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Preheat oven to 400°F. In a large bowl, combine the 3 tablespoons sugar, the 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, and the nutmeg. Add apple pieces and, if desired, dried cranberries. Transfer mixture to a 2-quart rectangular baking dish. Cover and bake for 10 minutes.
In a medium bowl, combine whole wheat pastry flour, the 1/3 cup all-purpose flour, the 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar, the baking powder, and salt. Using a pastry blender or two knives, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in cheese and walnuts. Add the 1/4 cup milk all at once to flour mixture. Using a fork, stir just until moistened.
On a lightly floured surface, quickly knead dough for four to six strokes or until nearly smooth. Divide dough into six equal portions. Using your hands, roll each portion of dough into a 12-inch-long rope. Cut two of the ropes in half to make four 6-inch-long ropes. Uncover apples in dish; stir gently. Arrange the four long dough ropes atop apple mixture in straight rows about 1 1/2 inches apart, parallel to the long sides of the dish. Place the four short dough ropes across the dough ropes on the apple mixture to form a grid. If desired, weave to form a lattice. Brush dough with the 1 tablespoon milk.
Bake, uncovered, for 25 to 30 minutes more or until dough ropes are browned and apples are tender. Cool for 20 minutes on a wire rack. Serve warm. Makes 8 (2/3-cup) servings.