Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Apple squares

Another entry for the Kitchen Corner's November Bake-off!

This recipe is taken from the King Arthur flours website, but we used to make a very similar thing when I worked at Nabolom Bakery in Berkeley.

The pie crust recipe is to die for. There are lots of recipes out there for crusts, and they don't all involve as many ingredients as this one, but this one is just so buttery and soft and flaky and delicious, that this is the one I am writing in my own personal cookbook to use from now on. It's that good.

Also, there is no excuse to use pre-made pie crust. Homemade is ten times better, easy, and without any weird preservatives.

Pie crust ingredients:
2 1/2 c. flour (I bet the crust would be even better with pastry flour!)
1 t. salt
1 t. baking powder
2 T confectioner's sugar (I used regular cane sugar)
2 T buttermilk powder (I used nonfat milk powder)
1/4 c. vegetable shortening
10 T very cold butter, cut into small cubes (about 1/2")
1 t. vinegar (cider or white)
6-10 T ice water

By hand: whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, sugar, and milk powder. Using two butter knives or a pastry cutter, cut in the shortening until the mixture is evenly crumbly. Ad the butter pieces and cut in until the mixture looks like coarse sand, or the butter is fairly evenly distributed. Add the vinegar and a few tablespoons of water at a time, mixing until the dough is chunky and fairly cohesive. I find it's easiest at this point to use my hands to smush together all the dry flour and get the dough together into a ball.

By food processer (much easier): add the flour, salt, baking powder, sugar, and milk powder to the bowl and pulse for a few seconds. Add the shortening and pulse until combined. Add the butter and pulse for about 10 1-second spurts. Add the vinegar and the water, a few tablespoons at a time, mixing after each addition, until the dough comes together in a rough ball.

Both methods: Divide the dough into two balls, one with 2/3 the dough and the other with 1/3 the dough. Shape into discs and wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes (up to 20 hours).

Apple filling:
About 1 dozen apples
1/2 c. finely chopped pecans
1/2 c. sugar
2-3 T ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 375.

If you have a fancy apple corer-peeler-slicer, use it to core, peel, and slice at least a dozen cooking apples. (Cooking apples are more tart than eating apples, and better for baking). Otherwise, use a knife to core and cut about a dozen apples into thin wedges. I don't peel the apples if I'm doing it by hand, because it takes too long, and the skins give the pie a great color.

Take the bigger disc of dough out of the fridge and unwrap it on a floured surface. I leave the plastic wrap on top of the disc and roll the dough out underneath the plastic. Roll in one direction, then turn the dough 90 degrees and roll in the other direction. This ensures the dough doesn't stick to the rolling surface. Roll until the dough is in roughly a 9x12 rectangle. Transfer the dough to a 9x12 baking dish, but don't worry about rough edges or gaps - just pinch of dough from where there's extra to fill in any gaps on the other side of the dough.

Fill the dough with your apple wedges. Sprinkle with pecans, cinnamon, and sugar.

Roll out the smaller disc of dough, and drape over the top of the apples. Seal the edges as best as possible (perfection is not needed here!) and make six small cuts in the crust to let steam out.

Bake for 45-60 min, ensuring you don't burn the crust.

I let mine cool for a few hours before serving for dessert, and then I had another slice for breakfast.


Mariko said...

I agree about the crust.
For some reason, because this is rectangular, I like it better than apple pie. I dislike apple pie. Not sure why. But squares... you've got my interest

One and Doll said...

I am so glad you are back....to blogging that is