This post was originally published on September 18, 2018 and was updated on September 16, 2020. Glazed Apple Slices are the perfect dessert for fall. Cinnamon scented apples bake up beautifully in a flaky pie crust that is topped with a simple powdered sugar glaze. It’s fruit-flavored heaven!
These apple squares are the easier, more portable, servable, and sharable cousin of apple pie. With all the classic flavors and components of a pie in a simple square, they’re sure to be your new favorite!
I have been eating apple squares for my entire life. And possibly in the womb. My grandmother has made them for decades and they are a much beloved and sought after dessert in our household. My husband declared these bars so good that “if we weren’t already married these apple slices would have made me propose.” What better review is there than that?
Ingredients you’ll need:
- Apples (duh)
- Pie Crust (learn how to make the perfect one below!)
- Brown Sugar
- All the warming fall spices – cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, cloves
- Lemon Juice
- Corn Starch
- Vanilla Extract
- Egg wash (that’s just 1 egg whisked with 1 tablespoon of water, yo!)
How to make Glazed Apple Squares
- Make the pastry crust. Divide it in two, wrap it in plastic, and chill it.
- Roll out the crusts. Put one on a cutting board and one in the baking pan. Chill 'em again.
- Make the apple filling. Just stir all the ingredients together. So easy!
- Now place the filling in the crust. Then top it with the second crust.
- Seal those edges with a simple finger crimp.
- Brush with egg wash and cut some vents for steam to escape.
- Bake until golden brown. Then let it cool way down.
- Make the powdered sugar glaze. And spread it all over the cooled bars.
Keeping Apples from Turning Brown
This recipe is a bit time intensive, between the making, resting, and chilling of the pie crusts and then the baking and cooling time of the glazed apple slices themselves. I like to divide the process among two days to lighten the load a little bit. On the first day I will make the crusts and prepare the apples for cooking.
Of course, this means that the apples run the risk of turning brown. This happens when cut apples meet oxygen and the fruit begins to oxidize. It is perfectly safe to eat, but not very pretty. Luckily, there’s a trick to avoid brown apple slices! First, peel the apples. Then thinly slice them. Place them in a large bowl with ¼ cup fresh lemon juice and toss to coat. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Voila! No more brown apples!
An apple dessert is only as good as the crust it’s baked in. And boy, is this crust the absolute best! It took me awhile to get the hang of it. Walking the fine line between moisture and manipulation. But! I’ve finally got it! A perfectly flaky pastry crust that makes enough to fit into a jellyroll pan for this recipe. Here’s how to make it:
Perfect Flaky Pie Crust
- Make sure the butter and water are chilled. This is priority numero uno. Put some ice in a measuring cup and top it off with cool water and let it hang out for a while. Cut the butter into large pieces and then place it back in the fridge until ready to use.
- Whisk the dry ingredients. So easy.
- Work in the butter. With your hands! It’s just easiest. And helps avoid in making the pieces of butter too small. We want pieces of butter that are roughly the size of walnut or pecan halves. They will get smaller as we mix and roll the dough so it’s important that they start out larger. I just press the large butter chunk between my thumb and index finger and toss in the dry ingredients to coat.
- Add the water. A little at a time. I used to think that my pie crusts needed more water than they do and it’s because I wasn’t mixing the dough long enough. I was afraid I would over mix and make a tough dough. But guess what? Too much water makes for a tough pie crust! The key is to add 1 TBSP of water and mix for a good bit before adding the next TBSP. The dough will start to come together. As it does, focus on adding more water to the dry parts of the dough that haven’t yet incorporated.
- Divide the dough. Once the dough holds together well, divide it in two and wrap in plastic wrap. I always sprinkle my dough with a few drops of water before wrapping to ensure a well-hydrated dough.
- Chill the dough. For at least one hour. Or overnight. This allows the gluten to relax and the entire crust to be properly hydrated.
Recipe tips and tricks:
- If chilling the dough overnight, remove from the fridge 30 minutes prior to rolling. This allows the crust time to warm up a bit (without melting the butter!) and will prevent it from cracking under the pressure of your rolling pin.
- When mixing pie crust, I will often get a dough ball that’s about 75% of the total ingredients to hold together and have some dry stragglers left behind. To avoid over-saturating the entire dough, I remove the larger portion and sprinkle a few teaspoons of water onto the leftover dry bits. When the water is worked into the dry bits and brings it together, I combine it with the larger dough ball to form one singular crust.
- Check out this post for an in-depth guide to making powdered sugar glazes!
Glazed Apple Slices
- 12x9 inch Jellyroll Pan
- Rolling Pin
- Pastry Brush
For the crusts:
- 4 cups flour
- 2 TBSP sugar
- 2 tsp. Kosher salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter cut into large cubes and chilled
- 1/2 cup ice water
For the apple filling:
- 2 pounds baking apples such as Granny Smith, peeled and sliced thin
- 1 TBSP lemon juice
- 3 TBSP corn starch
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp. allspice
- Pinch of cloves
- 1/2 tsp. of salt
- 1 tsp. Vanilla extract
- 1 egg whisked with 1 TBSP water
For the glaze:
- 2 cups powdered sugar sifted
- 2 TBSP whole milk
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
For the crusts:
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt. Using your hands, press the butter into the dry mixture. Do this by pushing each large piece of butter in between your thumb and index finger. This will sort of flatten out the butter pieces and break them up. The butter pieces should be the size of walnut or pecan halves.
- Working slowly, add the ice water to the dry mixture, one tablespoon at a time, mixing well after each addition (about 1 minute). Dough should just barely stick together when pressed together firmly with both hands (you will not use all of the water, this is ok!).
- Divide dough in half, pat into a round disk or small square, sprinkle with a few drops of water, and wrap tightly in plastic. Chill in fridge for at least 1 hour, if not longer, preferably overnight.
- When ready to roll out, lightly dust work surface and rolling pin with flour. Roll one batch of dough into a rectangle that is 1 inch larger on all sides than your jellyroll pan. Place the first batch of rolled dough in the pan and prick with a fork. Place in fridge to chill.
- Roll out the second crust to another rectangle of the same size and place on cookie sheet or cutting board lined with parchment. Place in fridge to stay cool while you prepare the filling.
For the filling:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a large bowl pour the lemon juice over the sliced apples and toss to coat. Do the same with the corn starch.
- Add the brown sugar, spices, salt, and vanilla extract to the bowl. Tossing to coat.
- Pour the filling into the prepared crust in the jellyroll pan and top with the other crust. Fold top crust over the bottom and pinch to seal, crimping with fingertips. Brush crust with egg wash and slice slits in the top to release steam.
- Bake in preheated oven 40 - 45 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and apples are tender.
- Remove from oven and cool on wire rack for at least one hour.
For the glaze:
- When slices are nearly cool, whisk together the 2 cups powdered sugar, 2 TBSP milk, and 2 tsp. vanilla extract until smooth. Spread glaze over cooled apple slices. Slice into 12 equal squares and serve.
- If preparing the crust a day in advance: remove from refrigerator 30 minutes prior to rolling out. This will help prevent the crust from cracking at the edges when rolling.
- If preparing the apples a day in advance: toss with ¼ cup lemon juice and omit the 1 TBSP lemon juice from the original recipe the following day. Proceed with remaining recipe as written.
- I learned my pie crust method from the Pie Whisperer herself, Erin McDowell. I cannot recommend her book, The Fearless Baker, enough!