Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Baking Lessons: Episode 1

Lesson of the day: 
You should always listen to your mother. 
Especially when she knows what she's talking about. 

My mother has been making these apple squares since she was a teenager. I'm not going to tell you how old my mom is, but trust me, it's a long ass time. She's perfected them. She's famous for them. They are requested by people she doesn't even know. So you'd think that the day, two years ago, when she finally taught me how to make them, I would pay very close attention. I did. I would take copious notes. I did. I would then follow every step to the letter. Um. About that.

Yeah. I made my mother's intoxicatingly delicious apple squares by myself for the first time yesterday. And I didn't follow the recipe. I did not admit to my mother that I used some butter. I did not admit to my mother that I used my food processor. I also did not admit to my mother that didn't really measure everything. Oops. I did however, call her while the pastry was in the oven and tell her how leaky it was, since a puddle of golden, cinnamon scented syrup was beginning to form around one edge of the Silpat. My mom, as always, was reassuring. She admitted it took her years of practice before she produced a pastry that didn't leak at all. Now she can do it in her sleep. Being the perfectionist I am, I didn't feel much better. That is, until I ate one. Then I almost cried a little. It tasted just like my mom's.

Frosted Apple Squares

2 1/2 c. unbleached all purpose flour
1 Tbls. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 c. shortening
1 egg, plus enough milk to make 2/3 c. (Confused? Crack an egg into a measuring cup. Top it off with milk until you have 2/3 c. of liquid)
2/3 c. crushed cornflakes
5 c. apples, peeled, cored, and sliced thinly
1 c. granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 egg white, beaten
3/4 c. powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. lemon extract
2 Tbls. water

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Toss apples, 1 cup of sugar, and cinnamon in a large bowl and set aside.

Sift flour, 1 Tbls. sugar, and salt into another large bowl. Using a fork, your fingers, or a pastry mixer, cut in the shortening. Add egg and milk a bit at a time, while you continue to mix. You'll end up with a sticky ball of dough. Turn dough out onto a generously floured board. Form into a ball, dusting generously with flour as you work. Cut off 1/3 of dough and set aside.

Roll remaining dough into a 1/4 inch thick rectangle, flouring as you go. (You may want to do this directly on a piece of parchment or a nonstick baking mat as it will make transferring the dough to a baking sheet a million times easier!) Lay the dough on a rimmed baking sheet, making sure to seal any cracks, and sprinkle with cornflakes, leaving a 1 inch border. Top with apples. Roll out remaining dough to a 1/4 inch thick rectangle, again with lots of flour. Place over the top of the apples (If you have trouble with this step, try rolling the dough onto your rolling pin to transfer it). Fold bottom dough edges up over the top and pinch well to seal. (Triple check your seals!) Brush with egg white and slice vents at two inch intervals into the top of the pastry with a knife.

Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely. In a small bowl, whisk powdered sugar, lemon extract, and 1 Tbls. of water. If the icing is too thick to drizzle, add more water a drop at a time. You want a thick, opaque glaze. Drizzle over pastry and cut into squares.

Print the Recipe

p.s. Bigger pictures = Better? Thoughts?

p.p.s Remember that Lobster Mushroom Mac N Cheese I made for the contest at Marx Foods? Well the poll is up, so please take a moment to pop over and vote for me! Love you guys!

This post is linked to:
Hearth n Soul
Tuesday Night Supper Club
Tasty Tuesdays


girlichef said...

uuuuummmmm...can I just say- Freakin' YUM! No wonder they garner her fame...they sound amazing! Yeah, mom's...always knowin' best. Whatcha gonna do? ;) Thanks for sharing this one with us...and the hearth and soul hop...I'm saving it!!

Kirby said...

Ohh these sound sooo good! I want one now! I'm also saving this one!

Miz Helen said...

I printed your recipe, it looks awesome. I can't wait to try it out.
Thank you for sharing your recipe.

Melynda said...

Wow, can't wait to make these! Thanks for sharing.

Brenda said...

I would MUCH rather have these than apple pie (which I find rather boring, which I know makes me weird). They look delicious and I love that there's icing drizzled on top. And it's a square so I can eat it with my hand. :o)

Jessica Gardner said...

It's recipes like these that make me wish I had more time to bake.

April@The 21st Century Housewife said...

These look scrumptious! I'm definitely bookmarking this one!! Thanks for sharing a great family recipe.

Christy said...

i am going apple picking on friday, so imagine how excited i am to see this recipe. i can hardly wait! thank you for sharing a family heirloom. and my husband thanks you for giving us a reason to have cornflakes in the house! so glad to have you and this recipe as part of the tuesday night supper club

Karen Harris said...

Great looking recipes but thank you most of all for putting a smile on my face with a little bit of humor in your posts.

Kathy said...

Looks amazing! Thanks for sharing your mom's recipe.

Pierce said...

ohmygod.........I am drooling! Very good post!

Jami said...

My goodness! These look wonderful. I bookmarked the recipe. Thanks for sharing it!

~Chris said...

Sounds awesome! I definitely added this to my list of recipes to try. I've actually got a bunch of apples to use up, so it may be sooner rather than later. :)

p.s. Depends on the pics. I try to kind of mix it up - some small, some big. Different shapes, etc.

Christy said...

Momma's just know things! And then when you know them well - the world is your oyster! This looks so out of this world amazing! thanks for sharing it with us at the Hearth and Soul Hop!

Dr. Laura Aridgides said...

Just bookmarked this one. My goodness, I just love apples and this looks fantastic!!! I may have to make a trip to the grocery store just to make this one.

Thanks for sharing with Dr. Laura's Tasty Tuesday!

Dr. Laura

Joanne said...

I'm not one to listen to my mother much either. Especially not when it comes to baking but perhaps that's because my mother is a horrendous baker.

I'm glad to hear that the leakage didn't affect the taste of these because they look damn delicious!

Lisa said...

I love it when I make a recipe and it tastes just like my mom's. Isn't it funny how we use that to measure perfection? Those apple squares look awesome and, if they're as good as your mom's, then they must really be delicious.

Christy said...

I highlighted this in my Linky Love post for the Hearth and Soul Hop! Thanks again for a great post!