Friday, August 30, 2013

Potato Apple Cake

by Sheila Connolly

Tá brón orm (I'm sorry)—I completely missed National Potato Day last week.  Where was my head? (Deep in trying to figure out which of six or eight possible endings I want to use for my next book.) And me a good Irishwoman!

So I'm making up for it today.  Actually, this recipe manages to combine not only potatoes but also apples, to celebrate the new harvest.  It's based on a recipe by Margaret Johnson (I have two of her lovely Irish cookbooks) that was posted online. Given the ingredients, I couldn't not try it, so here it is.

One note before we jump in:  I'm including a picture of a lovely antique apple peeler that I haven't had the nerve to use (the blade needs sharpening).  It comes from Leominster, home of Johnny Appleseed, whose family orchard still flourishes there.  But I used the modern version, which is quick and easy—and works just as well for potatoes as for apples.

Peelers, old and new
Potato Apple Cake
(given the structure, it's really more of a pie, sort of)

4 potatoes, peeled and cut into 2" pieces (not specified, but I used the waxy kind, not the floury kind)
2 Tblsp butter
1 Tblsp sugar
¼ tsp ground ginger
¾ cup all-purpose flour, sifted (plus more for rolling out your dough)
4 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced
2 Tblsp butter
½ cup brown sugar, firmly packed

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.  Lightly grease an 8" pie plate.

Cook the potatoes in boiling salted water until tender 12-15 minutes.  Drain and mash (I riced mine, with a vintage ricer that was my mother's).  Add the butter, sugar and ginger and mix well.  Stir in the flour to make a soft dough. Let it sit for a while to cool and to pull itself together (it's sticky!).

On a lightly floured board, form the dough into a ball and divide in half.  Roll one half into an 8" circle and lay in the greased pie plate (you can stretch it).  Note:  keep flouring both the board and the rolling pin to prevent sticking. Adding extra flour won't hurt. (You may notice I did not include a picture of this stage.  It wasn't pretty, but I won the battle.)

Arrange the apple slices over the layer of dough, overlapping them in two circles.  Moisten the edges of the dough.

Roll out the other half into an 8" circle and place it over the apples.  Press the edges together and flute them to make a standing edge.  With a sharp knife, make a few slits in the top to allow steam to escape. 

Bake until the crust is browned, 25-30 minutes.

Now here's the fun part:  Remove the cake/pie from the oven and cut a 2" circle in the top crust.  Carefully remove the circle, add the butter and the brown sugar (just stuff it in without breaking up the crust), and replace the circle you cut out.  Return the cake to the oven and bake until the butter and sugar have melted, about 5 minutes. It's intriguing how quickly they disperse inside the pie.

Slice and serve immediately (this is not a good keeper, but it's a small pie so there shouldn't be leftovers anyway), with whipped cream or a dusting of powdered sugar if you like.

It tasted pretty good—not very potato-ey.  That bit of ginger makes a difference.

GOLDEN MALICIOUS(Orchard Mystery #7)Coming October 1!


  1. You win the prize for most unusual recipe this week Sheila! We should have all been there to help sample...

  2. What an intriguing idea! I must try it. When you say " I used the waxy kind, not the floury kind" does that mean russets?

  3. This is such an interesting recipe!

  4. Libby, I used the ones that aren't Russetts. I might try Russetts next time (there might even be a next time!)--they might help the dough stick together better.

    In Margaret Johnson's version, she said that some people make it on a griddle. Based on my experience, I can't imagine the whole think holding together long enough to cook!

    But we ate it all!

  5. Once again you've found something very different yet we all want to eat it!

    The fact there will be a next time is the proof that it works.

    I was going to say in the pudding, but we already had pie and cake ...

    Thanks, Sheila!

  6. Sheila, very interesting. I had no idea about those apple and potato peelers. I use the hold in your hand kind. I have to admit, to a mystery author, those look like great weapons.

    Daryl / Avery

  7. I'm always intrigued by your recipes, Sheila. An apple pie with a potato crust? Who'd have thought it? Though potatoes make very tasty bread, so why not? It looks wonderful!