Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Grandma's Apple Pie Bars

This is one of my favorite treats my Grandma use to make. I've never been able to make it quite like she did until last week when I finally figured out her secret... Fresh from the tree apples of different varieties.... it was just like I remembered ♥ She use to pick the apples from our tree and our neighbors apple trees right before making the pie. I forgot that important detail. I remembered as I took my first bite. The flavor from the different apples blended to a perfect blend of sweet and tart. I also remembered how she kept the apples from turning brown before the pealing process was complete... I'll share my secrets in the pictures below. This is one of those childhood memories you hang on to and pass along to your family. I guarantee if you make this recipe, you will be the hit of any occasion. It's great anytime of the year, but best when the apples come straight from the tree... Thank you Grandma, I love and miss you♥

Apple Pie Bars
Bake 1 hour or until done @ 350 degrees
14-20 Apples, different varieties if possible
1 Tablespoon of Lemon Juice
2 Heaping Tablespoon sugar
2 tsp. Salt
2 C. Shorting (I use the Crisco Sticks, no mess & easy to measure)
2 egg yolks separated into a measure cup and add enough milk to make 1 1/3rd C.
(Keep whites for topping on crust)
2 C. Crushed Toasted Honey and Oats (Corn Flakes or any other flake cereal will work as well)
2 C. Sugar
2 teaspoons of Cinnamon
2 C. Powdered Sugars
Pie Crust
5 C. Flour
2 Heaping Tablespoon sugar
2 tsp. Salt
2 C. Shorting
Mix like you would any pie crust (I find using my hands work best, just like my Grandma did).
Put 2 egg yolks into a measure cup and add enough milk to make 1 1/3rd C.
Liquid, break up yolk with a fork, and beat in cup before adding to crust mixture.
Mix crust until dough is formed. Divide crust into two balls. Wrap each ball in saran wrap and shape into a disk or hockey puck shape. Refrigerate while you get your apples done.
Peal 14 large apples, or 20 smaller apples, depending on the size. I use fresh off the tree if I can, but the ones you get from the store taste almost as good.
I like to peal the skins off, core the apple by cutting the apple into 4’s, then I sliver the apple into same size wedges about and 1/8th think so apples bake evenly.

Side note: An apple-peeler-corer-slicer gadget works great for larger apples, not so great for small or odd shaped apples. I remember when I found my grandma’s gadget; I just had to use it, curious as to how it could do everything all at once. Grandma preferred the hands-on method. So we’d race to see whose method worked best. She always won, and her apples were perfectly sliced. I didn’t care; I just enjoyed using the toy like device. Plus I use to play with the long strings of skin after, or we’d put them in a pot of water and boil them making the house smell all warm adding a cinnamon stick for the Christmas like smell.
As I peal the apples I place the sliced apples into a large bowl that I always use knowing just about how many I need to make a perfect pie. The great thing about this recipe is that if you’re an apple or two short it won’t matter. Because it’s a bar, it will still come out perfect no matter how many apples you add. For a thicker pie, I add more apples making it more like a huge pie for larger crowds instead of a bar.
After pealing a couple apples, I add a cup of sugar to the bowl and keep the apples coated, along with a tablespoon of Lemon Juice. This will keep your apples from turning brown. Every time I add another apple, I just give the mix a quick stir to make sure every sliced is coated. After I get all the apples pealed, I put the bowl aside and start on rolling out the dough for your crust.

After pealing a couple apples, I add a cup of sugar to the bowl and keep the apples coated, along with a tablespoon of Lemon Juice. This will keep your apples from turning brown. Every time I add another apple, I just give the mix a quick stir to make sure every sliced is coated. After I get all the apples pealed, I put the bowl aside and start on rolling out the dough for your crust.

Now for rolling out the crust, there are a couple different ways you can go about this. Because the pie crust needs to cover an entire jelly roll baking pan, you will need to make your pie crust a lot bigger to cover the corners. My Grandma was a pro at rolling out dough, she could always make the crust perfectly fit the pan, and be a consistent thickness throughout. I don’t make as many pies, and haven’t perfected that skill yet. So I use a technique I learned watching Martha Stewart. Take a large piece of Saran wrap larger than the size of the pan. Sprinkle some flour on the plastic wrap; take your dough from the fridge pat some flour on both sides place your dough down in the center. Take a second strip of wrap equal size and lay over the dough. Take your rolling pin and gently start pushing your dough down to make a thick pancake. Once you have pushed down enough, you can start rolling it out, you will need to start pushing a little firmer on your rolling pin to get the dough rolled out further to the size of your pan, be patient, it will get there. 

You can easily measure by placing your pan on top to make sure your rolled dough is big enough. It works like a charm, making a perfect pie crust every time. I’ve never had an issue making my crust this way, no tears, breaks or rips....well OK, maybe a few imperfections... but normally it comes out perfectly each time. it will get easier with each crust you make. Then Perfection! It’s one of the best tips I’ve learned from Martha’s Kitchen show.

