Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Let them eat apfelkuchen

Sorry, there are no luscious pictures of my cake. Remember my ABin5 challah/brioche dough sitting in the fridge? Well, I was wondering what to make with it when I came across this post for Apfelkuchen (das Apple Cake) at OnlinePastryChef's terrific blog, Pastry Methods and Techniques.

I made two apfelkuchens, one for home and one for the office. Coworkers passed by, murmuring "it was to die for" and "mmm... apples, cheese" in their sugar-butter-yeast-fruit-cheese induced stupor. Nothing I've brought in has ever disappeared so fast (except birthday cakes, which is more akin to force feeding). And as you might guess I think I'm a pretty good baker. Let's see, I've brought in cinnamon rolls, sticky buns, fruit pies, all kinds of breads, cookies... and not those crappy kitchen mistakes, either. Are you getting the idea? This apfelkuchen was gone like it never even existed. But I knew it did, because not too long after setting the plate down in the kitchen, someone was bringing the clean plate back to me.

So I don't have any pictures of the apfelkuchen because it's all gone. You'll have to wait until I make it again. But I urge you, don't wait to make it. And if you want any for yourself, for pete's sake don't take it to work!

Restrained Apfelkuchen
from Pastry Methods and Techniques blog

The Dough
* 2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
* 1.75 oz. sugar (about 1/4 cup)
* 1/2 tsp salt
* 4 oz. whole milk
* 3 oz. butter
* 1 egg, at cool room temperature
* 8-12 oz. unbleached all purpose flour

The Apples
* 3-5 smallish Granny Smith Apples
* 1 TBSP lemon juice
* 1/4 tsp salt
* 1/2 tsp apple pie spice (or cinnamon, nutmeg and a tiny bit of clove)
* 1/2 oz. flour (2 TBSP)
* 2 TBSP sugar

The Cheesecake Part
* 8 oz. cream cheese (1 block), softened
* 1 egg, at cool room temperature
* 1/2 tsp vanilla
* 1/4 tsp salt
* 4 oz. sugar

Lots of parts, I know, but it’s pretty straightforward. Honest. Here’s how it goes:

1. Lightly spray a 9″ spring form pan with some non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
2. Mix yeast, sugar, salt and about 4 oz. flour in the bowl of your stand mixer.
3. Heat the milk and the butter together. Don’t let it boil. You want it to be decidedly warm, but not hot. If it’s hot, let it cool off a bit. You’re looking for about 125-130 degrees, F.
4. Add the milk mixture and the egg to the mixer and mix with the paddle attachment for a couple of minutes.
5. Add another 4 oz. of flour, a bit at a time, and mix for another couple of minutes. You should have a pretty thick batter/soft dough. Change to the dough hook.
6. With the mixer on medium-low and the dough hook doing its thing, add flour, an ounce at a time until you have a soft dough. It might stick in the bottom of the bowl a bit, but it should clear the sides.
7. Set the mixer on medium and let the dough hook develop the gluten in your very rich dough for about seven minutes or so. At this point, you may wander off to check your email.
8. Once the dough is silky and stretchy, cover it and let it rise for an hour or two, depending on the temperature of the room. Like I said, there’s a lot of fat weighing this dough down, and it’ll take hours to double. I didn’t wait that long, and the dough did not double in size. Too bad; I had a dinner to get to.
9. Once the dough has risen, take it out and press it into the bottom and about 1-11/2″ up the sides of the pan.
10. Prep the apples. Peel and core them, and slice them into 1/4″ slices. Sprinkle them with lemon juice (to prevent browning, and also to add a little extra tartness)
11. Mix all the dry ingredients together, and toss with the apples.
12. Arrange the apples in a moderately attractive manner no more than 2 apple slices thick.
13. Mix the cheesecake portion together. With the paddle attachment, cream the cream cheese until smooth. Add the salt and sugar and cream on medium speed for about a minute. Scrape the bowl often. Add the egg and vanilla and mix until smooth.
14. Pour the cream cheese mixture over the apples, spreading it around with the spatula and making sure that it oogies down into the apples. Don’t let the cream cheese mixture flow over the lip of dough around the outside of the cake.
15. Cover and let rise until the dough is somewhat puffy. I let it hang out for 2 hours. If you were more patient during the first rise, you might only need 45 minutes to an hour.
16. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
17. Bake in the middle of the oven until the sides are a lovely golden brown, most of the cheese mixture is set and there’s just a little wiggliness in the center. The recipe said 30 minutes. The recipe lied. The recipe was a lying liar. I left mine in for close to 50 minutes.
18. When it’s done, take it out and let it cool to warm. Slice and serve.

Things to know:

* If you serve it without letting it chill and then reheating it, the center will still be a bit liquid-y. It will have gotten hot enough in the oven to get rid of pesky bad guys, but if you’re concerned, use pasteurized eggs. The good thing about the liquidy center is that it is like a thick sweetened cream–sort of a self-saucing dessert.
* This isn’t an overly sweet dessert. You can add a little more sugar to the cream cheese mixture and/or to the apples, but I didn’t think it needed it.
* If you do chill this, let it come to room temperature and then warm it in the oven before serving. This dessert is Very Good warm.

1 comment:

  1. Glad it went over so well! Maybe a little TOO well?! This is definitely a treat for either a)just yourself to eat in front of the television, or perhaps while taking a bubble bath, or b)Very, Very Close Friends. This is NOT an office snack. Sorry. Should have warned you! :lol: