I love family traditions.
More specifically, I love family food traditions.
In my husband’s family, they all had their favorite desserts growing up, which Rob’s mom, Kitty, made for them on their birthdays. My sister-in-law Sue loves Apple Spice Cake with caramel topping, so that was her choice of birthday cake. Adam always got Angel Food Cake or Key Lime Pie, and Wes liked to change things up from year to year, but he loved Kitty’s Chocolate Soufflé. Papa Mark’s favorite was German Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Frosting.
Rob’s birthday treat is today’s topic of interest: Apple Pie Slices!
Last week was my first time making these without Kitty. It was also Rob’s first birthday having Apple Pie Slices made by his wife instead of his mom… I was a little nervous they wouldn’t be as good as hers, but I think I did alright! Rob gave me the thumbs up, and I won’t say how many slices he ate, but let’s just say it was enough to tell me they weren’t too shabby. I also may have eaten more than a few just to make sure… They’re so hard to resist!
So, the tradition of birthday Apple Pie Slices continues. Give ‘em a try?
- 4 c. all-purpose flour + 4 Tbs., divided
- 1 1/2 c. lard (Yes, lard. Butter is okay, but lard is better!**)
- 2 tsp. salt
- 2 eggs, yolks and whites separated
- 2/3 c. milk (plus more for icing, recipe below)
- 12 to 18 apples (about 11 cups, depending on how much apple you like in your pie), peeled, cored, and sliced
- 1 1/2 sugar + more for sprinkling on top
- 2 Tbs. cinnamon + more for sprinkling on top
- Powdered sugar icing:
- 2 c. powdered sugar
- 2 Tbs. milk or cream
- 2 tsp. vanilla
- 2 drops almond extract
** In case you have trouble finding lard in the store (like I did the first time), it’s in the baking aisle, not located by the butter. And if you buy a block of it instead of sticks, just divide it into four equal portions, and use three of them for 1 1/2 cups.
- First, prepare all the apples. Those nifty peeler/corer/slicer gadgets work fantastically!
- Once the apples are ready, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- To make the crust, mix the salt into 4 c. of flour in a large bowl, and then cut the lard into the flour with a pastry blender until you have pea-sized or smaller bits of dough.
- Beat together the egg yolks with the 2/3 c. milk. Stir this mixture into the lard & flour, but do not overmix! Mix it just until it combines to form a ball of dough. It will get tough if it’s overmixed.
- Divide the dough in two. Roll out one half, and lay it into a large jelly roll pan with the dough overlapping the sides of the pan.
- Fill the crust with the apples, then sprinkle them with the 4 Tbs. flour, 1 1/2 c. sugar, and 2 Tbs. (or more, if you like) of cinnamon. You can mix the apples with the flour, sugar, and cinnamon in a bowl first and then fill the crust if you want to, but either way works fine.
- Roll out the second half of dough, and spread it over the top. Trim the excess off the outside, and make pretty crust edges if you know how. Mine aren’t very pretty…
- Whip up the egg whites a little with a fork, and brush them over the top crust. Then sprinkle more cinnamon sugar on top, and poke holes throughout with a knife or fork.
- Now, pop the pie in the oven, and bake it at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Then, reduce the heat to 325 and continue baking for 30 to 40 minutes. (If the the crust starts to get dark before it’s done, just cover it with some tin foil, and keep on baking.)
- While the apple pie slices are baking, make the glaze. Stir the milk (or cream) with the vanilla and almond extract into the powdered sugar. When the bars are done baking, let them cool off a bit, then drizzle the frosting over the top.
- Cut into bars, serve with ice cream if desired, sing “Happy Birthday” to Rob, and enjoy!
So here they are before frosted…
And here they are with frosting! Yummm…
You can add as much or as little icing as you like. Kitty likes it with just a little drizzle, but Rob prefers a nice thick “drizzle.”
I’m pleased to deem this year’s birthday Apple Pie Slices a success!
I love that Kitty taught me how to make her baby boy’s favorite dessert so that even though he doesn’t live in his parents’ home anymore, he still gets that bit of “home” on his birthday. Just like mom used to make. Like I said, I love food traditions. I can’t wait to start our own!
What are your favorite food traditions?
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