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Here’s something new and tasty to do with all those apples you picked at the orchard. This treat tastes remarkably like an apple Danish; but unlike a Danish, it’s easy to make.
1/2 cup (4 ounces) lukewarm milk
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons instant yeast
4 cups (17 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks, 8 ounces) unsalted butter
3/4 cup (5 1/4 ounces) granulated sugar
1/4 cup (1 ounce) cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
8 cups (about 3 pounds before peeling) apples, peeled, cored, and very thinly sliced
1 cup (4 ounces) confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) milk or cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the dough: Beat the eggs and milk together, and set aside. Combine the yeast, flour, and salt in a medium bowl, and cut in the butter with a pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the egg/milk mixture, stirring until a soft dough forms. Divide the dough in half and chill for about 30 minutes.
Lightly grease a half-sheet pan (13" x 18"). On a piece of parchment paper, or on a lightly floured surface, roll half the dough into a 12" x 17" rectangle; the dough will be quite thin. Transfer the dough to the prepared pan. If you used parchment, this is easily done by flipping it over into the pan and gently peeling the parchment off, then smoothing the dough where it needs it. If you didn’t use parchment, transfer the dough by rolling it onto the rolling pin, then lifting the pin above the pan, centering it and unrolling the dough. Smooth out the corners. You may find a giant spatula helpful to transfer the dough.
For the filling: Whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, salt, and cinnamon. Spread the apples over the dough, and sprinkle with the sugar mixture. Roll out the remaining dough and place it over the apples. Pinch the edges together. Cut steam vents in the top. Cover with greased plastic wrap or a proof cover, and let rise in a cool place for about 1 hour. After 30 minutes, preheat the oven to 350°F.
Bake the pastry for 25 to 30 minutes, until it’s golden brown. Remove it from the oven and cool on a rack for 20 minutes.
For the glaze: Mix the sugar, milk, and vanilla until smooth. Drizzle it over the bars. Cool completely. Cut into 3 ½" squares if you want to serve it as dessert (topped with ice cream, of course!), or 2" x 3" bars. Refrigerate any leftovers.
Yield: 3 dozen bars.
Variation: For added color and flavor, spread a layer of dried cranberries atop the apples before adding the top crust.