Tag Archives: caramel

Dulce de Leche Apple Pie

Standard

Dulce de Leche Apple Pie
Do you remember that episode of Friends where Monica goes through 10 batches of oatmeal cookies in attempts to re-create Phoebe’s grandmother’s famous recipe and fails?  Only to find out later that it was on the back of a Nestle chocolate chip bag all along!  Well, something similar happened to me when I was about to make this apple pie.
Here is how the story goes. My lovely mother-in-law has an amazing pie crust recipe that is called “No Fail Crust Recipe”. Her pies are so tasty and the crust is so flaky that my father-in-law requests a birthday pie instead of a birthday cake.  I always call her right before I need it and write it down on a scrap of paper, use it and lose it. Every single time.  The day before Canadian Thanksgiving I texted her asking for the recipe again! No reply. I so deserved that. Finally, I get a text, “Just Google Tenderflake pie crust recipe”. What!!! Her famous No Fail Pastry recipe is printed on every Tenderflake box.  For those of you who are not Canadian, Tenderfllake is a major Lard producer in Canada 🙂 and apparently the creator of the BEST pie crust.  The recipe they came up with is quite unique as it has a bit of vinegar in it and creates the flakiest pastry I’ve ever seen or eaten. As you break into your pie crust you can literally see layers upon layers. It’s phenomenal.

On another note, as much as I am a firm believer in butter, you just can’t beat lard when it comes to light and delicate pie pastry! Everything in moderation. 🙂Dulce de Leche Apple Pie
What is even funnier I’ve had a recipe card cut out of a Tenderflake box ages ago tucked into one of my cookbooks. All this time!
So the recipe I am about to share makes 3 9″ double crust pies which serves me just right. I usually make one pumpkin and one apple pie for the holidays and freeze the rest of the pastry for another occasion.
As you probably see from the pictures above I didn’t just make an ordinary apple pie. Not only does it have dulce de leche added to the apples but it also features a BEAUTIFUL top crust. Don’t worry it’s not difficult to make, in fact it’s easier than a regular method and I will show you exactly how I did it.
Dulce de leche Apple Pie
Ingredients {for the pie crust}: Yields 3 9″ double pie crusts or 6 pie shells

  • All purpose flour- 5 1/2 cups/1.4 litres
  • Salt- 2 tsp.
  • Lard- 1lb/454 gr
  • Vinegar- 1 tbsp.
  • Egg, beaten- 1 large
  • Ice cold water

Method:

  1.  Mix together flour and salt.
  2.  Cut in lard with pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs.
  3. In 1 cup (250ml) combine vinegar and egg. Add water to make 1 cup. Gradually stir liquid into flour and lard mixture. You might need to add a little more cold water to make the pastry dough come together. Please, don’t overmix. If you think you have a perfectly shaped dough you’ve probably gone to far. 🙂
  4. Divide into 3 equal parts, wrap them in plastic wrap and put them in the refrigerator to chill or a freezer if you are intending to use some of them later.

Ingredients {for the apple filling}:

  • Firm Apples- 6 large
  • Sugar- 2/3 cup *See Note
  • Cinnamon- 1 1/2 tsp.
  • Dulce de leche- 1/2 cup plus extra for serving ** See Note at the bottom of the post on how to make dulce de leche
  • Flour- 1/4 cup
  • Egg, beaten- 1 ( for brushing on top)
  • Coarse Sugar- 1 tbsp. (I used Demerara sugar)

Method: 

Peel and core your apples and slice them thinly. In a large mixing bow combine sliced apples, sugar, cinnamon, flour and dulce de leche. Make sure dulce de leche evenly coats the apples. Lick your finger. Mmm…

Now let’s make that pie!

Method: {How to put your pie together}

Preheat your oven to 400F/200C

  1. Take your pie crust out of the fridge and cut 2/3 off. Roll it out on a floured surface, drape it on your rolling pin and carefully transfer your pie crust into the pie plate. Make sure your pie crust hangs over the edges a little bit which will help to bring bottom and top crust together.
  2. Fill your pie crust with the apple mixture.
  3. Now the fun part.  Let’s get creative and make the top crust! Roll out the remaining pastry on a floured surface and cut out little shapes with a pastry/cookie cutter. I used my apple cookie cutter but you can you use anything you love that fits the autumn theme. 🙂 Dulce de leche Apple Pie (top crust prep)
  4. Brush the pastry that covers the rim of your pie plate with the egg wash and start placing the little pastry “apples” on the outer row making sure they are connected to the edges of the bottom crust, overlapping them slightly and brushing each circle with an eggwash to make individual cut out “apples” stick to each other and to give your pie an attractive shiny and golden finish. It’s okay to leave a little space betweens the pastry “apples” as it will act as slits and will allow the pie to ventilate while baking. Dulce de leche Apple Pie

