Thursday, October 24, 2013

Frankenstein's Layered Apple Crisp with Caramel Drizzle

Isn't it great when we can kill two birds with one stone? I love this dough recipe because it does just that! I use 2/3 of the dough in my layered apple dessert then refrigerate or freeze the rest for another day, when it becomes homemade cinnamon rolls, or whatever yummy plans YOU may have for it!

Two birds, one stone.

So, the recipe for the dough is derived from a recipe I found online, while looking for homemade cinnamon rolls. I am no baker, so I rely on recipes to get me through dessert, especially doughy ones. One thing I do know about baking, is that unlike cooking, you really shouldn't deviate from the plan. Well, I deviated from the plan, and it worked out for me. So...below is my recipe for Sweet Roll Dough:

*Kitchen Tip:
Make the dough a day or two in advance, so it is ready to go the day you make the dessert. This will reduce your time in the kitchen that day, for everyone who has a busy schedule, it is a great time saver planning ahead that way!
This time the dough comes first!

Sweet Roll Dough

1- 1/4-ounce packet active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup whole milk
1/4 cup sugar
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

Starting your Dough:

Yeast is essential in this dough. To get the yeast activated, you'll need the liquid to be between 100 degrees F to 110 degrees F. A thermometer will help! Don't try to break the yeast temperature rule, it just won't happen for you, if not at the right temperature.

THE Dough:

Warm 1/2 milk in a the microwave for 20-30 seconds, 10 seconds at a time, so as not to overheat. The milk needs to be warm. I dipped my finger in to test after 20 seconds, and it felt just right, but I used a thermometer to double check, it was just about 115 degrees F. I let it sit on the counter while I measured out my other ingredients, maybe 5 minutes or so. Then, mixed the yeast and tsp of the sugar in to get the yeast working. Give it a whirl with a fork or spoon, set aside, undisturbed, until foamy, about 5 minutes. If it isn't foaming, you most likely didn't have the milk bath at a happy temperature for your yeast. Sorry! Go back to the beginning and start again!

Once it's foamy, whisk the melted butter, egg yolk and vanilla into the yeast, set aside. In a large bowl, whisk flour, white sugar, salt and nutmeg. Make a well in the center, add the yeast mixture and stir with a spoon. The dough will start to form but will be dry, so add the 1/2 cup of water now, mix it in, and your dough will be forming. On a floured board, knead until soft and elastic, about 5-8 minutes. Shape into a ball and put in a ceramic bowl, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise for about an hour.

2/3 of dough to be used for layered dessert
Once that time has passed, knead the dough briefly to release excess air. Re-form into a ball and wrap up in plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.

Okay, with the dough well on it's way, we can work on the apple dessert...

Layered Apple Strudel Crisp with Caramel Drizzle

We don't do dessert very often in our house, partly for health, and partly because I never took to baking. But, lately I've been successful at some new baked goodies, and I even improvised. My dislike for baking, I think, must be mostly about the necessary evil of actually following a recipe but I've been finding a middle ground lately.

As one of my recent adventures, I created this hot little "tart". Actually, it's not a tart, it is a little bit of everything. A little bit crisp, a little bit tart, a little bit strudel, a little bit streusel, a little bit get the point, right? I'm calling it Frankenstein's not really that, either.

What it is, though is a layered dessert that gives you everything you could want in a fall dessert. And it makes more than enough for a group of 6 or more adults or even a potluck, thanksgiving dinner for a large family, etc...of course, if you have a smaller group, send it on home with your guests, they will be delighted!

With the dough prepared, cut the ball in thirds. Wrap up one third and put in fridge or freezer for another day.
To get started, you will need an 8"x11" baking dish, buttered/oiled.

