It snowed today, and that means that my beloved honey crisp apples will soon be out of season, so in an attempt to consume even more apples, I made pull apart bread stuffed with a fresh apple and walnut filling.
This cake is basically a version of the ever popular monkey bread – balls of yeasted bread dough stuffed with a filling. What takes this recipe over-the-top is the cinnamon sugar walnut mix that is sprinkled between the layers of dough balls. So, each ball of dough isn't only filled with apples, but there's a caramely sweet layer coating each dough ball. It's pretty amazing.
The key to making this a successful recipe is the butter. You have to use enough butter to coat the dough balls in order to keep them moist and soft while they bake.
I topped the cake with a vanilla glaze while it was still warm. As the cake cooled, the kitchen filled with the smell of what I consider a quintessentially fall aroma – apples and cinnamon.
Pull Apart Bread Filled with Fresh Apples and Walnuts
Adapted from the Taste of Home
Ingredients for the Dough
1/4 ounce active dry yeast (one envelope)
1 cup warm milk (about 105 to 110 degrees F)
2 tbs unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 large egg
2 tbs honey
1 tsp salt
3 to 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Ingredients for the filling
2 medium apples, peeled and chopped (I used honey crisps)
1 cup roasted walnuts, chopped
1 1/3 cups of sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 cup unsalted butter melted (for dipping the dough balls)
Ingredients for the Glaze
1 cup confectioners' sugar
3 to 4 tsp of warm water
1 tsp good quality vanilla extract
In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm milk. Allow the mixture to sit until it bubbles, letting you know that the yeast is alive and active.
Add the butter, eggs, honey, salt, and 3 cups flour to the yeast and milk mixture, Mix until smooth, and add enough flour to create a stiff dough. Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 6 to 8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl and cover. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume (about 1 hour).
Mix all of the filling ingredients together (but not the butter, that will be used when assembling the bread).
Once the bread has risen, punch it down. Cut the dough in half, and cut each half into 16 pieces. Pat each piece of dough into a 2 to 2 1/2 inch circle. Place 1 tsp of the apple mixture into the center of the circle. Pinch edges together to seal, forming a ball. Dip the ball in the melted butter. Continue this procedure with the remaining dough.
Grease a 10-inch bundt pan. Place 16 balls in the bottom of the pan, seam side down. Sprinkle with 1/2 of the remaining filling mixture. Layer the remaining balls, and pour the remaining melted butter on top and sprinkle with the rest of the apple filling, making sure to cover the exposed surface of the dough. Cover and let rise until it doubles, about 45 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bake for 40 minutes. Allow the cake to cool for 15 minutes, and then turn it onto a wire rack.
Mix all the glaze ingredients and drizzle over the warm bread.
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