Once you finished the first row, continue the same way until the whole pie is covered. Dulce de leche Apple Pie (top crust prep)

5. Don’t forget to brush it with the egg wash, it will seal all the individual bits of pastry and give your pie a beautiful golden colour. Sprinkle with 1 tbsp. of coarse sugar.

6. Put the pie in the oven on the lower rack and place a large baking sheet/pan to catch all the drips from the pie to eliminate a lot of mess in the oven.  Bake for 20 minutes then reduce the temperature to 375F/190C and bake for 40-50 minutes until the crust is golden and the apples are soft. If your apples are very ripe it will take less time to cook but it might take longer if your apples are not very ripe. In this case, loosely cover your pie with some foil and continue baking until the apples are tender all the way through. (Test with a knife for doneness, it should pierce them easily).

Once your pie is baked. Cool it for several hours. If you cut into it too early (like I often do) it will be very runny, however waiting a bit longer allows for all the juices to thicken so you don’t end up with an apple soup at the bottom of your pie plate. :-). Serve drizzled with a tablespoon of dulce de leche. I am sure I don’t have to tell you how indulgent it tastes. Pure heaven.

Dulce de leche Apple Pie

Can you see all the crumbs? I tell ya the flakiness of this pie crust is incredible!

Dulce de leche Apple Pie

Not to mention cinnamon apples in gooey dulce de leche sauce. A perfect holiday treat.

Dulce de leche Apple Pie

*Note: The amount of sugar will depend on the sweetness of your apples. Mine were very green and very tart so I used 2/3 cup sugar plus dulce de leche and it was the right call. However, you might need less sugar than I did so ALWAY taste your apples before you put them into your pie.

**Note: I always make my own Dulce de Leche. I recommend having it cooked and cooled before you get to pie making. Here is an excerpt from my post Banoffee Tartlets where I wrote about the method behind making the easiest dulce de leche.

Remove the label from the can of sweet and condensed milk and put it in the pot completely submerged in water.  Bring to a boil and continue cooking for 1.5-2 hours. Make sure your can is completely covered in water through the duration of cooking or it will explode.  Cool until it’s ready to use. When you open it you will discover that your “ole” plain can of sweet and condensed milk got transformed into glamourous and silky dulce de leche.

This step could be done well in advance. I had mine stored for a couple of weeks before I got around to use it. On a side note,  I have to brag about the fact that Russian babushkas have been making dulce de leche for years before it became trendy all over North America, so the taste of “sgushenka” is the taste of childhood for every Russian child.

Advertisements

Apple Spice Streusel Cake with Salted Caramel Drizzle

Standard

Apple Spice Cake with Salted Caramel Drizzle
Don’t you think autumn is the ideal time to bake? There is plenty of fruit that’s been just harvested but the temperature is not scorching hot anymore which makes a warm oven is quite welcome. Especially when it is a cheaper substitute for central heating!

This cake is my take on a well-beloved zucchini loaf except instead of zucchini I am using shredded apples. They add the same amount of moisture to the cake and so much more aroma and flavour! Just look at the raw material I was working with!

Apple Spice Streusel Cake with Salted Caramel Drizzle
You are going to fall in love with this cake because it has the familiar taste of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves we so crave in the fall and the little extras like streusel top and salted caramel drizzle take it to the next level. I also lightned up the cake by using only 1/2 cup of oil and a reduced amount of sugar. I’ve used Demerara sugar, which has more nutrients and minerals than regular white sugar, it’s light brown, raw and has a natural caramel flavour that hasn’t been refined out!Apple Spice Streusel Cake with Salted Caramel Drizzle
Ingredients:

For the Cake

  • Apples- 4 medium (3 cups shredded)
  • Sugar ( I used Demerara/Turbinado sugar)-11/4 cup
  • Oil-1/2 cup
  • Eggs-4 large
  • Flour-3 cups
  • Baking soda- 2 tsp.
  • Baking powder-1/2 tsp.
  • Salt-1 tsp.
  • Cinnamon- 1 tsp.
  • Mixed Spice- 1/2 tsp.
  • Nutmeg- 1/4 tsp.

