Wednesday, September 8, 2010

138. Apple Squares, Travel Easily

Fall apples are an anticipated reward after we wait all summer for them to ripen...they bring back memories of the most amazing apple tree that we had in our yard when my children were little. I assumed that it had grown wild on the piece of property where we lived as there were no other fruit trees nearby to suggest that it had been part of an orchard and it had never been part of someone's else's back yard.

Maybe it started out as a long forgotten apple buried by a squirrel and had grown from that...the tree looked like it might have been three little trees that had grown into one big one. It had obviously never been pruned and I was not expecting much from it. To my surprise, after taking care of it for a few years, I found out that the old apple tree was a diamond-in-the-rough. Every other year, it produced about 1,000 pounds of the most wonderful apples. Their skin was light green with some red and each apple was medium to large in size; the flesh...crisp and sweet. I searched for a long time, but could never identify the type of apple in my yard.

So, my anonymous garden friend produced bushels fruit for me to use and from the apples I made...sauce, butter, pies, pancakes, fritters, dumplings and more. Even with their long shelf life, I eventually needed to find more ideas and recipes to deal with the apple-overload.

The day I found a recipe for apple squares, I felt like I had discovered a long lost friend or the missing mate to a pair of was such a friendly and familiar taste delight...yet, it was a completely new recipe to me. I have since shared this recipe with many people and have taken this lovely pastry to potlucks dozens of times. The squares travel easily and look so delicious; there are never any leftovers. Apple squares freeze well and are great to pack in lunches.

(I often use my handy apple-peeler with the crank handle, pictured below. It peels, cores and slices an apple very quickly).
Apple Squares

Double crust pie dough (see post #16 for pie crust and pie cruts secrets)

¼ C dry bread crumbs

5-6 Golden delicious apples, pared, cored and sliced
½ C sugar
1 tsp cinnamon,
Nutmeg, (optional)

(icing – 1 C powdered sugar, 2 T milk, ½ tsp vanilla)

Make dough for a double crust pie. Divide into 2 equal parts.  Cover one part and roll the other into a 12x16 rectangle. Place rolling pin on near edge and carefully roll the dough around the pin. Lift up the rolling pin and place on the far side of a cookie sheet. Unroll the pin and dough toward you. Sprinkle the dough with ¼ C dry bread crumbs. Layer apples over crumbs to within ½ inch of the edges. Mix sugar,  cinnamon, and optional nutmeg. Sprinkle evenly over apples.

 Roll second crust and roll up as before. Unroll it gently over the top of the apples. Fold bottom crust upward and pinch decoratively around all sides. Shape does not matter. Prick top of dough with fork. Bake at 425 degrees for 30 minutes. (Cover loosely with foil to prevent overbrowning of crust and edges). Lower temperature to 325 degrees for 30 minutes more until apples are tender and crust is golden. Remove pastry to a wire rack carefully and cool. Make a thin icing and drizzle over top of cooled crust. After icing hardens, cut pastry into squares.

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