Naomi Lewin's Apple Schalet Recipe
For the crust:
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter or non-dairy margarine, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg, separated
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cognac (optional)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (more or less)
For the filling:
3 pounds apples, peeled and sliced
About 2 tablespoons lemon juice
About 6 tablespoons sugar
Cinnamon, to taste
About 1/2 cup raisins (optional)
About 1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted (also optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 350º.
2. Cream butter and sugar until blended and smooth. Add egg yolk, vanilla and salt and blend well. Mix in flour gradually, using just enough to form a soft dough that no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl.
3. Press half the dough onto the bottom and up the sides of a round 2-quart glass bowl.
4. Roll enough of the remaining half of the dough to form a circle about an inch larger than the top of the bowl. Set it aside. (The remainder of the dough will be used in the filling.)
5. Add about 1/3 of the sliced apples to the dough-lined bowl. Sprinkle with lemon juice, about 2 tablespoons sugar, cinnamon, raisins (if using), almonds and little bits of leftover dough. Repeat the layers twice.
6. Cover the schalet with the rolled-out circle of dough and seal well. Cut a few slits in the top, and brush with egg white.
7. Bake until golden, 1 to 1-1/2 hours. (Start watching after 40 minutes, and when the top is golden, cover it loosely with aluminum foil to prevent burning.) The schalet is done when the sides and bottom are golden brown and the apples are soft. (Test by inserting a cake tester into the slits.) Serve at room temperature.