Apple Squares

Almas Pites

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Makes

    9

    servings

Appears in

Hungarians have apple pie, too, but there are many differences from the American version. First, almas pites is rarely round, and is always cut into squares. Sour cream in the dough gives it a central European touch, tenderizing the dough in the process. Some recipes use sliced apples but grating the apples and squeezing out the excess juice is a good alternative. The dough makes a bit more than you will need, and allows for ease of rolling out and fitting into the pan. If you wish, cut the trimmings into decorations, brush with the beaten egg, and place on the glazed top crust.

Ingredients

Filling

  • 6 medium ( pounds) Golden Delicious apples
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • cup raisins
  • cup very finely chopped walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons dried bread crumbs
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Dough

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 14 tablespoons ( sticks) unsalted butter, chilled, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg, beaten, for glazing

Method

  1. To make the filling: Peel the apples. Working with one apple at a time, grate on the large holes of a box grater, turning the apple when you reach the core. Discard the cores. In a medium bowl, toss the apples with the lemon juice. Press a large piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the apples and refrigerate for 1 hour. A handful at a time, squeeze the excess juices from the apples. In a large bowl, mix the apples with the sugar, raisins, walnuts, bread crumbs, and cinnamon.
  2. To make the dough: Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal with a few pea-size pieces of butter. In a small bowl, combine the sour cream, egg yolks, and vanilla. Add to the dry ingredients and mix with a fork until the mixture begins to clump together. Divide into two portions, one a bit larger than the other. Shape each into a thick, flat square, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  3. Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 350°F. Lightly butter an 8-inch square baking pan (preferably nonstick).
  4. Place the larger portion of dough on a lightly floured work surface and sprinkle the top with flour. Roll out approximately 9½ inches square and ¼ inch thick. Fit into the pan, pressing against the sides of the pan. Brush the dough with the beaten egg and fill with the apples. Roll out the remaining dough into an 8-inch square about ¼ inch thick. Place over the apples, and press the edges of the two layers of pastry together to seal. Trim away any excess pastry to make a tight pastry “box” enclosing the apples. Pierce the top crust in a few places with a fork. Brush the top lightly with the beaten egg.
  5. Bake until the crust is golden brown, 40 to 45 minutes. Cool completely in the pan on a wire rack. Hold a baking sheet over the pan, and invert the pastry onto the sheet. Reinvert, right side up, onto a cutting board. Cut the pastry into 9 portions, using a serrated knife. Transfer to a platter and serve.

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