How to make delicious Apple Shortcake Squares
This recipe for Apple Shortcake Squares is my take on the apple slices which are on sale in many Irish bakeries. In essence, these are made with apples sandwiched between two layers of pastry and dredged with caster sugar. My version uses self-raising rather than plain flour which creates a pastry with a more shortcake-like consistency but without being spongy like a cake. These are hugely popular and always go down a treat.
These pastries can be eaten cold as something tasty to nibble on with a cuppa or can be warmed slightly and served with vanilla ice-cream or freshly whipped cream as a dessert.
They keep well for 3-4 days stored in an air tight tin.
– Apple filling:
5-6 large Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and chopped into 1cm cubes
– 25g caster sugar
– 25ml water
– 240g self-raising flour
– 125g butter, cubed
– 15g icing sugar
– 1 large egg, lightly beaten
– 30ml cold water
– 25g caster sugar for dredging
1. Place the apples, sugar and water into a medium sized saucepan over a moderate heat. Bring up to simmering point and allow to cook for 8-20 minutes until the apples have softened but not broken down. Remove from the heat, set aside and allow to cool completely.
2. Preheat oven to 180C/Fan oven 160C/Gas Mark 4. Line a 30cmx20cm traybake tin with non-stick baking parchment and set aside.
3. Place the flour into a large mixing bowl and add the cubed butter. Rub the butter into the flour using the tips of your fingers until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in the icing sugar. Make a well in the centre and add the egg and water and mix together using a fork until everything comes together.
4. Divide the dough in half. Press one half of the dough into the bottom of the prepared tin, flattening it out with your fingers or the back of a spoon to create a level surface. Spoon the COOLED apple mixture onto the pastry into the tin, spreading it out evenly.
5. Roll out the other half of the dough between two sheets of floured non-stick baking parchment into a rectangle the same size as the tin (30cm x 20cm). Remove the top sheet of baking parchment and lifting the rolled-out pastry on the other layer of baking parchment flip it over to cover the apple filling. Tuck in the edges of the pastry, so that they are flush with the sides of the tin, making sure that the apple is covered.
6. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30minutes until light golden brown. Remove from the oven and dredge with the caster sugar. Set aside to cool before cutting into 12 even squares.
I’m simply someone who loves cooking and experimenting with food and different ingredients. From my early childhood spent in Zambia and Australia before returning home to Ireland I was fascinated with cookbooks and reading recipes. I would spend many hours reading my grandmother’s cookbooks and watching her preparing food in the kitchen.
Although I studied to become a graphic designer and spent a few years working in advertising before then becoming a civil servant, the one thing I always wanted to be was a food writer – sharing my enthusiasm for cooking with others, but I lacked the confidence to do the thing I wanted to do most in case I failed. I finally decided to take a risk and applied for MasterChef Ireland 2014 and was one of the three finalists.
For me, food and cooking is about family, friendship, sharing and conviviality. As a mother of three, I want my children to grow up with a love and appreciation of how lucky we are to live in a country like Ireland with such great produce and so many wonderful food producers. I continue to write and share my enthusiasm for food on my food and recipe blog The game bird Food Chronicles at http://thegamebird.blogspot.ie/