December 07, 2011

thanksgiving...part two

So for our first Thanksgiving I contributed stuffing and that flourless chocolate cake I posted about last week, and for our second Thanksgiving I made my mom's sweet potatoes with marshmallows, maple glazed carrots, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, and an apple streusel pie-cake thingy. There was also turkey, mashed potatoes, dressing & stuffing (yes they are different), corn casserole, salad, sage muffins, pumpkin cheesecake and a chocolate torte. Phew. It was a feast. I think we outdid ourselves in an effort to make up for a holiday spent away from home. We made all of our family staples, plus more.

I'm guessing you might be tired of Thanksgiving fare. It's time to trim the tree. But before all of the ornaments are on, I thought I would sneak these photos into the mix.
After a few requests....the Apple Streusel Pie Cake Thingy recipe...(in all its enormous glory). I came to joking that if there were any Turkey-day leftovers that we could just feed them to the 'thingy'. It's pretty darn good, and certainly very very apply. Maybe the next time I make it I'll add some batter to the apples to really give it a cake-pie identity, more like a cake in a pie I guess.

The recipe comes from Sarabeth's Bakery, by Sarabeth Levine

*note, as I look at the recipe again I see that I was only supposed to make/use 1/2 of the dough recipe, but I made and used the entire thing. No wonder this was such a monster. I've included the whole recipe so you can make this pie baby too. Or you can make all the dough, use 1/2 and save the other 1/2 for another pie.

the dough.
this dough is different, because instead of cutting cold butter into flour you actually cream the butter, which results in a more tender, less flakey crust.

- 14 tbsp / 1 3/4 sticks unsalted butter, at cool room temperature
- 1/3 cup whole milk
- 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tbsp superfine sugar
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp vanilla bean seeds (why the heck not?)

beat the butter on high speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. With the mixer running slowly add the milk, occasionally stopping the mixer and scrapping down the sides. The mixture should be smooth, fluffy, shiny, like buttercream frosting

mix the flour, sugar and salt together in a small bowl. With the mixer on low add this flour mixture to the butter and incorporate just until the dough forms a mass on the paddle. Knead a few times on a lightly floured work surface.

Refrigerate for about 30min - 1 hr, until chilled, but not hard. (or chill as long as you want, up to a week, and let it warm up a bit before rolling)

the filling
- 4 lbs / 2kg of granny smith, cox orange, or your favorite baking apple, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch thick slices (I might have used more....I can't remember. just go with your gut)
- 2/3 cup superfine sugar
- 3 tbsp all purpose flour
- 2 tsp maple syrup
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- seeds from a vanilla bean, about 1/2 tsp

the streusel
- 1/3 cup plus 1 tbsp flour
- 1 tbsp superfine sugar
- 1 tbsp light brown sugar
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 2 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
- 1/8 tsp vanilla bean, or extract

making your pie/cake thingy

mix the pie filling ingredients in a bowl.

for the streusel mix the flour, sugars, and cinnamon in a bowl and the butter and vanilla in another bowl. pour the butter mixture over the flour mixture and stir until evenly distributed (you made not need all of the buttter). Using your fingers crumble the ingredients, making a range of crumb sizes.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF/180ºC. Grease a spring form pan. (The recipe calls for a normal pie plate, but with all that dough and all of those apples, I just didn't see that working out - I went for the American mantra of bigger is better)

Lightly flour a work surface and roll out the dough. I used an 9" spring form pan, so the dough was big enough to cover the bottom, go up the sides, and hang over the edge a few inches. You don't want it to be too thin because you need it to be sturdy when you take the springform off. Transfer the dough to your pan, spreading out on the bottom and flattening out up the sides. Trim the edges so they are even (I made a mini tart from the trimmings). Heap the apples in the crust, mounding them high in the center. Bring up the edges of the dough, pleating the dough as needed -- the center of the filling should still be visible. Sprinkle your streusel over the exposed apples. Brush the crust with egg (beaten with a touch of water).

Bake the pie for about an hour, or until the juices bubbling out are thick and the crust is golden brown. Let the pie cool on a wire wrack. Use a knife to cut around the edges, and wiggle the spring form off. Once you know you can remove the springform, put it back on so that the pie can cool in the form - it needs all the strength it can get. After the pie cools the apples kind of sink away from the top of the crust. I'm not sure how to prevent that - any tips?

* * * * *

It was a lovely meal! And how about that view?

Okay now on to Christmas cookies and figgy pudding.


  1. Wow, you weren't kidding about that apple pie thing. It's massive! And gorgeous! How did it turn out? And what's in the Staub cocotte? Looks good. Quite the feast all in all.

  2. Wow that apple pie/streudal thing looks beautiful. Looks like a really nice feast. I do have a question though that I've been wondering-- are you and Zach fluent in german? Did you have experience with german back when you still lived in the states? Just wondering how language played into your move.

  3. Yes, what is that apple strudel pie-cake thingy? It looks heavenly. How were the sage muffins? Those sound fantastic as well. Beautiful photos. Looks like it was a good time.

  4. Haha, just posted the recipe for the 'thingy'. In posting it I realized why it came out so darn big, I used an entire dough recipe instead of just half. It was certainly enormous, but also really good. The sage muffins were good too, perfect for sopping up extra gravy-stuffing-sweet potatoes off the plate.

    on the German - neither of us spoke any German before arriving, and I still don't really speak any. Zach has been taking a class through work and I keep meaning to sign up for one, but just haven't found the right one yet. It's tough to motivate because the Swiss actually speak Swiss German, which is a funky dialect of German that is very difficult for German speakers to understand. The thing's not a written language so you can't really learn it per se, you have to learn high German first...anyway long story...and I wish they spoke French, but I'm terrible at languages so I'm not sure that would be much easier.

    in the Staub pot - sweet potatoes! which were then topped with marshmallows and then the whole thing went under the broiler until the marshmallows were toasted

  5. That "Thingy" looks beyond incredible! Love all your pictures too.