differently, but mine bubbled, turned a nice golden brown, didn’t burn, and was moist inside. Who knows? Glad you think it’s worth making again, though.

  9. Yum! It looks fabulous, I love the stars! In high school, I used to make a ghetto version of this by spreading a box of cake mix blended with melted butter over a can of apple pie filling and baking lol
    I’m still shopping around for the best price on the book so I can join TWD! I can’t believe how cheap I’ve become lol

  10. I was waiting for my pie-cake to bubble up too but it wasn’t really doing it, then I saw some little bubbles on the side (of course the pie-cake was quite brown by this point!) I love the stars you put on top. Seeing your pie makes me want a deep dish pie plate!

  11. i used golden delicious apples and my pie did start bubbling…. in fact, when i went to check the oven, it had bubbled over and the juices were all over the bottom of my oven!!! grrrr… i hate cleaning off burnt sugar juices from my oven! i so wish i had remembered to put some foil underneath it to catch the juices!

    your crust looks beautiful though, even if it didn’t puff up a ton 🙂

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