Once your crust is rolled out and you’re ready to put it in your pan, it’s much easier if you slide the crust, plastic and all onto a large cutting board or the back of a second pan or flat cookie sheet.  Take the top plastic wrap off, place your pan face down over your crust perfectly centered. Then quickly flip your two pans over together, peal the wrap off the bottom crust, and Walla… you have perfectly placed your crust without tears… But don’t worry if you do get a crack, tear, or thinned spot, you can always fix it with the extra crust you’re going to be cutting off your trim. I know this sounds harder than it really is. Once you’ve done it once, you’ll see how easy it really is. Now, if you’re making pie crusts like a pro….If you are a pro,  you can skip the above step and use the traditional pie making technique your comfortable with and fill your pan.

Once your corners are secured in your pan you can begin to shape it by gently pushing the dough down filling in each corner, and then fill in the edges of the pan….. I use another small roller to make things even. But your hands or fingers will work just as well. Those old play dough making skills come in handy.
Leave the edges for now, you’ll make them pretty once your top crust is placed. If you have abundance in one area, you can trim to make your edge even around the entire pie. Sprinkle the two cups of crushed corn flakes evenly over the crust. This will help to stabilize your dough, and create an even flakier crust. Do not eliminate this step, if you don’t have flakes, use some other plain cereal. Even raisin brand will work; just take the raisins out…. Or not.

Now take your apples and evenly spread in the pie crust. Your apples should have developed a lot of juice, I strain the apples with a slotted spoon so not to add to much of the juice in your pie crust… you don’t want your crust to get to soggy from all the extra juice. Once the apples are in place, I take the remaining cup of sugar and mix it with the cinnamon. Sprinkle over the top of the sliced apples.
Now roll out your top crust the same way you rolled out the bottom. Once rolled, I take the top plastic off the crust layer I gently slide the crust onto a cookie sheet with the bottom wrap still on for easy handling.
Line both pans up and flip the crust off the cookie sheet trying to center as best as you can. Once in place, you can roll the bottom crust edges with the top crust or pinch them together, and then use a fork to gently press down creating a nice seal and perfect crust edge. If there is too much dough you can trim some off. If the top crust tore or ripped you can re-roll the extras scraps and tap it over the torn area gently pushing it into dough to make a patch and blending the two layers. Grandma used a little water around the edge to secure the patch and bind the dough pieces together.

Once done, take the two egg whites that you have put a side from earlier and whip them up with a mixer until they are stiff. Spread evenly over the top of the crust with a pastry brush. Use a fork to poke venting holes in top pie dough; I make about 8 stabs, 4 on each side.
Be sure to line the bottom of your oven with tin foil so any extra juices that may boil over are caught and you don't have a huge sticky mess to clean.
Bake 1 hour or until done, making sure the crust is a golden brown, and your apples are tender, I use a cake tester to make sure my apples aren't hard.
Remove pie from the oven and pour glaze over hot pie.
Add enough water to 2 cups of powder sugar so make the glaze thin enough to drizzle over the hot bars. I use a large spoon and create a design of crisscrossing back and forth to cover the crust evenly as shown below.
Let cool, you can sever warm or let cool completely, I like it both ways, but prefer it cold best. Bars can be stored in or out of the fridge, but don’t expect them to last long. Don’t be surprised if they disappear overnight. I could never keep them in the house; my boys would devour the entire pan which is why I always doubled the recipe and made two pans at the same time when I had a house full. That way you can take one pan to share.  Bring copies of the recipe though, everyone will be asking you for it.


  1. OMG! Chel...I'm sitting here drooling! These look so Yummy, will definitely have to make them when the weather turns cooler! Thanks so much for sharing your family recipe! xoxo Jackie

  2. It's that time of year again when the senses crave the sweet aroma of freshly baked apple pie bars, so does the belly...
    This time I made my Grandma's bars totally gluten free. I used a mixed blend with King Arthur GF flour and Namaste GF Flour... I mixed them equally and then followed my original recipe. Everything felt the same, rolled out the same, and had the same color and texture... Now the question will be... Will it taste the same?
    I used the GF because I seem to feel so much better when I limit the amount of flour or gluten I consume. I don't have nearly as many migraines if I really watch what I'm eating.
    This is one of my favorite fall recipes... the thought of not being able to enjoy one of our family traditions made me so sad, so I'm giving it a try and we'll see how well it turns out. I'll keep you posted, I didn't tell my hubby I used my GF flour to see if he could tell the difference...lol...That's what hubbies are for right? I've made it to bring to a Bunco party tomorrow night, I sure hope they enjoy it too!

  3. The verdict is in... Husband said it's the best pie ever...~Beaming~ ♥