We'll Be Baking This Caramelized Apple Bread All Season Long
When the weather cools down, we love to dive into baking projects, warming up our kitchens with all kinds of cookies, cakes, tarts, and more. In this week's episode of F&W Cooks, cookbook author and food stylist Samantha Seneviratne joins us to make her caramelized apple bread—a recipe that you can enjoy for breakfast, dessert, or as an anytime snack. (And, since it's studded with Granny Smith apples, it's perfect for fall, too.) Read on for her step-by-step method and follow along with the video above.
Get Going on the Dough
Seneviratne starts out by combining 2/3 cup of whole milk (heated to 115 degrees Fahrenheit), one teaspoon of granulated sugar, and 1 3/4 teaspoon active dry yeast in a Pyrex measuring cup. As the mixture sits and becomes foamy, prep the apples—you'll need five Granny Smith, peeled, cored, and quartered. (The pieces will cook down slightly, she notes, and the larger size will also prevent them from getting mushy.)
Next, add 2 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour, 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt, the yeast-milk mixture, and one large egg to the bowl of a stand mixer outfitted with a dough hook. Knead for three minutes, adding three tablespoons of granulated sugar as the mixer runs. Then add in six tablespoons of softened unsalted butter (it will mix in more easily at room temperature), a little bit at a time. Knead for an additional five minutes, and then, after a final knead on the countertop by hand, place it in a bowl (covered) and let it rise for an hour at room temperature until it doubles in size.
Make the Caramel Sauce and Cook the Apples
Melt 8 tablespoons of unsalted butter in a skillet and add two pinches of salt—"season your desserts just the same way that you season your savory food," she says. Add 3/4 cup of granulated sugar, followed by the prepped apples (rounded side down). Cook everything for 10-15 minutes, until the apples are "softened mostly and browned in spots" and the caramel has turned a deep golden-brown shade. Rotate the pan to ensure the caramel browns evenly, she notes, and feel free to turn down the heat as needed. Don't look away, either—it's all too easy for that golden-brown color to quickly turn burnt.
Assemble the Bread
In the bottom of a buttered 9x9-inch pan, which Seneviratne previously sprinkled with finely chopped crystallized ginger, the apples go in rounded-side down. (Make sure to use all that homemade caramel, don't waste a single drop.) She also quickly makes a filling using light brown sugar, softened unsalted butter, and almond paste, which you can combine with an immersion blender, blender, or even just a fork.
Take the risen dough and roll it out into an 18-inch by 9-inch rectangle. Spread the almond filling over half the dough rectangle, and then, fold the other half of the rectangle over it so the filling is covered, pinching the edges shut. Place the dough square on top of the apples, and let it rise, covered, for about another half hour. The warm apples will help the dough rise.
Get It in the Oven
Seneviratne sets the pan on a rimmed baking sheet lined with a silicone baking mat (you can also use parchment paper), which will catch any stray drips. Stick it in the oven for 25 minutes at 375 degrees Fahrenheit, until the bread is "puffed and golden."
Flip N' Serve
Once the bread is done baking, let it cool on a wire rack for five to 10 minutes. Loosen the edges of the bread from the pan with a knife, and then, place a serving plate on top of the pan, inverting the bread onto the plate. Gently shimmy it out of the pan—if any of the apples flip out of place, you can easily fix it, as Seneviratne does in the video. After that, you're all set to cut and serve. Add a healthy dollop of crème fraîche for the finishing touch.