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Taking a bite out of apple slices

Q: Oh, how I miss Chicago and its bakeries and so much more. My German and Polish friends used to make a large sheet pan of apple slices, somewhat like a pie, had a glaze on top and was cut in squares like a brownie. Have searched and can't find a recipe. I teach cooking classes and was a personal chef out here in Seattle. Any help from your readers would be great.

—Danielle Risdon, Edmonds, Wash.

A: "These are simply called apple slices and bakeries in the German/Polish/Czech neighborhoods always had them (or at least they did)," emailed my colleague, Judy Hevrdejs, when I posed your question to the newsroom.

Judy says her Aunt Marie is a master at making apple slices. Trouble is, she's 80 and all the recipes are in her head. She "only shows you how to make it,'' Judy told me. Luckily, there are recipes, such as this one Judy found in the Sept. 14, 1972, edition of the Chicago Tribune. It makes 12 servings. Why such a big recipe? Judy suspects it was a dessert devised to serve a crowd at family reunions. Here's that recipe as written. You're a pro; play with it as you will.

Apple slices

Makes: 12 servings

Pastry:

2 cups sifted flour

1/2 teaspoon each: baking powder, salt

3/4 cup lard

1/2 cup water

2 egg yolks

1 teaspoon lemon juice

Filling:

1 1/4 cups sugar

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 cups water

3 pounds cooking apples, pared, cut in sixteenths

For pastry: Sift flour with baking powder and salt. Cut in lard until mixture is in coarse crumbs. Mix water, egg yolks and lemon juice; add to flour mixture. Blend gently with fork. (Mixture is very moist.) Wrap in waxed paper; chill at least 6 hours or overnight.

For filling: Mix sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon and salt in a saucepan; add water. Cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Add apples; simmer for 10 minutes.

Divide pastry in half; roll one piece on well-floured pastry cloth or board into a rectangle about 15 by 11 inches, using a stocking-covered rolling pin; turn out into a 13- by 9- by 2-inch baking pan. Bring dough up against sides of pan about 1 inch. Turn apple mixture into pan. Roll remaining dough to fit top of pan. Cut steam vents; lay over apples. Press edges of dough firmly together; seal.

Bake at 450 degrees for 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees; bake 30 minutes more. Cool in pan on wire rack. Cut into 3-inch squares. If desired, dribble a thin confectioners' sugar icing over the top.

Do you have a question about food or drink? E-mail Bill Daley at: wdaley@tribune.com. Snail mail inquiries should be sent to: Bill Daley, Chicago Tribune, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago 60611.

Twitter: @billdaley

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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