Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Get your peelers armed and ready - don't let this apple season pass you by!

We are getting back on track this week for the Wednesday Treat Day and I thought it would be fitting to make an apple recipe to celebrate the beginning of fall. I've been anxious to give these Frosted Apple Squares a try because it has a very interesting method to make the pastry that encases a stack of apples.

It is kind of like a pie dough as you cut cold butter into flour, but it also has the addition of yeast which gives the crust a sturdy, yet delicate texture. Since the dough is very buttery, you will want to chill it for at least 30 minutes before rolling it out. To make your life easier, I would very much recommend that you roll the dough out on a piece of parchment paper - you won't have to add extra flour this way which will toughen the dough and all you need to do is flip the paper over to place it in the pan. You can roll it out on a floured surface, but you need to roll the dough quite thin - if you use the parchment paper, you can also trace the size you need on the backside so you know exactly how big to roll it.

Frosted Apple SquaresOnce the dough is fitted into a large half-sheet pan, several layers of thinly sliced apples are arranged on top. A sweet mixture of granulated sugar, cornstarch to thicken the juices, a pinch of salt and a healthy dose of fragrant cinnamon is scattered over the apples. The second piece of dough is finally rolled out in the same fashion and gently placed over the top. The next twist comes in as you cover the assembled pastry and let it rest for an hour to give the yeast a chance to work their magic. It is then baked until the crust is a rich golden brown and the apples hidden inside are tender, but not mushy. For a fun finishing touch, a light vanilla frosting is combined and drizzled over the cleanly cut bars.

Frosted Apple SquaresAlmost like a giant and flat apple pie, this delicious treat is very reminiscent of an apple Danish pastry, but without the labor that goes into them. The outer pastry was decadent and a perfect casing to hide the generous apple filling. I got a little chuckle when Jeff came home and his first out loud thought was "Woah! It looks like a giant apple pop tart!!" Now that I've tasted this, I'd love to throw a light layer of dried cranberries on top of the apples for a splash of color and to give a textural bite against the soft apples. Here is a quick snap of it before we frosted and cut the squares to give you an idea!

Frosted Apple SquaresAs the air chills outside, tonight's Potato-Leek Gratin I made for dinner was just the right comfort food dish to warm us up. To speed up the entire cooking time of the dish, sliced russet potatoes are first poached in milk that is spiced up by the additions of sliced leeks, salt, pepper, garlic, fresh thyme and a bay leaf. Once the potatoes are tender, half of the mixture is placed in a baking dish and topped with shreds of Gruyère cheese - the layers are repeated and the dish goes in the oven to bake until the infused milk sauce thickens and the top is a little crispy and golden brown. Not being overly cheesy, the distinctly nutty Gruyère cheese had enough power to stand up to the potatoes, yet it had enough restraint that it didn't completely take over the dish. We liked the use of leeks in this dish; it gave a mild onion flavor that lingered in the background and melded well with the other light flavors. I can't wait for lunch tomorrow - I love leftovers and think this will hold up well to reheating.

Potato-Leek Gratin

11 comments:

  1. Very, very, interesting. I like this idea- a lot. I think I'm going to try this, maybe with pears. (I've eaten too many apples recently)

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  2. Both recipes look yummy!!!
    I miss summer already, but apple and pumpkin season are also a favorite!!
    Ana

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  3. Hi Joe
    The apple squares look yummy. I have seldom met an apple dessert I didn't like! What kind of apples did you use with this?

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  4. I have very clear memories of munching on warm Dutch Apple Pop Tarts as kid while watching Saturday cartoons. Several years ago, I got a weird craving for them, only to discover they're no longer being made.

    Your recipe looks like my memory tastes. If this turns out much the same, I will forever sing your praises!

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  5. The apple squares look SO good!

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  6. Jennifer from NYC9/26/2007 06:02:00 PM

    These look amazing and yummy! I can't wait to try this recipe. Also, pears sound like a good idea, as well, but I will give the apples a try first. Thanks for another great recipe!

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  7. I showed hubby the Frosted Apple Squares and he said, "Yum! You're making those this weekend, right?"

    hehe.....looks like I better go buy some apples.

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  8. You're a food artist, outstanding baker and cook!

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  9. Emilie - I love the pear idea!

    Ana - I know what you mean, but the apple season has a special spot in my heart!

    Karen - I used Granny Smith as we love that tart bite.

    S'kat - I hope it can bring back some memories for you!

    Caty - Thanks!

    Jennifer - Let me know what you think if you try them!

    Barbara - I'll be lookin' to see what you think then!

    Cynthia - You are too kind, thanks!

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  10. Just found this recipe while searching for "apple squares". I'm making it now - I'll let you know how it turns out (I can't wait!!)

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  11. TFan - How did it turn out?

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