Wednesday, October 8, 2014

apple pie biscuits

what better way to kick off some fall baking than with joy the baker's baking bootcamp challenge. last time's bootcamp recipe was triple berry cinnamon swirl bread; this time is apple pie biscuits. i'm sensing a trend--seasonal fruit and cinnamon baked in bready goodness.

i started by cooking the apples with the butter, cinnamon, and sugar. after just a few minutes the apples smelled wonderfully sweet and warm (aack, am i starting to like warm fruit??).

while the apples cooled i made the biscuit dough with a couple modifications: first i made self-rising flour with all-purpose flour, baking powder, and salt; second i mocked up a buttermilk substitution using whole milk and kefir. smooshing the butter into the flour was slightly messy but in the best most satisfying way, and the rest of the dough came together really easily. i dusted and rolled the ball of dough and prepared it to be filled with the cooled apples. flouring the rolling pin and surface was key, but i was still careful not to add too much flour so the dough wouldn't get tough. once i had rolled out a large rectangle, i poured the apples onto half of the dough, carefully folded over the other half, and sealed in the apples. the next step had me a little worried--cutting up the biscuits (and keeping the contents from spewing out). luckily, with a last light smoosh, the biscuits cut cleanly and only a couple tiny pieces of apple escaped. a quick egg wash, sprinkle of cinnamon sugar and salt, and into the oven.

the biscuits baked to a golden brown with a pretty sugar crust. i would have preferred a flakier, lighter biscuit, and i think my buttermilk substitution may have been the culprit. minor texture complaint aside (most likely fixable with proper buttermilk), the biscuits were a definite shout-out to apple pie and are totally high-fiving fall.

p.s. i submitted my picture on instagram @neeppeechy (#bakingbootcamp) so fingers crossed that i win!

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:: apple pie biscuits ::
(recipe from joy the baker)

for the apples:
1 fuji apple, peeled, cored and sliced very thin
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar

for the biscuits:
2 cups self-rising flour
1/4 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2/3 to 3/4 cup cold buttermilk

for the topping:
1 large egg, beaten
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of salt

1. place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 425F. line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

2. to make the apples, place butter in a medium skilled over medium heat to melt. add the apples, cinnamon, and brown sugar. toss with a wooden spoon until all of the apples are coated and the sugar is melted over the apples, about 2 to 4 minutes. the mixture will be warm and glossy, but the apples won't be cooked through. remove from the heat and set aside.

3. to make the biscuit dough, place flour in a medium bowl and add cold butter cubes. use your fingers to quickly break the butter down into the flour. some of the butter bits will be the size of oats, some the size of small peas. stir in the granulated sugar.

4. create a well in the center of the butter and flour mixture and add 2/3 cup buttermilk. stir the mixture together until it is well moistened and holds together well. biscuit dough should be soft and moist. add the remaining buttermilk as needed. if you're using your own homemade self-rising flour or gluten-free self-rising flour, you'll want to add the full 3/4 cup of buttermilk.

5. use all-purpose flour to generously dust a clear work surface. spoon dough onto the floured surface and use your hands to gather it into a ball and gently pat it into a small rectangle. if you're using gluten-free self-rising flour, the dough will crack a bit as you shape it into a rectangle, and again as you fold it over the apples. that's ok; just keep patting it back together.

6. use a rolling pin to gently roll the dough into a rectangle 1/2-inch thick, about 7-inches x 10-inches. arrange cooled apples in a single layer over half of the rolled out biscuit dough. fold the bare side of the dough over the apples and gently press the edges to seal in the apples. use the palms of your hand to pat the dough into a 6 x 8-inch rectangle if the edges are looking a bit rounded.

7. use a sharp knife to slice the dough into 12 squares. use a spatula to place each biscuit onto the prepared baking sheet, about 2-inches apart.

8. in a small bowl, whisk together sugar for topping, cinnamon, and salt.

9. brush each biscuit top with beaten egg and sprinkle generously with the cinnamon sugar mixture.

10. bake for 12 to 14 minutes until the biscuits are risen and golden brown. remove from the oven and serve warm or cool completely before storing in an airtight container. biscuits are best enjoyed within two days of baking.

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