yields: 24 bars
You will need one 9” x 13” x 2” heavy duty baking pan
For the crust-
1¾ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup stone ground yellow cornmeal
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup dark brown sugar
zest from 1 small lemon
8 oz. (2 sticks) cold, unsalted butter cut into ½” pieces
1 large egg, beaten with a fork
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade attachment, place the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, brown sugar and lemon zest. Pulse a few times to combine. Add the cold butter, pulse just until you have coarse crumbs. Do not over process. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the egg and pulse just until combined. Turn the dough out onto a sheet of plastic wrap. (Save this wrap to smooth the dough.)
Generously butter and lightly flour the baking pan. Tap out the excess flour. Place the crust mixture evenly in the bottom of the pan. (I use a large ice cream/cookie scoop and place even amounts in the pan then use my fingers to pat the dough in place. Use the sheet of plastic wrap you saved to smooth the dough, making sure it reaches into the corners of the pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 18 minutes, until the crust is golden around the edges. Set aside to cool while you prepare the crumb topping and the filling. Turn the oven off for a while.
For the filling-
3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, sliced ¼” thick
3 Rome or Honeycrisp apples, peeled, cored, sliced ¼” thick
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
⅓ cup dark brown sugar
pinch of kosher salt
¼-½ teaspoon of cinnamon (I prefer lesser amount)
generous pinch freshly grated nutmeg
In a large sauté pan or skillet, place the apples, lemon juice, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Cover the apples and cook over medium heat for about 3 minutes, until they give up some of their juices. Remove the cover and cook the apples for about 8-10 minutes, until slightly softened and the liquid has cooked down. Remove from the heat and turn the apples out on to a clean half sheet pan, spreading them out in a single layer. Let them cool completely. Prepare the crumble topping.
For the crumble topping-
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup cornmeal
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
¼ cup dark brown sugar
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
4 oz. (1 stick) cold, unsalted butter, cut into ½” pieces
1 cup pecans, halves and pieces, toasted and cooled
In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment, place the flour, cornmeal, granulated and brown sugar, salt and cinnamon. Pulse a few times to combine. Add the cold butter, pulsing until the mixture forms coarse crumbs. Add the pecans, pulse a few times then place the mixture in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spread the cooked, cooled apples over the crust. Sprinkle the crumble topping over the apples and press it in gently. Place the baking pan on the middle shelf of the preheated oven. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the crumble is golden and the apples test tender with a small knife. Let the bars cool, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. (They are easier to slice when cold but I prefer to serve them at room temperature.) Slice the bars, dividing the tray in fourths going the short way and into sixths going the long way. That will give you 24 bars with a few edges for nibbling. Any leftovers should be placed in a tin, separated by parchment or wax paper, covered and refrigerated. They can be refrigerated for up to 5 days.