These Slovak apple squares have been served in my family for over a century. Recently my Aunt Diane arrived for a visit with some, and on my spring visit to Pivnica in Vojvodina a distant relative, Anna, served them to me fresh out of the oven; I was surprised to see the same squares served across the decades and continents. We eat them on special occasions such as Thanksgiving and for birthdays, and they are an easy alternative to pie. This is another recipe out of Pauline’s little handwritten pastry book; I’ve seen similar recipes in Hungarian cookbooks.
I can’t say that apple squares come to mind when I initially think of desserts to make (I’m more of a chocolate and nut person), yet whenever I eat these squares, I am smitten by the rich, buttery sweetness. When served warm, they melt in your mouth.
For the dough:
- 2 egg yolks
- ½ cup sugar
- 1-2 tablespoons cream
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 1-2 cups flour (less for a more cake like square, and more if you prefer it to be more like a crust)
- 1 tsp baking powder
For the apple filling:
- 2-3 apples, peeled and thinly sliced
- ¼ cup sugar
- 2 tbsp cinnamon
For the top:
- beaten egg white
- 3 tbsp sugar
- Mix all together then divide into two balls; handle lightly to avoid making dough tough
- Flatten each ball into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for ½ hr
- Roll out each dough ball into a square 8×8 inches (if using less flour, simply separate the dough into two, and pour 1/2 the batter into the pan and then the other 1/2 on top of the apples)
- Place one square into the bottom of an 8×8 inch greased pan
- Sprinkle dough with sugar and cinnamon
- Cover with sliced apples and sprinkle with more sugar and cinnamon
- Cover with second rolled out square
- Brush with egg white and sprinkle with sugar
- Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.
Here’s an interesting way to serve this dessert – in a glass jar. This works great with peach or apple cobbler too. Bake individual sized desserts in jars placed in a bain marie to bake in the oven with (shallow pan filled with water about 1 inch up the sides of the jar). Serve with a side of ice cream in the jar lid.