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Apple Custard Bars

Apple Custard Bars! The autumnal answer to lemon bars, these Apple Custard bars consist of sweet and creamy apple cider-infused custard atop a brown sugar shortcrust, then smothered in a spiced apple topping. 
Prep Time3 hrs 10 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time3 hrs 55 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 9 squares
Author: The Kitchen Prep


For the Shortcrust:

  • 1 stick unsalted butter softened
  • cup light brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons all purpose flour

For the Custard Filling:

  • cup condensed milk {about half a 14 ounce can}
  • 2 eggs
  • cup spiced apple cider
  • 1 ½ teaspoons flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • teaspoon salt

For Spiced Apple Topping

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 cups apple peeled, cored and shredded on a cheese grater {I used Gala, but you can use your favorite}
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare an 8x8 inch pan by lining with parchment, leaving the edges hanging over the side. {I actually didn't line my pan and it came out fine, but if you're worried about sticking, using parchment will ensure it's easy to remove.} Set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer or using a pastry cutter, combine all of the shortcrust ingredients until the mixture comes together in large clumps {it'll still be crumbly, but it should stick together when pressed.}
  • Press the dough into the pan and pat it down into an even layer. Using the tines of a fork, poke the crust all over -- this will help keep it flat as it bakes.
  • Bake for about 20 minutes or until the edges begin to turn golden brown. Remove from oven.
  • Meanwhile, make the custard filling: In the bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl, whisk together the condensed milk, eggs, and spiced apple cider until fully combined. Add the flour, baking powder and salt and whisk together until it's incorporated.
  • Pour the mixture over the par-baked crust and bake for 20-25 minutes until the top is lightly browned and the custard is just set -- it should only jiggle a tiny bit in the center when it's done. Remove from oven and cool completely. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours or until chilled.
  • In the meantime, make the apple topping: In a small saucepan or skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add the shredded apple, brown sugar, maple syrup and cinnamon and stir to combine. Cook, stirring occasionally until the apples have released their liquid and the mixture is syrupy but slightly thickened. Cool completely.
  • When ready to serve, cut into bars and top each one with a heaping teaspoon of the apple mixture. Keep leftovers refrigerated.