Grandma's Apple Shortcake
My grandmother was a very large lady who loved her desserts, and we loved going over to her house to try them out. One of her favourites—and ours—was her apple shortcake. It takes a little work to make the shortcake, but it's well worth the effort. Try this vintage recipe from 1930!
- 12 fresh apples
- 4 ounces butter
- 1/3 cup castor sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 cup self-raising flour
- 1 cup plain flour
- Cinnamon powder
- 2 passionfruits (optional)
- Baking paper
- Rolling pin
- Large aluminium cake tin
Step 1: Make the Dough
- On a chopping board, cut the 4 ounces (50 grams) of butter into half-inch cubes. I prefer to use cold butter.
- Put the cubes into your mixing bowl.
- Pour in the 1/3rd cup of castor sugar.
- Now, add an egg and beat again until the mixture is very creamy.
- Add a cup of self-raising flour and a cup of ordinary flour and mix.
- With an electric beater, beat the sugar and butter cubes together until the butter is creamed. That just means the butter is a lot softer and now the mixture has turned into crumbs as in the photo above.
Step 2: Roll Out the Dough
- Tear two pieces of baking paper off a roll about 2 feet long.
- Cut the shortcake mixture in half so that you have enough for the top and bottom.
- Get a tablespoon and put two to three spoons of the mix in the centre of the paper and put the other sheet on top.
- With a rolling pin roll the mix until it's as thin as it can practically be: about 1/8th inch (3mm). This is a taste preference. I just don't like too much shortcake, but you may. If that's the case then increase the recipe accordingly. For example, for 1/4 inch (5mm), double the ingredients.
Step 3: Press the Dough Into the Pan
- Once rolled thinly, gently pull the top piece of baking paper off. You'll find it difficult to release the shortcake mix into the bottom of your aluminium pan. I turn it completely upside down and start releasing the paper on each corner. A small knife can be handy to assist you with this too.
- Repeat making these small pieces of mixture. Each time you get a new one, join it up with your fingers by pressing and prodding the pieces together until you've completely covered the bottom of the pan.
- After the bottom is covered, do the sides as well.
Step 4: Prepare the Apples
- With a peeler and making sure to watch where your fingers are, completely peel the skin off each apple.
- Cut slices off your apple until you reach the core. Over to you, I prefer larger chunks, but it works just as well cutting them up finer. Watch more carefully when you reach the core. I'm really careful about this, having experienced either biting into a pip in someone else's apple pie or the nasty-tasting shell that the pips sit in.
- Now layer your slices on top of your first layer of shortcake. In an 18" pan, which is the one in the photos, 12 apples will give you two good layers. If you've got a 12" pan, well go for three layers.
Step 5: Lay the Top Layer and Bake
- Now make your top by repeating how you made the bottom layer. While you're doing that, heat your oven to 350° F (180°C) and put your shortcake in the middle of the oven for 35-40 minutes.
- Stand for 10 minutes before serving.
- Serve with lots of fresh cream. Eat slowly if you can!