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May 13, 2010 / Sarah

National Apple Pie Day


Not being a fan of a traditional apple pie, I decided to go the route of Apple Pie Bars.  These were very moist which satisfied my number 1 complaint of pies – the crust is too dry!  These will stay tightly wrapped for about 4 days or, since this makes about 2 dozen bars, you can freezer them for up to one month.

Apple Pie Bars
Adapted from Food & Wine

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2 1/2 cups flour, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1 1/2 sticks plus 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided and chilled
1 cup light brown sugar, divided
6 Granny Smith apples (about 3 pounds); peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
1 1/2 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon, divided
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg, divided
1/4 cup water, as necessary
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup walnuts, toasted, cooled, and chopped
1 1/2 cup quick-cooking oats

  1. Make the crust:  Preheat the oven to 375°. Line a medium baking sheet with parchment paper.  Using an electric hand mixer, beat 1 1/2 sticks softened butter with 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar until light and fluffy.  Mix in the 1 1/2 cups flour and 1/4 teaspoon salt until a dough forms.  Press the dough over the parchment paper in an even layer.  Bake in the center of the oven for 15 minutes or until the crust is golden and set.  Let cool on a rack.
  2. Make the filling:  In a large, heavy skillet, melt 3 tablespoons chilled butter with 1/4 cup light brown sugar over high heat.  Add the apples and cook until softened, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Stir in 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon and the nutmeg.  Cook until the apples are caramelized and very tender and the liquid is evaporated, about 10 minutes longer.  Add 1/4 cup water to the pan and scrape up any bits stuck to the bottom of the pan.  Let cool.
  3. Make the topping:  Cut 1 1/2 sticks chilled butter in 1/2 inch cubes.  In a large bowl, mix the oats, 1 cup of flour, 3/4 cup light brown sugar, 1/2 plus 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon, baking soda, and 1/4 teaspoon salt.   Using a pastry blender or your fingers, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal.  Stir in the walnuts.
  4. Spread the apples filling over the crust once each is cool.  Scatter the topping over the apples and press lightly into an even layer.  Bake in the center of the oven for 50 minutes, or until the topping is golden.  Rotate the pan halfway through baking.  Let cool completely on a rack before cutting in to 2-inch bars.
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