Growing up in a Hungarian family I
was surrounded by many fine bakers. My mother and her circle of friends
entertained often, and the amazing pastries that they baked for their
gatherings were legendary. Fruit strudels, nut tortes, and pastries were
their specialty. I wish I had spent more time with them in the kitchen
watching and learning, as so many of their wonderful recipes have been
lost to me. But there are a few that I’ve managed to recover. Apple Squares or Almas Pite as they are known in Hungarian, is one of them.
Agi, a family friend, was gracious enough to come by and share her recipe and her technique for making these apple squares. Truth be told, there was no recipe. Agi bakes the old fashioned way. So with measuring cups and spoons in hand, we set out to write one.
Granny Smith Apples are peeled and grated into a large bowl, then tossed with cinnamon and sugar. They are set aside to allow the apples to release their juice, then transferred to a colander to drain.
Agi mixes the dough,(flour has not yet been added), with a wooden spoon, but a stand mixer with the paddle attachment can be substituted. Either way, the butter needs to be very soft so Agi leaves hers out overnight.
The dough is divided so the bottom crust is slightly larger than the top. Roll it out between two sheets of wax or parchment paper cut slightly larger than the 10 x 14" pan
Remove the top sheet of paper from dough. Flip over, remove paper and place into pan, tucking the dough into the corners. Add the ground walnut mixture evenly over the crust
Excess juice is squeezed from the apples before they are placed on top of the ground walnuts, filling the pan up to the top.
Roll out the top crust in the same manner as the bottom, between two layers of paper and place over the apples
Seal the top and bottom edges together and trim
Make and egg wash by lightly beating 3 egg yolks together. Apply evenly using a pastry brush
Prick the top with a fork to vent
Bake at 425F for 25 minutes or until the top has browned nicely. Lower temperature to 325F and bake another 40-60 minutes until the sides have browned as well. Cool in the pan on a rack with a kitchen towel lightly draped over the top.
Cut into squares and serve warm or at room temperature.
- Butter and flour a 9x13 pyrex pan
- Preheat oven to 425F
- 15 large Granny Smith Apples
- 3 sticks unsalted butter, very soft
- 3/4 cup sour cream
- 1 T. baking powder
- pinch salt
- 2 eggs
- 3 egg yolks for egg wash
- 1-1/2 t. cinnamon
- 3-1/2 cups sugar
- 1/2 lemon
- 1 cup walnuts, finely ground (best done with a nut grinder or the dry container of a Vitamix
- 1/4 cup unseasoned dried bread crumbs
- 6 cups flour
- In a small bowl mix 2-1/2 cups sugar and 1-1/2 t. cinnamon together. Peel apples and grate into a large bowl using the largest hole on a grater or in the food processor with the shredding disc. Toss with the sugar/cinnamon mix and add the juice of 1/2 lemon. Set aside while you prepare the dough.
- In a large bowl mix together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
- In a small bowl mix together 1 T. sugar, bread crumbs, and ground walnuts. Set aside.
- Make Dough:
- In a large bowl cream together 3 sticks softened butter with 1 cup sugar using a wooden spoon or a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Add 2 eggs slightly beaten and sour cream. Combine well. Add flour mixture and mix until dough comes together.
- Transfer apples to a colander to drain.
- Cut 4 sheets of wax or parchment paper, slightly larger than the 9x 13 inch pan.
- Divide dough in half, making the bottom crust slightly larger than the top.
- Place bottom crust in between 2 sheets and roll out slightly larger than the pan about 1/8" thick. You will have left over dough.
- Remove top sheet and carefully turn into pan
- Remove remaining sheet and fit dough into pan, smoothing down sides so there are no gaps. Patch tears if there are any.
- Sprinkle ground nut mixture evenly over bottom crust.
- Lightly squeeze excess juice from apples(you don't want them too dry) with your hands and place over walnut layer, filling to the top of pan.
- Roll out remaining dough in between sheets of paper for the top crust.
- Place over apples
- Seal edges together, then trim away excess dough with a knife.
- Make egg wash by lightly mixing 3 egg yolks with a drop of water in a small bowl.
- Pour over top crust and spread evenly with a pastry brush
- Prick top all over with a fork
- Bake at 425F for 25 minutes, or until the top is nicely browned
- Lower temperature to 325 and continue baking until the sides have browned and the apples are cooked, about 40-60 minutes more, depending on your oven.
- Cool in pan on a rack with a kitchen towel lightly draped over the top.
- Cut into squares and serve lukewarm, or at room temperature.
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