When granny Vera baked her famous apple cake, the aroma of cinnamon and warm apples permeated our whole apartment. I however could also smell imminent trouble. When the cake was done, Granny Vera would cut it into squares and divide them between two plates – a large one for the family members and a smaller one for her. She would then hide her plate on top of the cupboard. Our share of the cake would disappear fast enough, which is when I would start making trips to the cuppboard - climb on a chair to reach the top shelf, take just one little piece and drag the chair back to cover my trails. When the depleted plate was discovered I was publicly scolded and shamed for being greedy and selfish. It took me years to discover that I had at least one accessory – my dad, the only difference being he didn't have to climb a chair.
Ingredients (30x40 cm baking tray):
For the dough:
1 oz (30 gr) fresh yeast
6 fl oz (3/4 cup, 180 ml) milk, lukewarm
2 teaspoons sugar
12 oz (340 gr, 2 1/2 cups) flour
7 oz (200 gr) butter, melted
For the apple filling:
5 pounds (2 1/2 kg) tart baking apples, peeled and cored
7 oz (200 gr, 1 cup) sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 egg white (optional)
For the Glaze:
1 egg yolk
1. Mix yeast with sugar and milk and let stand for a few minutes until the mixture starts to bubble.
2. Place flour in a mixer fitted with a kneading hook, add melted butter and yeast mixture and knead for 5-6 minutes to soft shiny dough. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.
3. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and knead briefly. If it the dough is still sticky, and a little bit of flour.
4. Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C). Grease the baking tray.
5. Divide the dough in half and roll one piece on a well-floured surface to a rectangular the size of the baking tray. Line the tray with it.
6. Only now (and not earlier!) grate the apples on a coarse grater. Add sugar, cinnamon and lemon juice. Squeeze out the juice thoroughly (don't throw away the juice, it is delicious!). Taste the apples and adjust sweetness/acidity by adding sugar or lemon juice. To make the filling a little more stable, stir in the egg white.
7. Evenly spread out the filling on the dough.
8. Roll out the remaining dough to a rectangular the size of the baking tray and place it on top of the filling.
9. To make the glaze: dilute the yolk with a bit of water and brush the surface of the dough. Using fork make checkered pattern on the glaze.
10. Bake for 40-45 minutes until the cake is golden brown.
11. Cool and cut into squares. Hide Well.