This year, I knew without a doubt which of my recent loaves would make the cut for our celebration, especially since the holiday falls smack in the middle of Autumn. My family is a gang of tried and true apple dessert fanatics - from the classic pie to my mom's infamous apple squares, earthy buckwheat-battered rings, granola, bagels and cake. Nothing, though, has ever managed to beat the decadence of piping hot, luscious apple fritters on the blustery Fall days of my youth. True apple fritters - those made with real apples dredged in lightly sweetened batter and fried in lard or (even better) bacon fat - are almost non-existent these days, and while I'm sure our waistlines are better for it every harvest season, I still miss that occasional indulgence.
A few weeks ago, I found myself with all the makings of a great apple dessert in my pantry and fridge begging to be used up. A fresh batch of tallow was packed in jars alongside a big jar of Simple Salted Caramel Sauce and a few desolate apples from lunchboxes gone by. Originally, I was toying with the notion of yet another pie or turnover - but the fact that I was home by myself for three weeks squelched that idea almost as fast. As lovely and decadent as pastry is, it simply doesn't hold well - whatever I made would more than likely be better off as doorstops than dessert by the time people got to eating it. Only after I delved into the deep freezer to "harvest" some produce from the Summer did I realize that I had been remiss in my breadmaking - Mom would be coming back from her vacation to nothing but the spongy, salty white bread my stepfather adores if I didn't get my butt in gear.
The need sparked an idea that just made so much sense I couldn't wait to try it out - a slightly sweet, "old-fashioned doughnut" flavoured yeast bread filled with swirls of caramel and apple inspired by this recipe from King Arthur Flour. In the dough, I not only added nutmeg for the classic "doughnut" nuance, but I switched up the butter for my organic tallow, jaggery for the sugar and whole wheat for some of the white flour. The filling was cobbled together from the goodies in my fridge - I diced up the apples and steam-fried them before drenching them in Scotch and salted caramel, making a gooey, totally dessert-worthy centre. Swirling the dough together a la the original recipe proved more problematic than I thought, but beauty contest aside the final loaf was a winner through and through - proof that looks are definitely not everything (especially when the result is edible!).
Be sure to keep an eye out on Zorra's site for the full #WBD2015 roundup!
Butterscotch Apple Bread
Makes one large loaf, 26 slices
Adapted from KAF
¼ cup water or apple juice
3 medium apples, peeled and diced
2 tbsp Scotch whiskey (optional)
½ cup thin caramel sauce
generous pinch salt (omit if using salted caramel like Simple Salted Caramel Sauce)
1 ¼ cups all purpose flour
2 cups whole wheat bread flour
¼ cup potato flour
½ tsp nutmeg
½ oz soy lecithin granules
¼ cup crushed jaggery or coconut palm sugar (brown sugar can be used too)
½ tbsp instant yeast
1 ¼ tsp salt
2 oz tallow or butter
1 tbsp vanilla
1 large egg
1 cup milk (I used 1%)
1 egg, beaten with 2 tbsp water, for egg wash
- Heat water apple juice in a small pot over medium-high heat and add the apple pieces.
- Cover and cook 2 minutes, then uncover and cook 1 minute, stirring occasionally.
- Stir in the Scotch, immediately followed by the caramel sauce and salt.
- Cook, stirring often, until slightly thickened, about 5-10 minutes.
- Remove from heat and cool completely.
- Mix all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
- Add the tallow (or butter), vanilla, 1 egg and milk, then mix until a shaggy dough forms.
- Let the dough rest for 15 minutes.
- Knead the dough for 12 minutes, until it feels slightly sticky and soft.
- Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover and let the dough rise 2 hours, until it's almost doubled.
- Gently deflate the risen dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured or greased work surface. Press into a large rectangle.
- Spread the filling over the rolled-out dough, leaving a 1/2-inch margin clear of filling along all sides.
- Starting with a long side, roll the dough into a log, sealing the edge. Use a pizza cutter or sharp knife to cut the log in half lengthwise.
- Place the half-logs, filled side up, side by side on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Keeping the filling side up, twist the two logs together, working from the center to each end. Pinch the ends together.
- Cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
- In the morning, remove the loaf from the fridge and set aside to rise for 2 hours.
- Heat the oven to 350°F.
- Beat together the remaining egg and water, then brush over the entire surface of the dough to seal the filling to the surface as best you can.
- Bake loaf for 1 hour and 15 minutes, until golden brown. Check the loaves after 20 minutes and tent with aluminum foil if they’re browning too quickly around the edges.
- Cool completely before slicing.
Total Fat: 3.0 g
Cholesterol: 16.9 mg
Sodium: 180.9 mg
Total Carbs: 21.9 g
Dietary Fiber: 1.8 g
Protein: 3.0 g