Let's talk about apple pie filling for a minute. The apple pie filling you can buy at the store is probably the worst thing invented. It always looks so good and appealing, and then I finally break down and eat a piece of "fake" apple pie and I have yet to not be disappointed. I guess I have just been spoiled, but my mom has always made her own apple pie filling. There really is no comparison. Literally my mouth is watering just thinking of her apple pie filling! You MUST make this filling whether you are making these bars or a homemade apple pie! It is to die for!
We made these for dinner last night for all of the students. I couldn't decide what kind I wanted to do, so I figured we should just make both!! Which was probably a good idea because if we had made only apple I think our hands would have fallen off from peeling, coring, and slicing that many apples!
I thought they would take us hours to make, but really they didn't take nearly as long as I had anticipated. I also was worried about what I was getting myself into because I have only made a couple of homemade pies in my day, and I would not say I am an expert at making them whatsoever. Also, I have never even made this recipe!! I grew up eating them and watching my mom make them, but this was my first experience doing it myself. Maybe I should have made them on a little smaller scale, but hey - go big or go home!!
This dough recipe is really excellent! We added 3/4 cup of whole wheat flour, and 1 3/4 cups of all-purpose flour so that they were a little on the healthier side, but the dough was still a little sticky. DON'T get crazy and start adding too much flour!!! I just floured my board and then rolled the dough in the flour a little until it was the consistency of a pastry dough. But if you add too much flour it won't roll out very easily and it won't be very flaky. When I started rolling out my dough I still thought it might be a little too sticky, but it was perfect!! So again, don't start adding flour like crazy!
from Marla Sperry (my mom!!)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (I did 1 3/4 cup all-purpose, 3/4 cup whole wheat)
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 c. shortening (I used butter. Shortening freaks me out..)
2/3 cup milk
1 can cherry pie filling (if making cherry bars)
apple pie filling (if making apple bars - recipe below)
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray. In a large bowl combine flour, sugar and salt. Cut in the shortening.
Do not worry if there are still little lumps, because those are actually what will make the crust nice and flaky. This is the part where you will get your hands dirty. I think using your hands is much easier and more effective than a wooden spoon. Add your egg and milk to the flour mixture and start mixing in with your hands. Only mix until the flour is mixed with the egg and milk, but DO NOT over mix! You may think that the dough is a little sticky, but that's ok. When you flour your board to roll out the dough you can mix a little more flour into your dough, but don't add too much. You still want it a slight sticky consistency.
Divide your dough in 1/2 and roll out on a floured board in the shape of your cookie sheet. Transfer your dough to the cookie sheet. Spread your cherry/apple pie filling over the dough, leaving about 1/2 inch around the edges.
Roll out the second half of your dough to the same size and place on top of your filling. Cut off the excess around the edges and pinch the top and bottom dough to make a seal. Brush on some egg wash and cut a few slits in the top of your crust.
Bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes. If you would like, make a glaze for the top while still warm! YUMMY!
Now, the apple filling recipe! Oh man, this stuff is amazing!
Apple Pie/Bar Filling
from Marla Sperry (my mom!!)
6-8 tart apples (I used Granny Smith)
3/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. flour
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
a dash of nutmeg
Peel and core your apples, then slice the apples very thinly and put in a large bowl. Add your sugar, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg. Mix until the apples start releasing their juices. That's it!!!
I can eat these plain! They are that amazing! Add them as a filling for these bars just like the cherries, and they take the same baking time!
So what are you waiting for?? Go make some apple and cherry bars!!!