Deep-Dish Apple Bars with Zestar! and Rambour Franc

Honey Apple Bars (Russell Steven Powell photo)
Deep-Dish Apple Bars (Russell Steven Powell)
Zestar! apple (Bar Lois Weeks photo)
Zestar! apple (Bar Lois Weeks)

APPLE BARS make a great dessert or snack, although they come in many forms. They can be light or heavy, cake-like or resembling a shallower version of deep-dish apple pie. As long as they are made using fresh New England apples, all types are delicious, with plenty of rich, apple flavor.

Here’s an outstanding one that is a bit of a misnomer. While there is a top and bottom crust and the apples hold their shape, the filling is so thick that the “bars” look and taste a lot like apple pie. Deep-Dish Apple Bars are better suited for a plate and fork than being held in one’s hand. But they are so good, we’ll forgive the misleading name. They contain more apples than a pie, so with luck they may last a little longer.

For apples, we paired a sweet early-season variety, Zestar!, with a tart heirloom, Rambour Franc. It was a good match, but any variety or combination would be just fine.

Rambour Franc apple (Bar Lois Weeks photo)
Rambour Franc apple (Bar Lois Weeks)

Rambour Franc is one of the oldest known apples, first grown in the village of Rembures, France, around 1530. It was first cited growing in America in 1665. Also known as Summer Rambo, Rambour Franc is a large, yellow-green apple with pink to red striping. Its yellow-green flesh is moderately crisp and juicy, and it has a balanced, sweet-tart flavor.

While hard to find, this early season heirloom is good for both fresh eating and cooking, particularly in pies, which make it an especially good choice for Deep-Dish Apple Bars.

The recipe was adapted from Danish Pastry Apple Bars at We made it healthier by adding some whole wheat flour, upping the spices, and substituting local honey for brown sugar. As always, keep the peels on for added nutrition, flavor, and color.

 Deep-Dish Apple Bars

Honey Apple Bars (Russell Steven Powell photo)
Deep-Dish Apple Bars (Russell Steven Powell)

1½ c flour

1 c whole wheat flour

1 t salt

1 c butter (or substitute half applesauce)

1 egg yolk

½ c milk

10 apples, cored and thinly sliced

⅓ c honey

¼ c sugar

1½ t cinnamon

½ t nutmeg

1 egg white

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a large bowl, combine flour and salt. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse, pea-sized crumbs. Beat egg yolk in measuring cup and stir in milk. Pour liquid into flour mixture and blend with wooden spoon, then floured hands until it forms a dough. Divide in half.

On floured surface, roll half the dough into a rectangle and fit into a 9×13 baking dish.

In a large bowl, combine apples, honey, sugar, and spices. Pour apple mixture into baking dish.

Roll out remaining dough and place over apples. Seal edges and cut several slits on top. Beat egg white until frothy and brush on crust.

Bake for one hour, or until apples are soft and crust is golden brown.

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