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Bake Sale Apple Squares

School's in. Again. Oh geez or yea? (Depends if you are parent, teacher, or kid) The bake sale is also back. Don't tremble clip this recipe. This should get you an 'A'. A tart or cookie-ish dough base with a shower of lightly sweetened apples, topped with shredded dough. Once you have your components ready, the dessert comes together in just a few minutes. Recipe can be split but a full batch freezes well

2 cups unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla
4 cups all purpose flour (I prefer Hodgson Mills unbleached)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup half and half

2/3 cup apricot or raspberry preserves (optional)
6 to 8 cups peeled and grated apples
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons flour
non-stick cooking spray
confectioner's sugar for dusting

In a mixer or food processor, cream the butter until light and fluffy. Add sugar, egg yolks and vanilla and combine well. Fold in flour, baking powder and salt to make a soft dough. Add half and half if dough seems too dry.

Place the dough on a lightly floured board and knead to make a cohesive mass. Divide in two. Wrap each and refrigerate one half for 30-45 minutes. Freeze other half.

Peel, core and grate apples (use a hand cheese grater). Toss with sugar, cinnamon, lemon juice and flour.

Lightly spray a 9 by 13 inch rectangular pan with non-stick cooking spray. You may use a 10-inch springform pan for a round version of this dessert.

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Press refrigerated dough into prepared pan. Patch as you like. Spread on preserves if using. Top with apples. Remove reserved frozen dough from freezer.

Shred dough with cheese grater and distribute on top of apples. Place pan on a baking sheet. Bake on lowest rack of oven, until apples begin to ooze juice and top pastry browns (35-45 minutes).

Let cool. Dust with confectioner's sugar and cut into squares.

Makes 14-16
Yes! The Jewish New Year's is feted by honey and apples.

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My Own Honey Apple Cake

There are honey cakes and there are honey cakes. This one, using both Jewish New Year core ingredients: honey and apples, is worth taking a patent out on. High, moist, spicy (but not too much!), this one is ambrosial. If you think you dislike spice cake, this will make you eat your words. Use a medium soft apple, not too tart, nor too sweet, for this cake.

3 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons cinnamon
teaspoon cloves
teaspoon allspice
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup honey
1 cup whites sugar
cup brown sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla
1 cup warm coffee or coca cola (yes!)
cup orange juice
cup shredded, peeled apples, optional
cup flaked almonds

Non stick cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350 F. Generously spray a nine or ten inch tube or angel food cake pan with cooking spray. You can also use three 8 by 4 inch, or two 9 by 5 inch loaf pans.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices. Make a well in the center and stir in the oil, honey, sugars, eggs, vanilla, coffee, and orange juice.

Using a strong wire whisk, (or an electric mixer on slow speed), combine ingredients thoroughly to make a thick but pourable batter, insuring that ingredients are all blended and not stuck at the bottom. Fold in shredded apples.

Spoon or pour batter into prepared pan (s). Sprinkle with almonds. Place cake on baking sheet and bake until done, about 60-75 minutes for larger cake, 45-55 for a smaller loaf. Cake is done when it springs back when gently pressed with fingertips.

Cool ten minutes before unmolding from pan.
Serves 12-16

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Master Baker Pie Pastry

Print out this recipe. You are going to be using it a lot. It yields a large batch of easy-to-work pie dough. Lemon juice tenderizes the dough, an egg adds color and flavor and assists with browning. You may use shortening if you are used to that but for best flavor, please use all butter as suggested. This is a good pastry for almost any filling. Best made by hand, but instructions are included for a food processor.

Enough dough for 2 9-inch double pie crusts plus one 8 or 9 inch single crust pie.

4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
2 cups unsalted butter - very cold, cut in 16 chunks
1 egg
2 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup ice water

By hand: Place flour in a large mixing bowl. Cut in butter) until mixture is crumbly (an uneven mixture of small and large lumps of flour covered fat). Stir together egg, sugar, salt and lemon juice. Make a well in center of the flour mixture, stir in egg mixture and drizzle in most of the ice water. Using a fork or your fingers, toss mixture together to moisten flour. Stir to make a soft mass and pat into a dough. Add remaining (or additional) ice water as required to make sure dough sticks together.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead very briefly into a smooth dough. Divide dough in half and place in a zip lock freezer bag (labeling each portion) and refrigerate at least an hour (if using immediately) or refrigerate up to three days or freeze up to three months. To defrost, leave in refrigerator overnight, leave on counter for two hours, or microwave on high for 45-90 seconds (check to see dough is not getting too soft - just defrosting).

Food processor: This recipe requires a large capacity food processor. Place flour, sugar and salt in processor bowl. Add butter chunks and pulse until fat is coarsely dispersed into flour. Remove cover and sprinkle on most of water, lemon juice and egg. Pulse to make a rough mass of dough. Alternatively, remove flour/fat mixture from machine and place in a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the center and stir in water, lemon juice, salt, sugar and egg. Toss with fingers or fork to make a soft mass. Place on a lightly floured work surface and shape into a smooth dough.

Divide dough in half or in four (makes either two double crust or four single) and place in a zip lock freezer bag (labeling each portion) and refrigerate at least one hour (if using immediately) or refrigerate up to three days, or freeze up to three months. To defrost, leave in refrigerator overnight, leave on counter about two hours, or microwave on high for 45-90 seconds (check to see dough is not getting too soft - just defrosting).

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Rustic Free Form Apple Pie

Good apple choices would be a mix of something crisp and tart and something softer, and more mellow. See what's on the apple roster in your area. No pie pan is needed for this rustic, free-form country pie. Country easy but city slick looking.

Master Baker Pie Pastry for a single 9-inch crust.
(1/4 quarter batch)
6 cups (generous) pared apples, cut in wedges
1/4 cup light brown sugar - packed firmly
3/4 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons apple cider or frozen apple juice concentrate
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon apple pie spices or cloves
1 tablespoon flour
2 tablespoons corn starch
1 tablespoon unsalted butter - in bits
milk or half-and-half for glazing
confectioner's sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 425 F. Double up two baking sheets and line the top one with parchment paper.

Divide dough into portions (one larger (2/3) one smaller portion (1/3)). On a well-floured board, roll the larger portion out to a 14 inch circle. Transfer to parchment lined baking sheet.

In a large bowl, toss apples with brown sugar, white sugar, lemon juice, apple cider (or concentrate), cinnamon, apple pie spices (or cloves), flour and corn starch. Mound onto pie pastry, leaving a 1 1/2 inch border. Dot with butter. Roll out remaining pastry and top apples with it. Brush outer edge of top pastry with milk or water. Turn over pie pastry border (from bottom pastry) onto top to seal and make an edge or border. Press slightly with fingertips to seal.

Brush top of pie with milk or half-and-half. Bake 30 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 F. and bake until apple juices begin to bubble out (35-45 minutes longer). Cool well. Using a large cardboard circle as an aid, transfer pie to serving platter. Dust with confectioner's sugar.

Serves 6-8

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