This is going to be longer and gushier than most of my posts, but frankly, it’s hard to encompass a legend of a woman with just a few choice words.
See, I come from a long line of strong Texas women; all of whom have left or are leaving a significant mark in their worlds.
My Mom: She listened to me gush about boys and stress about tests. And now she lets me vent about my kids and she encourages me in my marriage and my endeavors. She’s been a web designer at Texas A&M, an author, a decorator; and now she’s taking the real estate market by storm. She goes after what she wants with grace and imminent success.
My Mimi: She’s owned dress and make-up shops for as far back as I can remember. And it always suited her perfectly, because what she does best is make other people feel good about themselves. She’s always been my biggest cheerleader and encourager.
My Great Granny Vera, and to whom I attribute this post and much of our strength: She was the Annie Oakley of Rockdale, Texas. I remember feeding catfish on her farm and helping her in the garden; bent over, one hand pulling weeds and the other holding her nightgown up far enough to not drag in the dirt. She had story after story of pulling her gun on salesman who wouldn’t leave, killing snakes on the back porch, starting business, dealing with unruly renters, even getting shot in the hind-end with a shotgun. She was fearless. She would sell you the shirt off her back if she’d make a dime. She sometimes cussed like a sailor. But was always respectful and well-respected in return. Rumor has it she was even the first woman in town to wear pants instead of a skirt.
In one of her many endeavors, and perhaps the one she’s still most known for, she opened Singer’s Grill in 1947. It was during its 28 years of operation that Apple Squares were born.
Apple squares; this beautiful concoction where apple pie meets cake. Two layers of flaky crust sandwiching apple pie filling, topped with a thin layer of creamy icing and pecans.
Singers Grill burned to the ground in 1975, and Granny went home to Jesus in 2005, but her Apple Squares live on. There’s not a holiday where one of us doesn’t bring them to dinner. And while my kids weren’t fortunate enough to know Granny Vera, it warms my heart that they love her recipe and carry the same strength and stubbornness she did.
I sincerely hope your family loves them as much as ours does. So from The Singer’s Grill and our table to yours…Granny’ Apple Squares.
For the crust:
- 4 store-bought refrigerated, rolled pie crusts
*There’s no shame in using these. Granny did! I just recently started making my own crust because we tend to like a flakier, less sweet crust.
- 5 cups flour
- 2 cups Crisco
- 1 cup milk
- Dash of salt
For the filling and icing:
- 4 cans apple pie filling
- 1 Tbs cinnamon
- 2 Tbs sugar
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 c. + 1/2 c. butter
- 4 c. powdered sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 4-5 Tbs milk
- 1/2 c. chopped pecans
1. Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray. Mine is about 12×17, but just use what you have.
2. Cut your Crisco into the flour and salt.
3. Add milk until mixed well and no longer sticky.
4. Divide into 2 equal balls.
5. Roll out one of your dough balls (or 2 of the refrigerator crusts) until it mostly covers the cookie sheet.
You can cut the overhanging edges to fill in the gaps so that you have a solid bottom. No one will see it, so it doesn’t have to be perfect, just even (ish).
6. Spread all 4 cans of apple pie filling on top of the bottom crust.
7. Sprinkle with cinnamon, sugar and nutmeg.
8. Cut your first 1/4 cup of butter into 15 thin pallets and place evenly over the apples.
9. Roll out your remaining dough ball (or remaining 2 refrigerator crusts) the same as the first. And place over top. It doesn’t have to be pretty either. Poke it with a fork sparatically for vent holes.
10. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-60 minutes; or until the top is lightly browned.
11. While it cools, mix your remaining butter, powdered sugar, milk and vanilla until creamy.
I’ll go ahead and confess this is my favorite part. I’m definitely not that girl at the party that asks for a measly inside piece. Bring on the icing 🙂
12. After the apple squares are mostly cooled (about 30 minutes), *carefully* spread the icing on top. It’s a thin layer, so the little bit of heat makes it spread easier, but it can also make the crust flake off.
13. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup of chopped pecans.
14. Cut into good sized squares…because this group of Texas women doesn’t skimp on dessert; especially this one. In fact, we usually eat it first.