I have to interrupt my Thanksgiving side dish posts (I know you’re upset! 😉 ) to share this indulgent, crowd-pleasing dessert. (A request by my dear friend who plans to make it for her Christmas Eve feast.)
Recently, my kids and their friends performed in a holiday concert at our house. This was our third annual concert! Everyone brings an appetizer and we eat while the kids rehearse. This year, the concert was upgraded to incorporate a microphone and some stand-up comedy. The parents were asked to perform as well. Special and fun. 🙂
Along with the appetizers, I always feel the need to include a dessert (as I love any excuse to bake). These pie bars had caught my eye and were perfect to serve at a large gathering. The recipe was adapted from Cooking for Jeffrey by Ina Garten, via Barefoot Contessa.com. I baked them in a parchment-lined pyrex dish, used pecans instead of walnuts, (predominantly) Fuji apples instead of golden delicious, and topped it with a brown butter glaze inspired by Joy the Baker. Delicious!
Yield: Makes 18 to 24 bars
For the Crust:
- 1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
- ½ cup chopped pecans or walnuts
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
For the Apple Filling:
- 3 pounds mixed apples, peeled, quartered, cored, and sliced 1/8 inch thick (I used predominantly Fuji apples with 1-2 Granny Smith and 1 Red Delicious)
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter
For the Browned Butter Glaze:
- 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 3/4 cups powdered sugar
- milk, as necessary, to achieve desired consistency
- pinch of coarse salt
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, preferably on convection. Line a 9×13-inch pyrex baking pan with parchment paper.
- Make the Crust: Place the butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium speed for 2 to 3 minutes, until light and creamy.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the flour and salt together.
- With the mixer on low, slowly add to the butter-sugar mixture, beating until combined.
- Scatter two-thirds of the dough in clumps in the prepared pan and press it lightly with floured hands on the bottom and 1/2 inch up the sides.
- Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
- Par-Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until the crust is golden brown, and set aside to cool. (While the crust is still warm, I use a spoon to gently push the edge of the crust back up the side.)
- Meanwhile, Make the Topping: Put the mixing bowl with the remaining dough back on the mixer, add the nuts and cinnamon, and mix on low-speed to combine. Set aside.
- Reduce the oven to 350 degrees, preferably on convection.
- Make the Filling: Combine the apples and lemon juice in a very large bowl.
- Add the granulated sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg and mix well.
- Melt the butter in a large (10-inch-diameter) pot, add the apples, and simmer over medium to medium-low heat, stirring often, for 12 to 15 minutes, until the apples are tender and the liquid has mostly evaporated.
- Spread the apples evenly over the crust, leaving a 1/2-inch border.
- Pinch medium pieces of the remaining dough with your fingers and drop them evenly on top of the apples (they will not be covered).
- Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the topping is browned. Cool completely.
- Make the Glaze: In a small pot, melt butter. Continue to cook until browned and fragrant.
- In a small bowl, whisk together browned butter, powdered sugar, a splash of milk, and a pinch of salt. Whisk until smooth. Add milk as needed until drizzling consistency is achieved.
- Spoon into a ziplock bag and cut a tiny tip off one corner of the bag.
- Drizzle glaze over cooled bars before slicing.
- Cut into bars of desired size.
- Store, wrapped individually or covered in plastic wrap in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. (Without the glaze, the bars can be kept at room temperature.)
One Year Ago:
Two Years Ago:
Three Years Ago:
Four Years Ago:
I recently went on a Barefoot Contessa binge on YouTube and remember this one, lol! They look delicious!
Thank you. 🙂 They were such a hit at our get together. Definitely make them!
Just finished going through Cooking for Jeffrey and this caught my eye too. Love your brown butter glaze!
Joy the Baker posted it with the glaze- I think it needed it! So much prettier!
I think your one looks better then Ina’s!!
You are too kind! ❤ Thank you!
These really look good!
Really indulgent and tasty. 🙂 Thank you, Mimi!
Love this. 🍓
Thanks for staying up late to post!😍 If only you had some left over to eat while doing it!…..
True! Wish I had saved you a bigger piece. 🙂
Well, I made this for Christmas Eve as planned, and used walnuts in the topping. I love walnuts, but I think the pecans were better! Or no nuts at all……of course, everyone loved it anyway and there wasn’t any left for my morning coffee! Just wanted to let the food world know my results!
SO happy it was a success for you too. I know that your crowd absolutely LOVED it. 🙂