Apple Cranberry Cake-Pie

I had so much fun doing my Week of Cupcakes back in August and my Week of Pumpkin in October, that I’m back for another Week of… This time I’m featuring cranberries! Until last year, I had never eaten a cranberry. Fresh or dried. Now I eat them all the time.

I remember seeing this recipe show up when TWD did it. I looked amazing so I had it bookmarked. Then we decided to have friends over to check out the new kitchen (yes, I realize I promised updated pictures a long time ago, I’ll get on that…)

Since we were hosting friends for dinner, I wanted to make a special dessert. I love the flavor combo of the apple and cranberries in this and the dough is great. It’s just like it sounds, somewhere between a cake and a pie.

I made a 1/2 batch and used an 8×8 pan. I also served this with ice cream. Then Hubby and I ate leftovers for breakfast for a couple days. If you like apple pie and cranberries, I highly recommend making this!

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Russian Grandmothers' Apple Pie-Cake

Ingredients:

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
Squirt of fresh lemon juice
1 cup moist, plump raisins - I used dried cranberries
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Sugar, preferably decorating (coarse) sugar, for dusting

Directions:

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 9x12-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.

Recipe from Dorie Greenspan, as seen on A Whisk and A Spoon

Check out my week of Cranberries here.

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10 Responses to “Strawberry Rhubarb Bars”

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    1
    Ingrid — August 6, 2009 at 7:36 pm

    I’ve been anxious to try rhubarb but after many trips to the grocery store missed the season. (it sold out-FAST!) Did you use fresh or frozen rhubarb? I just saw the frozen kind and have been thinking about giving it a try.
    ~ingrid

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    2
    Jen — August 6, 2009 at 8:12 pm

    Ingrid – I made this when I was home in the Midwest back in June. It seems easier to find out there than in the East Coast where I live. We use fresh and I’ve never used frozen although my dad does freeze his for the rhubarb rolls I made a few weeks ago too. I should have grabbed a ton and froze it myself…

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    3
    bewa3u1 — August 6, 2009 at 9:07 pm

    I made these for a 4th of July party. we ran out of fresh and had to use frozen rhubarb, which tasted fine, we couldnt tell the difference (but we also had the fresh mixed in). Although I would suggest cutting the frozen pieces up a bit more- they came out of the bag huge! ~Jen’s older-younger sister

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    4
    Jen — August 6, 2009 at 9:15 pm

    thanks little sis! Were they store bought or did Dad freeze them from fresh?

  5. #
    5
    Katie — August 7, 2009 at 2:42 am

    No kidding – those look like the best dessert ever!! I’m starring and making for sure!

  6. #
    6
    Sara @ Our Best Bites — August 7, 2009 at 5:07 am

    Ya know what- I’ve never made anything with rhubarb! But those sure look yummy so I might have to try it 🙂

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    7
    Colleen — August 7, 2009 at 5:42 pm

    These look delicious!

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    8
    nutmegnanny — August 7, 2009 at 9:28 pm

    I love rhubarb, what a great new way to use it;)

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    9
    madebymel — August 9, 2009 at 12:44 am

    I really need to try rhubarb. I am afraid I won’t like it, but this looks like a great recipe!

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    Ingrid — August 9, 2009 at 5:07 pm

    Thank for the info Jen! I just may go ahead and give frozen a try otherwise its wait a year.
    ~ingrid

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