Monday, September 23, 2013

Apple Pie Cake

As many cookbooks as I have and love, there is always room for another one on my shelf. A while ago I added the Momofuku Milk Bar bookbook to my collection, and I love the way Christina Tossi takes an innovative approach to desserts. There are so many variations on the same desserts in different cookbooks, but her recipes really take classic flavors and bring them to a whole new level. Because I love to spend time in the kitchen, I enjoy that her recipes are multi-step and more involved than most. However, despite the steps, the recipes are not difficult and can definitely be spread out over a few days before assembling the final product. 
To get into the fall spirit, this Apple Pie Cake recently graced our table after dinner with friends. It combines layers of brown butter cake with cream cheese and apple pie filling, with a bit of pie crust topping. It has all the familiar flavors of the fall favorite, apple pie, but presented in a new way. 

As much as her concepts are different, so are her methods. Tossi bakes her cakes in a sheet pan, then they are cut into layers. The bottom layer is put together from partial pieces, eliminating some waste. The cake layers are then assembled in a cake ring with the fillings in between. What you need to make this cake is a 6 inch ring mold and 2 3x20 inch strips of acetate. The acetate strips are use to line the inside of the cake ring, similar to the collar on a souffle dish. This make a 6 inch 3 layer cake that easily served 6.  I used a 6 inch spring form pan to assemble the layers and it made unmolding the finished cake fairly easy. I know that I will be flipping through this book any time I want some inspiration and a delicious, but fun to make, dessert!

Barely Brown Butter Cake
4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons brown butter
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup tightly packed light brown sugar
3 egg
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup grapeseed oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt

1. Heat oven to 350 F.
2.Combine the butters and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Cream together on medium high for 2-3 minutes. Add the eggs and mix on medium high 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
3. Stream in the buttermilk, oil and vanilla on low speed. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat for an additional 5 to 6 minutes. The mixture will be practically white, twice the size of your original mixture. DO NOT Under beat.
4. On low speed add the cake flour, baking powder and salt. Mix for 45 to 60 seconds, just until your batter comes together and all dry ingredients have been incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Mix on low speed for another 45 seconds.
5. Line a quarter sheet pan with parchment or use a silpat. Using a spatula spread the cake batter in an even layer in the pan, bake for 30-35 minutes.  the cake will rise and puff, doubling in size, but will remain buttery and dense.  At 30 minutes, gently poke the edge of the cake with your finger, the cake should bounce back slightly and the center should be set. if not leave in oven 3 to 5 minutes.
6. Take cake out of the oven and cool on a wire rack until cooled. The cooled cake can be stored in the fridge, wrapped in plastic wrap, for up to 5 days.

Liquid Cheesecake
8 ounces cream cheese
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons milk
1 egg.

1. Heat oven to 300F
2. Put the cream cheese In the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment, mix on low speed for 2 minutes. scrape down the sides and add the sugar mix for 2 minutes, until the sugar has been completely incorporated.
3. Whisk together the cornstarch and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk in the milk, then whisk in the egg until completely incorporate.
4. With the mix on medium-low speed, stream in the egg slurry. Mix for 3 to 4 minutes, until the mixture is smooth and loose, scrape down the  bowl as necessary.
5. line the bottom and sides of a 6x6 baking pan with plastic wrap.  Pour the cheesecake batter into the pan, put the pan in the oven, and bake for 15 minutes. Gently shake the pan.  the cheesecake should be firmer and more set towards the edges of the pan, but still be jiggly and loose in the center. If jiggly all over bake an additional 5 minutes and check again.
6.Cool the cheesecake completely, to finish the baking process and allow the cheesecake to set. Once cool, the cheesecake can be stored in the fridge for 1 week.

Apple Cider Soak
1/4  cup apple cider
1 teaspoon light brown sugar
pinch cinnamon
Whisk together in a small bowl until sugar completely dissolves.

 Apple Pie Filling
1 lemon
2 medium granny smith apples
1 tablespoon butter
2/3 cup light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1. Fill a medium bowl halfway with cold water. Juice the lemon into it.
2. Peel apples, then half and quarter them. Put each apple quarter on its side and cut a small slice down the length to remove the seeds and core. Cut each quarter length wise into thirds  and crosswise into fourths, transfer the 12 pieces to the lemon water.
3. Drain lemon water from apples, and combine them  in a small sauce pan  with the butter, sugar, cinnamon and salt. Over medium heat bring to a boil, stiring gently so as not to break up the apples. Cook for 3- 5 minutes until soft, but not applesauce.  Remove from heat and cool. Once cooled the filling can be refrigerated in an air tight container for 1 week.

Pie crumb
1 1/2 cup flour
2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
8 tablespoons butter, melted
1 1/2 tablespoons water

1. Heat oven to  350F
2. Combine the flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment, mix on low speed.  Add the butter and water and paddle on low speed until the mixture starts to come together in small clusters.
4. Spread the clusters on a parchment or silpat lined sheet pan. Bake for 25 minutes, breaking them up occasionally. the crumbs should be golden brown and still slightly moist to the touch.
5. .Let the crumbs cool completely before using in a recipe. Crumbs can be stored in an air tight container for 1 week or a month in the fridge or freezer

Pie crumb frosting
1/2 recipe pie crumbs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar

1. Combine pie crumbs, milk and salt in a blender, puree on medium high until smooth and homogeneous.
2. Combine butter and confectioners' sugar in the bowl of a sand mixer with paddle attachment and cream on medium high for 2-3 minutes, until fluffy and pale yellow. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
3. On low speed and the contents of the blender. Beat for 1 minute. Increase speed to medium high and beat for 2 minutes. Mixture should be uniform, very pale,barely tan color, if not beat another minute or 2. Use immediately or refrigerate for up to 1 week.

1  six inch cake ring
2-  3 inch wide and 20 inches long strips of acetate

1. Invert cooled cake on parchment line counter and peel off the parchment from he bottom of the cake.  Use the cake ring to cut out 2 circles from the cake,  these will be your top 2 layers.  The remaining cake scrap will come together to make the bottom layer of the cake.

Layer 1
place cake ring on parchment lined sheet pan, line the inside of the ring with one strip of the acetate.  Put the cake scrapes inside the ring and use the backs of your hand to tamp the scraps together into a flat even layer.
Dunk a pastry brush in the apple cider soak and give the layer of cake a good healthy soak with half the cider soak mix. Spread 1/2 of liquid cheesecake over the cake in an even layer. Sprinkle 1/3 of the pie crumbs evenly over the cheesecake layer. Pat in place. spread 1/2 of the apple pie filling evenly over the pie crumbs.

Layer 2
Tuck the second acetate strip between the cake ring and the top 1/4 inch of the first acetate strip, so now you have a clear ring of acetate that is 5-6 inches tall, it will support your cake.
Set a second layer of cake on top of the filing and repeat the process for layer one.

Layer 3
Top filling with remaining cake layer. Cover the top of the cake with 1/2 of the frosting and garnish with remaining pie crumbs.
Transfer the sheet pan to the freezer and freeze for 12 hours to set the cake and filling.
Three hour before serving remove the cake from the freezer. Pop the cake out of the cake ring and gently peel off the acetate. At this point I used the remaining frosting to frost the sides of the cake. Transfer cake to cake plate and defrost in the fridge until serving time.

Foodie Friday