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 top is golden browned.
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.
Pairs Well With
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.