For the Streusel Topping

  • Flour-5 1/2 tbsp.
  • Sugar (Demerara/Turbinado)-5 tbsp.
  • Cinnamon- 1/4 tsp.
  • Mixed Spice- 1/4 tsp.
  • Nutmeg- 1/4 tsp.
  • Butter, slightly softened- 3 tbsp.
  • Walnuts (chopped)- 1/4 cup

Salted Caramel Drizzle ( I used pre-made Marks and Spencer brand)-2-3 tbs.

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 350F/180C

2. Grease the bottom only but not the sides of a 9″ round pan. Springform pan works the best as it makes it easier to remove the cake after it’s been baked.  Shred the apples with skin on and mix together with sugar, oil and eggs in a large bowl. Stir in the remaining ingredients (cake ingredients only). Pour the batter into your pan and smooth the top.

3. Mix together the streusel ingredients in a small bowl with a fork or use your hands.  The streusel won’t be crumbly but will have the consistency of a cookie batter. Pinch of small bits and cover the surface of the cake.

4. Bake for 60 minutes or until the toothpick inserted in centre comes out clean.

5. Let cool for 30 minutes, then loosen the sides of the cake and remove it from the pan. Drizzle with pre-made salted caramel in any way your imagination allows. (If you caramel sauce is a bit stiff put it in the microwave for 30 seconds, that should help to get it runny and only use a good quality brand you trust. :-))

Even though this cake is incredibly soft and flavourful, the best part of it is the crunchy streusel top drenched in caramel. Pure indulgence!

Apple Spice Streusel Cake with Salted Caramel Drizzle

Apple Spice Streusel Cake with Caramel Drizzle

My Honey Valentine, Russian Honey and Cream Cake “Medovik” or Fire and Ice

Standard

Follow my blog with BloglovinHoney and Mascarpone Cream Cake "Medovik" with Caramel Flames

It’s Sunday and Valentine’s Day is long gone, but the leftover cake is still in my fridge and tastes better than ever. I love Valentine’s Day so much and I could care less that it’s been commercialised and turned into a sappy holiday with poorly written cards and tasteless teddies all over the place. I love the day that could be unashamedly ALL about my love for the most amazing man I know. We usually don’t go out on Valentine’s day, we made this pact on a V Day many years ago when we were still students living in Minneapolis and unable to get into any restaurants because of the reservations and waiting and pre-set menus…all the stuff that makes the day uncool. After being turned down by so many restaurants we wound up at the Olive Garden close to 10 pm too tired to enjoy the food, we agreed to never go out on the Valentine’s Day but stay in and still make the day completely out of the ordinary.

This year I decided to re-create our 10th anniversary celebration in France. Everything on the menu was a replica of our dinner in a tiny restaurant in Paris tucked away from the tourist area. We sat outside for hours while the rain kept pounding on the roof of the awning, there was not one person speaking English in view, the food was exquisite, the night was decidedly perfect.

How does my Russian cake fit into this? It doesn’t really but it’s an incredibly tasty treat that I never made for Brad, so there was my chance to rectify the situation.

I am starting with the dessert but there will be more posts, so come back if you like to know what kind of food you get served in France!

Back to the Honey Cake. The Russian name for it is “Medovik” and the first time I made it I was 13 or 14 when this cake was the “it cake”  in Russia. The recipe was being passed on from one household to another. It was impossible to have any sort of celebration without Medovik crowning the meal. It was so common that after a while it didn’t seem special anymore. I am glad I re-discovered this treasure because despite it’s simplicity of ingredients and the method of preparation the end result is far from plain.

Honey and Cream Cake "Medovik"

8 layers of honey goodness with creamy filling in between and adorned with caramel flames, this cake was a perfect finish to our romantic dinner for Valentine’s Day! Caramel flames is not the traditional decor for this cake but I wanted to add a little pizzazz to the special occasion cake and also  try my hand at making caramel. It turned out to be such a fun process, needless to say I was very pleased with the result.

