Grandma used to water down soda, at first I thought that it was because she was being frugal. Later in life I learned that she did not have a taste for things that were overly sweet. Grandma’s palate liked foods that tasted of bread and could stand up to a good cup of tea. In the typed notebook that she and my mother left me are pages, in no particular order, of rough notes for apple slice recipes. My husband has been asking me to tackle these recipe notes since August and I could no longer ignore his gentle yet persistent requests. You see, he is a fan of eating and dressing for the appropriate season, so for him October is all about apples, squash and sweaters layered over collared shirts in warm colors.
I had many false starts with this collection of recipe notes. This is mainly because there is no granulated sugar mixed in with the apples. I suspect a modern version of this recipe would include adjusting it to taste more like apple pie, which I will post at a later date, but remember this isn’t apple pie. Instead this is a tart apple slice with honey crisp apples and a crust that hold its shape, texture and delicate crunch. There is also no sugar glaze, instead that is replaced with my grandma’s signature dusting of powdered sugar. So brew a nice pot of black or green tea and prepare to be surprised, but not disappointed.
Approximately 12 Slices
4 Cups All Purpose Flour
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
1/4 LB Vegetable Shortening (Cold)
1/4 LB Unsalted Butter (Cold)
4 Egg Yolks (note when separating the eggs reserve and refrigerate 1 egg white for brushing the top of the assembled Apple Slice before baking)
1/2 Cup Milk
1/4 Sour Cream
Additional Reserved For Rolling Out Dough
1/4 Cup All Purpose Flour
2 1/2 LB Honey Crisp Apples (Peeled, Cored & Sliced)
1 Tablespoon Lemon Zest
2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
1 Tablespoon All-Purpose Flour
1/4 Teaspoon Cinnamon
1/8 Teaspoon Mace
1/2 Cup Finely Chopped Walnuts
4 Graham Crackers Finely Chopped
To Brush On Top of Assembled Dessert Prior to Baking
1 Egg White (reserved and refrigerated as mentioned above)
9″x13″ Glass Pan
Preheat the oven to 450 Degrees Fahrenheit.
In a large bowl using a fork combine the four and salt. In that same bowl, add to the dry ingredients the cold veg shortening, cold butter, egg yolks, milk and sour cream, using a pastry blender/cutter or fork and the method to make pie or biscuit dough combine the wet and dry ingredients. When the ingredients come together and the fats and liquids are evenly distributed with the flour, making a course sticky mixture, turn the dough out onto a large lightly floured cutting board. Gently kneed the dough briefly until it comes together and doesn’t stick to your hands. Cover and refrigerate the dough for 15-20 minutes while you prepare the filling.
Peel, core and slice all of apples tossing with zest, lemon juice, flour and spices in a large bowl. Finely chop the walnuts and graham crackers.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Divide into 2 unequal parts. The dough ball that will be used for the bottom needs to be slightly larger so it can come up the sides of the pan by at least two thirds of the way. Rolls the bottom layer dough out first on a lightly floured surface. Using your rolling pin gently roll the dough on it and then unroll it gently into the pan. The dough will hold together if handled gently and deliberately. Spread the nut and graham cracker filling along the bottom. To create two layers of apples, shingle them lengthwise as shown below. For an even filling lay the bottom layer all in one direction and the second layer in the other. Just dumping the apples in the pan haphazardly creates unevenness and edges that can poke though the dough. See image below.
On a lightly floured cutting board roll out the second top layer of dough. Using a rolling pin again transfer the dough on to the top of the the apple slices, creating a top crust. Folding the extra dough from the bottom layer over the top, crimp and seal the edges using the tines of a regular dinner fork. Cut 12 evenly spaced vent slits on the top crust using a serrated knife. Brush with the reserved egg white. Please note, this recipe bakes at 2 temperatures. For the first 20 minutes bake at 450 degrees Fahrenheit and then drop the temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and baking for an additional 25-30 minutes until done. Total baking time between between these two temperatures approximately 45-50 minutes. Cool on a wire rack before serving.