Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Elsa's Apple Slices

For me, fall flavors conjure up recipes that were put in cookbooks years gone by. I imagine that on certain days, you could roll into a small town where the air would be filled with the aroma of sweet apples baking as women prepared desserts for the upcoming fair or bake sale.  Families would gather their generations together and take off to the pumpkin fields to make sure that they got the best pick that resulted in the most amazing pie baked by their mothers or grandmothers.

Even though it is an era gone by, treasured pumpkin and apple pie recipes continue to be handed down and made year after year.   This particular recipe stems from the pages of a faded brown notebook that was created around the turn of the century.  The notebook was owned by a Baroness of high society that lived in Vienna.

One of the reasons that I made this was because having a whole pie around the house is too much for our small family, so the slice is a better way to go.  I did enjoy the taste and texture of this dessert.  The outside is like a thin cookie instead of a flaky pastry.  In regards to the filling, I like it because it has very little ingredients. That short list makes for a fairly pure taste of apples, which is exactly what I was looking for.

I changed the original order in which the components are made.  Since it is important that the dough be the right temperature,  it is best that the filling is made and cooling first. If the dough spends too much time in the fridge (waiting for the filling to get cool) it will crack when you roll it out.  This recipe results in about 15-20 slices, depending how thick you cut the slices.

Elsa's Apple Slices
adapted from Viennese Kitchen Cookbook

2 oz raisins
grated zest of one lemon
1 2/3 lb of apples (peeled cored and grated)
1/2 cup sugar

5 1/2 tbs unsalted butter (cubed)
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 cups flour
1 egg

1 beaten egg white
powdered sugar for topping
whipping cream (optional)

To make filling, place grated apples in a fry pan over medium to low heat.  Stir and let apples cook until all moisture is gone.  This took about 8-10 minutes.  Remove from heat and place in heatproof bowl and place on trivet in fridge to cool.

Now you can start on the dough.  Firstly, make sure all your ingredients are cold.  Sift together the flour and baking powder into a food processor bowl.  Add butter cubes and pulse food processor several times, until mixture turns into coarse crumbs.  Pour sugar into the processor bowl and pulse until evenly blended.  Lastly, pulse the egg into the batter until it turns into a dough.  Remove dough and shape into a ball.  Cover with plastic wrap and place in fridge to chill for 30 minutes.

During this time, take out a baking sheet (approx 10X15) and cut a piece of parchment to line the sheet.  Lightly flour surface of parchment and set aside.  You will not line your pan with it just yet. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Once the dough is properly chilled, remove from fridge and place on the parchment paper. Roll dough out to a thickness of 1/4 inch.  You should have a rectangle that is about 7X16.  Take the sheet of parchment paper with the dough on top and lay it on the baking sheet.  You will have a little overhang on the length.

Remove the apples from the fridge and stir in sugar, lemon zest and raisins.  Spread the apple filling down the center of the dough, leaving a one inch border on the short ends and a 1 3/4 inch border on each side of the length.  Your filling should measure about 3 X 14.

Fold in the 1 inch border on the short ends. Then fold one long end of the dough over the center of the filling.  Brush all folded in edges with egg white.  Fold the remaining end over the first, overlapping in the center.  Press down center seam to seal.  Make sure all the filling is sealed well on the center and ends.  You do not want the filling to seep through any openings while baking.

Place baking sheet in oven and bake for 40-45 minutes.  Surface will have a golden hue when done. Remove pan and let pastry cool on baking sheet.  Once completely cooled, sprinkle with powdered sugar and cut into slices with a sharp knife.  If desired, spoon a scoop of whipped cream on top when serving.
                              **LAST YEAR: Kahlua White Chocolate Brownies**