Custardy Apple Squares
Custardy Apple Squares
I am a newbie to the Dorie Greenspan cult, but I can see why she has built up such a following. She writes clear recipes that are easily reproducible. Believe me when I say, as a recipe junkie, when you find a consistent author, you stick with them, because there are so many poorly written recipes. It happens all of the time, you see a beautiful picture and read what looks to be fairly straight forward instructions and then try to make it and realize the reason there are only 5 steps is that the other 20 are either written in invisible ink or were lost somewhere in editing. I have had no such issue with Ms Greenspan’s recipes, which is why I bring you this one today. No, I have not made it yet, but have every confidence that it will turn out well. Plus, since apples are in season, but we seem to be experiencing some dog days of summer, it feels like a fall treat that is not too heavy. I will not be able to partake until November, since I will be away most of October, so post some pictures in the comments when you guys try it out. As a side note; since I will be away, no recipe posts until I return in November. Happy Halloween!!
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus more for the pan
3 medium juicy, sweet apples, such as Gala or Fuji, peeled
1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
Pinch fine sea salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
6 tablespoons whole milk, at room temperature
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting (optional)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease an 8-inch square baking pan with a little butter.
Slice the apples from top to bottom using a mandoline, Benriner or sharp knife, turning the fruit 90 degrees each time you reach the core. The slices should be about 1/16 inch thick: elegantly thin, but not so thin that they’re transparent and fragile. (If they’re a little thicker, that’ll be fine, too.) Discard the cores.
Whisk together the flour and baking powder in a small bowl.
Use a whisk to combine the eggs, sugar and salt in a large bowl for about 2 minutes, until the sugar has just about dissolved and, more important, until the eggs are pale. Whisk in the vanilla extract, then the milk and the melted, cooled butter. Add the flour mixture into the bowl; use the whisk to form a smooth batter.
Add the apples to the bowl; switch to a flexible spatula and gently fold in the apples, turning the mixture until each thin slice is coated in batter. Scrape the mixture into the pan, smoothing the top as evenly as you can. It will be bumpy; that’s its nature.
Bake (middle rack) for 40 to 50 minutes or until golden brown and puffed — make sure the middle of the cake has risen — and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer to a rack and allow to cool for at least 15 minutes.
Carefully cut into 9 equal squares in the pan (being careful not to damage the pan); or unmold the slab onto a rack, flip it onto a plate so it is right side up and then cut it into 9 squares. Either way, give the squares a dusting of confectioners’ sugar before serving, if you’d like.
VARIATIONS: You can add a couple of tablespoons of dark rum, Calvados, applejack or Armagnac or a drop (really just a drop) of pure almond extract to the batter. If you have an orange or a lemon handy, you can grate the zest over the sugar and rub the ingredients together until they’re fragrant.
Here’s a delicious and almost foolproof recipe for novice bakers that’s easily customized with spices, a little rum or dried cranberries. See Dorie Greenspan’s bonnes idées (VARIATIONS), below.
Most often, Greenspan serves these squares plain. But whipped cream, creme fraîche or ice cream would make a great partner.
Make Ahead: The squares, which are good a few minutes out of the oven or at room temperature the day they are made, can also be covered and refrigerated for up to 2 days and served chilled.