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Recipe for custardy apple squares

Food styling/Sheryl Julian and Valerie Ryan; photo by Lane Turner/Globe Staff/Globe Staff

Makes one 8-inch square cake

Dorie Greenspan calls this a “back-pocket recipe,” by which she means she can make it when she needs something quick and wonderful. The batter is essentially a crepe batter, which turns custardlike in the oven.

Butter (for the pan)
3medium juicy sweet apples (such as Gala or Fuji)
½cup flour
1teaspoon baking powder
cup granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
2teaspoons vanilla extract
6tablespoons whole milk
2tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cool but still liquid
Confectioners' sugar (for sprinkling)

1. Set the oven at 400 degrees. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.

2. Peel the apples and, using a mandoline, slice them thinly, turning the fruit when you reach the core. The slices should be quite thin but not so thin that they’re transparent or fragile. Discard the cores.

3. In a bowl, whisk the flour and baking powder to blend them.


4. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, granulated sugar, and salt for 2 minutes or until the sugar dissolves and the eggs are pale. Whisk in the vanilla, then the milk and melted butter. Add the flour and whisk until the batter is smooth. With a rubber spatula, gently fold in the apples until each slice is coated with batter.

5. Scrape the batter into the pan and smooth the top as evenly as you can. It will still be bumpy.

6. Bake the cake for 40 to 50 minutes or until it is golden and uniformly puffed. The middle of the cake will have risen and a skewer inserted into the center will come out clean. Transfer to a rack to cool. Cut into squares and dust with confectioners’ sugar.

Adapted from “Baking Chez Moi”

Related coverage:

- From Dorie Greenspan’s Paris kitchen to mine

- Recipe for fruit and nut croquants