For layers:

2 Dough balls (the two taken from the sweet roll dough above)

1/2 Cup Flour
1/2 Cup Dark Brown Sugar (or light brown sugar if you don't have dark)
1/3 Cup Granulated Sugar
6 tbsp cold butter, plus more for topping
1 & 1/4 Cup Old Fashioned Oats
(quick cook would probably become mush in this recipe)

Mix flour and sugars together. Cut butter in to flour/sugar with a large fork one, tablespoon at a time until the butter is well mixed and looks crumbly. Add oats and use your clean hands to squeeze the butter/flour/sugar with the oats. It should start to clump together as you squeeze, with the butter holding it together, and crumbling as you release. If it isn't sticking together at all, cut in another tbsp of butter and repeat the hand mixing process.

For Filling:

4 large apples, peeled - I used 3 granny apples and one golden crisp variety to mix up sweet and tart)
1/4 cup water flavored with 2 tbsp lemon juice
Ground Cinnamon - I did not measure how much I used so you will be sprinkling this to your tastes
1 Whole Lemon, seeds removed

1. For the filling, slice your apples into thin slices. You'll be using these to layer them like a lasagna, between layers of dough, filling, and streusel, so thin is in.

2. Set the sliced apples aside in a bowl, and sprinkle with cinnamon, the level of cinnamon depends on if you like just a hint of cinnamon or more. Use your best judgement, but less is best to start, you can always add more as you go.

3. Toss the apples with your hands, sprinkle half of the lemon juice over the apples, and again toss with your hands, and sprinkle the last lemon half over apples, toss once more, and set aside.

4. Heat oven to 375 degrees F

5. Over a floured surface, roll the first of the dough balls out to about a quarter inch thickness. This is the bottom layer, so it should be large enough to fill out the bottom of the baking dish.

6. Lay in the dish and sprinkle evenly with 1/3 of the oats/sugar/butter/flour mixture.

7. Layer 1/2 of the apples. Pour half of the water/lemon mixture over top of apples.

Last step of making the layers is topping with the oats/sugar mix, liberally.

8. Roll out your second dough balls, the same as before, to evenly fit the the baking dish. Lay over the apples and sprinkle with another 1/3 of the oats/sugar/butter mixture.

9. Layer the other 1/2 of apples. Pour rest of the water/lemon mix over top.

10. Cover the apples with the last third of oats/sugar/butter/flour mix and add 5 thin slices of butter on top to finish.

11. Cover the dish with foil and bake at 375 degrees F for about 45 minutes, taking foil off in the last 10 minutes. I turned the oven off at 45 minutes, but left the dish in while the oven cooled, so it stayed warm for after dinner dessert, and that worked out great!

12. Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, whipped cream and a caramel drizzle.

Caramel Drizzle:

4-5 tbsp water
4 store bought caramels
3 tbsp dark brown sugar

Put water and caramels in a pan and heat up water to simmering, cover and lower heat a bit. Add brown sugar switch around a few times to get the caramels to melt. Once melted, drizzle over the top of the ice cream and layered dessert!

That is it!! I have NOOO idea if I did this with any kind regard with actual baking. I HOPE I have...I know my result was very very good. I know that you've also spent some time on this one, hopefully poured your love in, and you will really tell by the beautiful presentation...but most importantly, the flavor! It rings of Fall, the light zing of lemon will have your guests trying to pinpoint just, "What is it that makes this so good?" It is beyond your basic, cinnamon, sugar, dough formula. It is complex in it's own way.

And now that you have frozen dough ready for cinnamon rolls, I'll be posting soon instructions on how I make quick and easy cinnamon rolls, all homemade from start to finish, with a lemon icing drizzle. Yeah!!!

*Kitchen Tip:
If you are looking to cut down the prep time, I imagine store bought dough will do, or even pastry dough, fillo dough, etc..though I can't actually vouch for how it will turn out. Maybe even store bought pizza dough can do the trick. If you go with the pizza dough option, up the brown sugar and possible the water/lemon mix. Let me know your results!!!

Until next time....Happy Cooking...and baking!


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