Apple Ginger Pie Bars

Best Pie Bakeoff 2008 Entry #17

Recipe: Vanessa's Apple Ginger Pie Bars Category: Original

Pie as a cookie? Why yes, that's what Vanessa does here, and it looks great. What does pie in cookie form look like? Read on for Vanessa's recipe and story.

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Where is this recipe from? This recipe is based on the recipe for Dutch Apple Pie Bars from one of my favorite cookbooks, The King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion. I've adjusted the dough and the flavors in the filling, but the inspiration is all theirs.

Why is this the BEST pie recipe you've got? I've always fancied myself more of a cookie baker but have recently started trying my hand at tarts and pies. This recipe is the best of both worlds: a pie that functions like a cookie. No fork or spoon required to eat a big, spicy piece of it, but a little whipped cream or ice cream on the side wouldn't hurt.

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Apple Ginger Pie Bars

Crust:
1 1/2 cups (6 1/4 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/2 cup (1 stick, 4 ounces) unsalted butter, cold and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/4 cup ice water

Filling:
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) sugar (up to 1/4 cup more if apples are very tart or according to taste)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/16 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspooon table salt
3/4 teaspoon gingerroot, freshly grated
2 tablespoons candied ginger, finely minced
6 cups apples, peeled, cored, and diced into 1/2" cubes (use firmer, tarter apples like Granny Smith; Honey Crisp also works well; or use a combination of apple varieties)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup heavy or light cream or milk

Crumble Topping:
1 1/2 cups (6 1/4 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup (5 1/4 ounces) granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 cup (1 stick, 4 ounces) unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

To make the crust, whisk the flour and salt together. Using a pastry blender, fork, or fingertips, cut the butter into the flour until the mixture is coarse and crumbly with a few pea-sized bits of butter left. Add in 2 tablespoons of the ice water and toss lightly to combine. Continue adding in water a tablespoon at a time until the dough just starts to hold together. Take care not to add too much water. With a quick hand, gather dough and bits of dough and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate dough for about 30 minutes (at least; longer is okay).

Preheat oven to 425F degrees. Line a 9"x13" or quarter sheet pan with a sheet of parchment that hangs over the long sides of the pan.

Roll out dough to a rectangle large enough to fit the bottom of the pan. Bake for 10-13 minutes, until dough feels like it's firming up.

In the mean time, in a large bowl, toss together the apples and dry ingredients for the topping. Add in the vanilla and cream, and coat the apples evenly.

In a separate bowl, mix the ingredients for the topping until the mix resembles wet sand.

Spread the apple filling over the prepared crust. Evenly distribute the topping over the apples.

Bake for fifteen minutes at 425F degrees, then reduce heat to 350F degrees and bake for another 30-35 minutes until the topping is crumbly and filling begins to bubble.

Remove the pan and allow to cool on a rack until room temperature before cutting.

Yields approximately 24 bars about 2"x2" each. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days. Allow to come to room temperature or warm in a microwave for a few seconds at time.

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(Images: Vanessa)

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