I first served my family this rich bread with its spicy apple filling years ago. From the very first bite, it was a hit with everyone. Now I bake it often for church groups, potluck dinners and parties with friends. It makes a nice breakfast pastry or—with a scoop of ice cream—a lovely dessert.—Norma Foster, Compton, Illinois
- 2 packages (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast
- 1/4 cup warm water (110° to 115°)
- 1/2 cup warm milk (110° to 115°)
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 4 eggs
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4-1/2 to 4-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1-1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
- 4 cups thinly sliced peeled tart apples
- 1/4 cup butter, softened
- 1 cup confectioners' sugar
- 1 to 2 tablespoons orange juice
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Add the milk, butter, sugar, salt, eggs and 2 cups flour. Beat on low speed for 3 minutes. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.
- Turn onto a lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and refrigerate for 1-2 hours; punch dough down. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
- Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide in half. Roll each half into a 12-in. x 9-in. rectangle. Place each on a greased baking sheet. Spread with butter. For filling, combine the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice in a large bowl;
- add apples and toss to coat. Spread filling down center third of each rectangle.
- On each long side, cut 1-in. wide strips about 3 in. into center. Starting at one end, fold alternating strips at an angle across filling; seal ends.Cover and let rise until nearly doubled, about 45-60 minutes.
- Bake at 350° for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown. Combine icing ingredients until smooth; drizzle over warm loaves. Serve warm or at room temperature. Store in the refrigerator. Yield: 2 loaves (10 slices each).
Originally published as Apple Ladder Loaf in Country Woman September/October 1997, p29
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