For Easter, Joy Zhang brings us all a colorful take on apple pie.
Text And Photos By Joy Zhang
With Easter here, I’ve been racking my brain for some good dessert recipes and found this wonderful recipe for Apple Pie Bars from Food and Wine magazine. I love the delicious crumble topping and I opted to use Granny Smith apples for a nice tart apple filling, pair it with a buttery shortbread crust and you’ll find this will quickly become everyone’s favorite dessert.
These bars can be made ahead of time so you don’t have to be scrambling in the kitchen the day of. I enjoy cutting them into little squares, pop them in the freezer and fold them into a bowl of vanilla ice cream. It’s pretty much heaven with every mouthful!
- 3 sticks (12 oz) unsalted butter, softened
- ¾ cup (2.1 dl) granulated sugar
- 3 cups (8.4 dl) all-purpose flour
- ½ (2.5 ml) teaspoon kosher salt
- 6 tablespoons (3 oz) unsalted butter
- ½ cup (2.3 dl) light brown sugar
- 12 granny smith apples - peeled, cored and thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon (1.7 dl) cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon (.6 dl) freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 cup water (8 oz), as necessary
- ¾ cup (2.1 dl) walnuts
- 3 cups (8.4 dl) quick-cooking oats
- 2 cups (5.6 dl) all-purpose flour
- 1½ cups (4.4 dl) light brown sugar
- 1¼ ( .7 dl) teaspoons cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon (.25 cl) baking soda
- ½ teaspoon (.25 cl) kosher salt
- 3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes and chilled
- Make the Crust: Preheat the oven to 375F. Line a 15 by 17" rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. In an electric mixer fitted with a paddle, beat the butter with the granulated sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. At low speed, beat in the flour and salt until a soft dough forms. Press the dough over the bottom of the prepared pan and ½ inch up the sides in an even layer. Bake in the center of the oven for about 20 minutes, until golden and set. Let cool on a rack.
- Meanwhile, make the filing: In each of 2 large skillets, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter with ¼ cup of the brown sugar. Add the apples to the skillets and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes. Stir half of the cinnamon and nutmeg into each skillet. Cook until the apples are caramelized and very tender and the liquid is evaoprated, about 10 minutes longer; scrape up any bits stuck to the bottom of the skillets and add up to ½ cup of water to eac pan to prevent scorching. Let cool.
- Make the topping: Spread the walnuts in a pie plate and toast until golden a fragrant, 8 minutes. Let cool; coarsely chop. In a large bowl, mix the oats with the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Using a pastry blender or two knives, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in the walnut sand press the mixture into clumps .
- Spread the apple filing over the crust. Scatter the crumbs on top, pressing them lightly into an even layer. Bake in the center of the oven for 1 hour, until the topping is golden; rotate the pan halfway through baking. let cool completely on a rack before cutting into 2-inch bars.
- The bars can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 4 days or frozen for up to a month.
A 25 year-old free-lance photographer, home-chef and writer from Dallas, Texas, Joy finds inspiration for her photography and recipes through music, art and nature. Her work has been featured on Elle Girl Korea and Gourmet Live. Join her culinary adventures through her kitchen and discover fresh, simple and delicious recipes.