The best part of this is the crispy, crunchy top. Way better than a traditional pie crust that has to be made separately. Or maybe it’s the way the layer hides gooey caramelized “cake” beneath studded with lots of juicy apple chunks. There certainly isn’t a bottom crust. Who needs it?
I think the magazine I found this in originally called it “Apple Nut Crunch” – but I often don’t put in nuts. I sometimes called it “apple crunch cake,” but then I put in so many apples it sometimes barely seems like cake. It’s more cohesive than an apple cobbler, less formal than a pie. Whatever you call it, it’s delicious.
The secret to the odd texture contrast is in the egg-sugar batter. It’s almost like making a meringue – there’s no fat in the recipe except for the egg yolks, and less flour than sugar.
I usually quadruple the recipe and put it in a large pan so I get pretty thin bars, but if you doubled it and put it in a smaller pan you’d get something more like a traditional cake. Peeling the apples isn’t absolutely required, but does make for a softer filling. It’s the only thing that makes it take much longer to do a larger batch, of course, since the rest is pretty basic stir and stick in the oven.
Apple Pie Bars
- 1 egg
- ¾ c. sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/3 c. flour
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1/8 tsp. cinnamon
- 1-2 apples, peeled and chopped
- ½ c. chopped nuts, optional