Apple Shortcake

A famed New Zealand favorite, apple shortcake is a nostalgic baked good from Down Under. Kiwi baking blogger Erin Clarkson claims that almost every grandmother in the country has a recipe for it tucked in their recipe book. Encased in a cakey pastry crust are sugared and cinnamon-spiced apple slices, creating something like a pie-cake hybrid you won’t soon forget. Find more delicious fall apple recipes in our September/October 2020 issue!

Apple Shortcake
Makes 9 bars
  • 4 cups (500 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (200 grams) plus 3 tablespoons (36 grams) granulated sugar, divided, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1¾ teaspoons (8.75 grams) baking powder
  • 1¼ teaspoons (3.75 grams) plus ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1 cup (227 grams) cold unsalted butter, cubed
  • 3 large eggs (150 grams), divided and lightly beaten
  • ¾ teaspoon (3 grams) almond extract
  • ½ teaspoon (2 grams) vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons (6 grams) cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon (2 grams) ground cinnamon
  • 3 cups (330 grams) ¼-inch-thick wedges peeled Golden Delicious apples
  • 2 cups (220 grams) ¼-inch-thick wedges peeled Granny Smith apples
  • 2 teaspoons (10 grams) fresh lemon juice
  • Garnish: confectioners’ sugar
  1. In the work bowl of a food processor, place flour, 1 cup (200 grams) sugar, baking powder, and 1¼ teaspoons (3.75 grams) salt; pulse until combined. Add cold butter, and pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add 2 eggs (100 grams) and extracts; pulse just until dough comes together, stopping to scrape sides of bowl. (Mixture should be moist but not sticky and hold together when pinched.) Turn out dough, and divide in half; shape each portion into a 6-inch square. Wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 25 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Spray a 9-inch square baking pan with cooking spray; line pan with parchment paper, letting excess extend over sides of pan.
  3. Let dough stand at room temperature until softened, 10 to 15 minutes. On a lightly floured surface, roll 1 portion into a 13-inch square; place prepared pan in center of dough square. Using pan as a guide, cut out a 9-inch square, and transfer to prepared pan, pressing across bottom. (It’s OK if dough tears while transferring; gently move to pan, and press together). Cut remaining rolled dough into 4 pieces; gently transfer to prepared pan, pressing all the way up sides and using excess dough to seal any seams with bottom.
  4. In a medium bowl, stir together cornstarch, cinnamon, remaining 3 tablespoons (36 grams) sugar, and remaining ⅛ teaspoon salt. Add apples and lemon juice; stir until well combined. Spread apples evenly on dough in pan.
  5. On a lightly floured surface, roll remaining dough portion into a 9½-inch square; carefully place dough on top of apple mixture, pressing overlapping dough edges to seal. Trim dough edges level with apples, smoothing and sealing edges as needed. Brush top with remaining 1 egg (50 grams). Using the tines of a fork, prick dough several times to vent; sprinkle with sugar.
  6. Bake until crust is golden brown and firm and a wooden pick inserted in center easily pierces apple layer, 50 minutes to 1 hour, rotating pan halfway through baking and loosely covering with foil to prevent excess browning, if necessary. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes. Using excess parchment as handles, carefully remove from pan, and let cool completely on a wire rack. Dust with confectioners’ sugar, if desired.
PRO TIPS: Shortcake dough can be made 1 day ahead, wrapped, and refrigerated. When ready to use, let stand at room temperature until slightly softened, 15 to 20 minutes.

Add a bit of finishing sparkle by sprinkling white sparkling sugar or sanding sugar on egg-washed, docked dough.



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