When fall arrives my brain instantly switches to apples…all things apple. I’m talking about apple dumplings, applesauce, apple pie, caramel apples, hand pies, apple crisp. eep! I could go on, no joke. Apples are the most versatile fruit and easily one of my favorites. Today, I’m sharing a variation of my grandmother’s apple jack. It’s also known as apple bars, but she named it the former. Let’s grab some grannys (er…apples) and get baking!
Before I go on, I want to quickly talk about my babcia – my grandmother. I have not doubt you would instantly fall in love with, Josephine, a little Polish lady who had a sense of humor and wit like none-other. I often refer to her as the energizer bunny because she just never quit. Even when under duress from the Nazi regime. Finally, when she came to the great USA with her husband and children, she brought with her the strong determination to do her best. She wasn’t perfect (are any of us?), but she was gold in my eyes.
Maybe the appropriate phrase to describe her when she baked later in life is “bless her heart”, because she tried and tried. Often her efforts came out in a darkened sort of state…aka. burnt. Nevertheless, in her glory days she knew how to make this apple jack so much so I make it every year during apple season.
This recipe has options for variations to suit your liking. I am sharing her recipe making note of what my mother, and then myself do differently. Also, I have created a recipe video tutorial as well below.
Here is the recipe as I have written down:
- 8-10 medium apples, peeled & sliced
- 4 c. unbleached flour
- 1 t. sea salt
- 1 ½ c. butter
- 2 t. cinnamon
- 1 c. rapadura or cane sugar
- 1 egg, separated
First, combine flour and salt, cut in butter.
Then, beat the egg yolk in a measuring cup and add enough milk to make ¾ cup liquid. Mix well. Stir egg/milk mixture into flour mixture. Blend with a pastry blender or stand mixer. Next, knead until soft dough ball forms.
Divide dough ball in half. Roll out one dough ball on a lightly floured surface until large enough to cover the bottom of your cookie sheet and up the sides. Consider it like making a bottom pie crust. Line your cookie sheet with crust and trim off edges with a paring knife.
Next, it’s time to peel and core our apples. You can use a paring knife, or a peeler corer tool like the one I have. I love this thing!! In addition, you can use it for potatoes too.
I use on the higher side of 10 apples to have plenty and fill the apple jack fully.
Now we have our apples peel and sliced and ready to go. Add your cinnamon and sugar, toss to coat.
Arrange coated apples evenly in bottom crust.
At this point it’s time to preheat our oven to 350° and roll out the second crust sized to fit the top. Or, if you like, do like my babcia did and make a lattice top. Also, you can create cutouts or extra fun to your top crust. Then place on top, wipe the bottom crust edges with a bit of water to promote sealing. Use a fork to make a decorative edge and seal the crusts together.
Last, whisk your egg white and a bit of water to create a wash. Using a pastry brush, spread the mixture over the top of your crust to get a gorgeous glazing while baking. In addition, if you like, sprinkle with cane sugar while wet. Bake for 1 hour. Remove from oven and let cool.
Can you smell it from there? Oh boy…it is so heavenly! It definitely draws the local crowds.
Serve it up with a fresh dollup of cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream. However, I prefer it warm and as-is. mmmm… How would you like yours?
I hope you enjoy this recipe as you serve your guests at your next family or holiday gathering. Likewise, I have no doubt it will be a hit!
In addition, do pin and share my babcia’s apple jack dessert recipe. I know we’re not the only ones who will love it!