Sunday, May 5, 2013

A Wedding Dessert Table, and Apple Pie Bars

Yesterday was a very busy day in my baking life. My co-worker, Pam, had trusted me to bake for her wedding (she's a former wedding planner!). So, a little after noon yesterday, Katie and I packed up my Jeep with the goodies I'd been baking for days, before and after work, and I was on my way. In the back of the Jeep: wedding cake tiers (to be assembled on-site - makes for a much less stressful commute!), and a variety of desserts - his and hers - for the dessert table. On the "hers" side: cupcakes and carrot cake petit fours. Pam was also having a fruit platter and coconut macaroons provided by the caterer. On the "his" side: big squares of brownies with, and also without, nuts; apple pie bars (recipe follows), as well as Italian cookies, also provided by the caterer.  Pam and Joe were married at Pat's Barn, part of the RPI (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute) Industrial Park, but there was nothing industrial about the setting, it was much more park-like. They had a beautiful day, with blue skies, a light breeze, and temperatures in the 70s. Pat's Barn is a beautiful venue, and I enjoyed the hour or so I spent there setting up the wedding cake and dessert tables. While I was setting up, a representative for RPI events came through with a number of couples showing the space as they prepared for Pam's reception. They stopped to watch as I worked, as the blank canvas of two white tiers came to life with vines and flowers. It was fun to explain what I was doing, and to reiterate that I am NOT a professional when asked for a card!  I explained that I bake only for good friends and family when I have time, and enjoy that so much. To become a professional would take the joy out of my part-time passion, I am afraid. Who knows, maybe one day when I retire from the 9-5 I may become more active, but for now, I am happy to share my amateur pursuits with you!

And speaking of sharing, below you will find photos of the cake and desserts, followed by the recipe for apple pie bars, one that I requested from my BFF Sue Valenti. This is her recipe, word for word, with no changes. Sue grew up in the UP of Michigan, where "bars" are a favorite dessert.  There are all kinds.  But her recipe for apple pie bars is one of her specialties! I found a number of variations on-line as well. (Here's another version, from Taste of Home - interesting to see the regional differences.)

Sue and I worked side-by-side for a few years, and became very fast, and life-long, friends. She retired from Skidmore College three years ago, but we still have lunch together at least once a week, and dinner once in a while. She and her husband Pete are terrific people, and I love their kids. They are like a second family to me, and I am so glad to have them in my life. So thank you, Sue, for sharing your best recipes with me, but more, your time and friendship.


Apple Pie Bars, Brownies with and without nuts, assorted cupcakes, petit fours


Congratulations to Pam and Joe!


APPLE PIE BARS

Crust:

3 cups flour
1 1/2 cups butter or margarine (not shortening)
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
7 1/2 tablespoons cold water

Mix flour and butter like pie crust. Mix the egg, egg yolk, lemon juice and water in a separate bowl.  Add liquid to the flour mixture and blend well with a fork ( the mixture will be quite moist, not dry like a pie crust). Roll out half of the dough and place in a jelly roll pan. Roll out the remaining half for the top. (This dough tends to rip easily because it is so rich, but it patches well and doesn't show.)

Filling:

10-14 apples
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 tablespoons flour
3 tablespoons tapioca
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Peel and slice apples like you would for a pie.  Combine dry ingredients and mix with the apples.

Place the apples onto the crust and distribute evenly.  Place the top half of the crust on top of the apples and seal the edges (I usually have the bottom crust hang over the edge of the pan a bit and then fold that up onto the top of the top crust).

Bake at 375 degrees F for 30-35 minutes.

While still a little warm, frost with powdered sugar frosting.  It will be like a heavy glaze.

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Thanks for stopping by! I look forward to bringing you more recipes and stories about my baking, so come back again!



12 comments:

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    1. They are, Teresa! People rave about them!

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  2. Ok ,wonder women...just how do you fit all this in !! You truly amaze me!!. Everything looked perfect !! Apple pie bars are on my to bake list,which by the way, includes,just about anything you post. CKJ

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    1. Thanks Cindy - I don't always have such busy baking days, just once in a while, but I do appreciate your kind words. Wonder Woman I am not, though I could use her super powers on weekends like this! Try the apple pie bars, you'll love them!

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  3. Your cake and dessert table goodies look gorgeous, Jeannie, especially the cake!!! Sue's bars look amazing! She made a beautiful contribution to the dessert table, too!! Sounded like a wonderful day...and I'm sure you're glad your week is over! ;)

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    1. Thanks Carol! It was all worth the work when I saw how it came together. And I am very grateful to Sue for her recipe, and that's why I'm sharing it here. It's a bit of work but worth it. I used a short-cut apple cutter - it's a little contraption from Williams-Sonoma that dices fruits and veggies into large or small pieces. It saves a mountain of time! Just wish it peeled and cored as well, but that's another machine altogether, and one I might just have to get! I also used two types of apples -- Fuji and Gala -- always remembering that the best apple pies are a mixture of a variety of apples. I always bake on parchment paper, too. If I don't have parchment paper, I don't bake! :)

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    2. I have the same gadget...really like it! Save your money on the peeler/corer. I had an expensive one that even had two different size slicing attachments, and donated it to Kelly, hated it!! Prefer peeling and coring by hand...faster with less clean up!

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    3. I have a few of those flexible cutting boards. I love to peel and core on those, very convenient and no mess! I kind of get in the zone peeling apples, too. I try to cut one long ribbon of peel just to see if I can do it!

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  4. these bars look absolutely mouthwatering ! I can't wait to try them !!!! you are amazing !

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    1. Thanks Debbie! Make them, you'll love them!

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  5. They def look delicious and the recipe doesn't seem too daunting. These will be going into my rotation of 'must try' recipes!

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    1. I'm making them again today for a Mother's Day dessert. After all that effort, I think we should see what they taste like! I bet you'll love them, Di!

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