For the Filling:
1. Prepare the cranberries the evening before. Put the cranberries in a bowl and cover them with Grand Marnier, let them soak overnight.
2. Peel, core and cut the apples into medium-sized cubes. Zest the skin of half an orange and a whole lemon. Juice half a lemon.
3. Melt the butter in a medium pot over medium heat. Once the butter is melted, add the apples and give them a good stir so all pieces are covered with butter. Add 2 table spoons lemon juice, orange zest, soaked cranberries (drain the excess liquid first), vanilla extract, brown sugar, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and stir everything to combine. Continue to cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until apples soften (8-10 minutes).
4. Mix the granulated sugar and flour together. Add to the apple mixture and stir well to combine. Keep stirring for 4-5 minutes until the apple mixture thickens. Once the apple filling has thickened, you can take the pot of the heat.
5. Transfer the apple mixture to a food container, and let it cool before using it.
For the Crust:
6. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Grease a 9-by-13 inch (27x20cm) cake pan with softened butter, and cover with baking paper.
7. Combine flour, sugar and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add the cold butter in small cubes, kneed the butter in with your fingers until the dough gets flaky and resembles coarse sand. Divide the dough mixture in to half, squeeze one half together with your hands, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
8. Pour remaining half into prepared pan and spread in an even layer, then press into bottom of pan.
9. Place the cake pan in the oven and bake the until golden brown and dry to the touch (25 to 30 minutes). Take out of the oven and let it cool down. Raise the oven temperature to 200°C/400°F.
10. Once the crust has cooled down, spread the apple filling over the crust and press down. Uncover the reserved half and break off pebble-sized pieces to scatter evenly on top of the apple filling.
11. Place the cake pan back in the oven and bake until the topping is golden brown (50 minutes). Remove the Apple Pie Bars from the oven and let them cool in pan.
To serve, lift apple pie bars out of pan and cut into 5 even strips crosswise and 4 even strips lengthwise.
Suggestion from Coach
You can keep this recipe alcohol free by swapping the Grand Marnier for freshly squeezes Orange Juice!