Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Cinnamon Toffee Apple Pie Squares

Wednesday is my favorite day of the week for the simple reason that on that day, I get to read the Good Eating section of the Tribune. I love the Good Eating Section. This recipe came from September 23rd's Good Eating. It is clear that the writers over there at the Trib are in full holiday mindset, and this recipe is a true Fall delight. I am hoping to make this again for Thanksgiving. Be prepared that this is no quick and easy recipe. It requires time, and a lot of peeled, cored, and sliced apples but it is so worth it. For someone who finds joy in the process of creating a beautiful and delicious dessert, this recipe is perfect. There is a thick crust on the bottom that wraps up the sides, a streusel top, and pounds of apples in the middle. This filling is simple, with just a bit of sugar and lemon added to highlight the flavor of the apples. The only thing that I changed was that I omitted the pecans in the streusel and used a cup of oatmeal instead. I am not a huge fan of the texture that pecans add to baked goods, but if you are a pecan lover go ahead and keep them, I am sure they add a delicious flavor. I know that if I am ever making these for my father-in-law, the pecans will be a must. For me though, the toffee added enough crunch while the oatmeal smoothed everything out. I also dusted the top with cinnamon to add some extra color.


3 Cups all purpouse Flour
3/4 teaspoon Baking Powder
3/4 teaspoon Salt
1 Cup Vegetable Shortening, frozen and cut into small bits
2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, very cold and cut into small bits
1/2 Cup Water
3 Large Egg Yolks (don't throw the whites away-you can freeze them in ice cube trays and thaw them when you need them)
1.5 teaspoons Lemon Juice

Cinnamon Toffee Streusel

1 Cup Pecan Halves
1 Cup All Purpouse Flour
1/3 Cup Brown Sugar
pinch Salt
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/3 Cup Unsalted Butter, very cold and cut into small bits
1/2 of an 8 oz package of Toffee Bits


4 Pounds Mixed Apples (Granny Smith, Golden Delicious) peeled, cored, sliced
1.5 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
1 C Granulated Sugar
3 Tablespoons Minute Tapioca
Grated Zest of 1/2 Lemon
1/4 teaspoon Salt

For the crust:
Put flour, baking powder and salt in to a food processor and process until well mixed
Sprinkle in shortening and cold butter and pulse until mixture resembles course crumbs.

Mix water, egg yolks and lemon juice in a small bowl. Sprinkle over flour mixture and process just until the dough gathers into a ball. Do not over-mix or the dough will become tough. Transfer to a large sheet of waxed paper and flatten into a large disc. Wrap and refigerate for about 30 minutes.

Roll the dough out to a rectangle that measures about 12 X 16 inches. Place the dough in a greased 9 X 13 pan and press it to make it even along the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Refrigerate.

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.

For Streusel:
Put pecans in food processor and chop coursely. Transfer to a bowl. Add flour, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon to the food processor. Process to mix. Add the butter and pulse until mixture resembles course crumbs. Add to pecans Stir in toffee bits. Squeeze mixture into small clumps and set aside.

For Filling:

Put apples into a large bowl. Toss with lemon juice to coat. Stir in the sugar, tapioca, lemon rind and salt. Mix well.

Take your pan with crust out of the refrigerator and evenly spread apple mixture over the crust. Top with streusel to completely cover the apples. Bake for 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake until top and crust are brown, about 40 minutes. Place pan on a wire rack to cool, and serve when barely warm.

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