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Kitchen Mailbox: Patch Cake a forgiving recipe in many variations

Thursday, December 09, 1999

By Arlene Burnett, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

If you're looking for a quick but delicious dessert for the holidays, Kitchen Mailbox might be able to help. Patch Cake (or London Tea Cake) and Apple Squares are delicious, and they make an eye-catching appearance. The procedure for making this dough is a bonus:When the dough falls apart -- you patch it.

All the recipes below are slightly similar but different enough to make each recipe interesting. The first recipe is made with canned pie filling. The dough is made with sour cream. This recipe has a more cake-like consistency than the other recipes.

The next recipe, Apple Squares, is a giant apple pie. The crust is flaky, and the filling is juicy and we loved it.

The last recipe, Apple Bars, has just a bottom crust with a final topping of crumbled dough. Try sprinkling 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts over all before baking.

Elaine Balint of Bridgeville requested a recipe for Patch Cake or Apple Squares. Our first recipe was sent in by Dotty Lauth of Oakwood.

London Tea Cake

4 cups flour
1 cup sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
Melted butter, about 1/4 cup
1 cup shortening
3 eggs, beaten
1 cup sour cream
2 cans pie filling (your choice, we used cherry)
Sugar or brown sugar

Lightly grease a jelly roll pan (15-by-10-by-1-inches), set aside.

Mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl. Blend in shortening. Gradually add the beaten eggs, then the sour cream, mixing well to form a dough. Divide in half.

Press half into the jelly roll pan. (Dust your hands with a little flour if dough is too sticky or add a little milk if it is too dry.) Spread the pie filling over this. Roll out the remaining dough and cover all the filling with it. This is not like pie crust; you have to piece it together. (It doesn't look perfect or smooth like a pie.)

With a pastry brush, spread a little melted butter over the top and sprinkle with granulated or brown sugar. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 40 minutes.

Here's another variation from Grace Ochap of McKeesport.

Apple Squares or Patch Cake

1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups shortening
4 cups flour
4 egg yolks
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 cup cold water

Mix first four ingredients.

In another bowl, mix egg yolks, lemon juice and water. Add to the flour mixture. Work dough lightly, then cut in two pieces.

On a floured surface, roll 1 piece of dough, and place in a lightly greased jelly roll pan on the bottom and up the sides (dough will break apart as you do this; simply patch dough together in the pan as you go along). Set aside and make filling.

12 large apples, peeled, cored and shred-ded (we used a combination of Granny Smith, Golden Delicious -- any cooking apples will do)
2 tablespoons cinnamon
4 tablespoons flour
1 to 2 cups sugar or for sugar-free 5 to 6 packets of sugar substitute (we used 1 cup granulated sugar)

Combine all filling ingredients -- spread evenly in prepared pan. Roll remaining dough, patching the dough together as it breaks apart.

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until the edges are light golden brown. Make the glaze.

Glaze (optional):
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon milk
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Combine all ingredients, mix well. Pour over hot cake.

Virginia E. Mader of West Homestead sends her version of Patch Cake.

Apple Bars

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter or margarine
2 beaten egg yolks

4 medium apples or 4 cups, pared, cored and sliced
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 slightly beaten egg white

Combine 2 cups of flour, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder and salt. Add margarine or butter, mix until dough becomes the size of peas, stir in the egg yolks. Divide the dough in half.

Press one half over bottom of a jelly roll pan.

Combine apples, remainder of sugar ( 3/4 cup), flour and cinnamon. Arrange apples over bottom crust.

Crumble remaining dough over all. Brush with egg white. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 40 minutes. Cool. Drizzle with powdered sugar icing, if desired. Cut into bars.

If you want to answer a recipe request from a reader or are looking for a recipe yourself, please write to Kitchen Mailbox, c/o Arlene Burnett, 34 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh 15222, or e-mail to aburnett@post-gazette.com. Please include a name, neighborhood and a daytime phone number on all correspondence. All recipes are kitchen-tested by the Post-Gazette.

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