Ingredients for cake:

  • Butter- 5 tbsp./70 gr
  • Sugar 1 cup
  • Honey- 2 tbsp. ( I prefer dark honey as it has richer taste. I used chestnut honey for my cake)
  • Eggs-3 large
  • Vanilla- 2 tsp.
  • Baking soda- 1tsp.
  • Vodka (although optional you wouldn’t believe me the cake was Russian if it didn’t call for vodka ;-))- 2 tbsp.
  • Salt-1/2 tsp.
  • Flour- 3 cups

Ingredients for the filling:

  • Creme fraiche- 2 cups
  • Whipping Cream/Double Cream- 2 cups
  • Sugar- 1/2 cup
  • Vanilla bean (seeds scraped out) or vanilla essence-1

Ingredients for the frosting:

  • Mascarpone cheese (cold)-1 cup/250 gr
  • Whipping cream/Double Cream-1/2 cup
  • Icing Sugar- 1 cup
  • Vanilla Bean or essence

Ingredients for the Caramel Flames:

  • Sugar ( I used half brown and half white)-1 cup
  • Lemon Juice- 1/2 tsp.

Method for the cake:

This cake preparation method is quite different from what you might be used to but don’t let it deter you from giving it a go because the result is stunning and you will be able to brag about making this authentic Russian cake to all your friends.

Preheat your oven to 400F/200C and line two baking trays with parchment paper.

Set your double boiler or a large pot filled 2/3 with water and a glass or metal bowl over it on the medium heat. Melt butter, sugar and honey in the bowl. In a separate bowl beat eggs and vanilla and pour the mixture in the double boiler while mixing the whole time (I use electric mixer) to avoid ending up with scrambled egg! Then add vodka, baking soda, salt and 2 cups of flour, continue mixing for a few minutes until the dough starts to thicken and come away from the edges of the bowl. Take it off the heat and add the last cup of flour, mix well. Be careful as the dough will be hot. Allow it to cool for a couple of minutes and then knead it with your hands until your get smooth, pasta like dough. What you are looking for is a cookie dough rather than a cake batter.

Divide into 8 equal parts and cover with a kitchen towel to avoid drying out. The cake layers will be baked separately on baking trays and then cut into neat circles using a 7″ cake pan, tart pan or, in my case, a pan lid as a template.

Dust your work surface with flour and roll out a thin circle slightly larger than 7″, transfer on a parchment lined baking tray and bake for 4-5 min. Watch closely as the cake layers burn quickly. Roll out the next layer while the previous one is baking. That is why you need to have 2 baking trays on the go. Remove from the over when golden brown and cut out a circle while still hot as the layers will turn into crisp biscuits in a couple of minutes. (Traditionally the scraps from the cake are turned into crumbs and pressed into cake sides and the top for the decoration. However, I decided to go the different route and use a stunning caramel piece for the top of my cake.) Cool on the cooling rack. Repeat the process until all 8 layers are done.

Filling:

Beat creme fraiche (can be substituted with sour cream) with whipping cream, sugar and vanilla until sugar is dissolved and it’s doubled in volume. Fill all 8 cake layers except for the top and the sides.

Frosting: 

Once again I’ve changed the frosting as in the original cake the above filling is used for the outside of the cake as well and later reinforced with the cake crumbs. Since I decided to go crumb free and wanted my cake to look a dinner date worthy, I’ve used a mascarpone frosting similar to the one I’ve used for Meringue Mascarpone Cake.

Beat cold mascarpone with icing sugar, vanilla and whip cream until stiff. Decorate the sides and the top of the cake with mascarpone frosting.

It needs to be noted that the cake is best served 24 hours after it’s made which is perfect when you are making a big meal as your dessert is already taken care of! A full day in the fridge allows all of those crisp layers to soften and soak all the wonderful flavours from the filling and the frosting.

Russian Honey Cake "Medovik"

Caramel Flames:

Mix sugar with lemon juice in a saucepan, set the saucepan on medium heat and don’t stir until the edges start to bubble up, then start stirring until all the crystals melted, sugar looks clear and deep amber colour. Take it off the heat and put the bottom of the pan in ice cold water to stop it from cooking immediately but don’t keep it there for too long or the caramel will harden before you have a chance to work with it.

Drizzle caramel with a spoon on parchment paper  that was previously sprayed with an oil spray, let it set. Then break up the hardened caramel and decorate your cake in any way you like.

Caramel

Caramel flames are best to be set on the top of the cake right before serving. You can have them made beforehand and pop them on top as you get ready to serve dessert. Russian Honey Cake "Medovik"