Monday, January 25, 2010

Appeltaart


 "Koffie met appeltaart", coffee with apple pie, what a traditional Dutch way of celebrating eh...anything! City cafés that want to lure customers in will advertise homemade, overly delicious apple pie on their street signs. Spend a couple of hours at an outdoor market and the smell of freshly baked apple pie will draw you in: don't fight it, but just give in. Sit down at one of the many outdoor terrasjes, or patios, that the cafés have, order a koffie verkeerd or a hot cup of tea, and let yourself be treated to a traditional Dutch apple pie. It's probably one of the first pies that young people learn how to bake and it's one of those delicacies that grandma's are usually very, very good at making.

With all due respect, the apple pies sold as Dutch apple pie here in the United States are wonderful......but not very Dutch. I'm actually not entirely sure why they're called Dutch, something to look into. Perhaps it stems from the Pennsylvania Dutch, which aren't actually Dutch at all, but Deutsch which means "German". A classic Dutch apple pie is loaded with fresh apples and raisins and stand at least a good 2.5 to 3 inches high, with a lattice top.

The dough is made with butter and eggs and the apples are flavored with lemon juice and speculaas spices. It's usually baked in a springform and shows the filling through an elaborate lattice cover. It's seems like a lot of work, but trust me: it's so worth it! Try a variety of apples for a more complex flavor, f.ex. three Honeycrisp, three Roma and two Granny Smith.

Grandmother's Dutch Apple Pie
For the dough
2 cups of all purpose flour
1/2 cup of granulated sugar
1.5 stick of butter, cold
2 tablespoons of ice cold water
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon of salt

Mix the flour with the sugar and cut in the butter until the flour turns into small pea-size pellets. Add 2 tablespoons of ice cold water, the egg and the salt and quickly knead the dough into a cohesive whole. Add more ice water if the dough is too dry. Pat into an oval, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

For the filling
8 small apples, peeled and cored
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 cup of golden raisins, soaked*
1 tablespoon speculaas spices
2 tablespoons custard powder
2 tablespoons panko or unseasoned breadcrumbs
1/2 cup of sugar

Brushing
1 egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon heavy cream
1 tablespoon raw sugar

Quarter the apples and slice them thin. Toss them with the lemon juice, raisins, speculaas spices, custard powder and sugar. Set aside. Cut the crust off the bread and cut it into small cubes.

Butter a 9 inch spring form. Take the dough out of the refrigerator and remove 1/3th of the dough. Roll the rest into a large circle and line the bottom and sides of the form with the dough. Do not crimp. Sprinkle the panko or unseasoned breadcrumbs on the bottom of the dough, and pour in the apple mix. It's okay to push it down so as to fit more, that way the slices will stick better together and make it easier to cut into neat pie slices. Roll the rest of the dough out and cut into 6 wide strips. Place three strips crossing from left to right, the other three from right to left. Press lightly where the strip connects with the pie dough and remove any hangover dough from the rim. Brush the lattice with the egg and cream, and sprinkle the sugar on top of the dough. Bake in an 375 F degree oven for approximately 1 hour.

Let the pie cool on a rack, then cut into generous pieces and serve with a slightly sweetened dollop of whipped cream. Sit back and enjoy your hard labor: you deserved it!



Tip: you can also make five single serve hand pies out of the same amount. The small ones freeze well and are good to have around in case company shows up, or in case you feel like celebrating something. And if you have nothing to celebrate, you could celebrate the fact that you have nothing to celebrate!


* Soak the raisins in warm apple juice, a little bit of rum, or use boerenjongens. Lovely!

10 comments:

  1. I'm not sure what cream of wheat is. Do you know what could be subbed for that please? I love anything that tastes of Speculaas spice:P

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  2. Hi Coby,
    Thank you so much for your kind comments. Cream of wheat is a children's breakfast cereal, much like Malt-o-Meal or Brinta. It's almost like a fine porridge, served warm. The purpose for cream of wheat in the recipe is to create a binder for the apples and to absorb some of the flavors. You could substitute it with panko, breadcrumbs or a large tablespoon of whole wheat flour. Let me know how it turns out!

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  3. how much does 1.5 stick of butter weigh ?

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    Replies
    1. Tamara, one stick weighs approximately 115 grams. Shoot for 175 grams of butter in the recipe and you should be fine. Enjoy the appeltaart!

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  4. What is to be done with the bread cubes?

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  5. Dag Nicole,

    Ik ben Maria. I'm an Indonesian and married to a Dutchman.

    I stumbled upon your blog as I was searching for a recipe of a good kerststol for Christmas. Last year, I baked appeltaart and cheesecake to meet my Dutch husband's request in order to balance the Christmas table at my mom's place.

    In the recipe that I got for appeltaart, it asked for custard powder instead of cream of wheat and bread cubes to bind the filling.
    Oh yes, what i love about the Dutch apple pies are the crispness of the apples that you can still taste and you don't end up with soggy filling like other countries' pies.

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  6. This is very close to our family recipe, except we use cinnamon instead of speculaas kruiden, and we use currants (krenten) instead of raisins. We don't pre-soak the currants, which then soak up the liquid while baking, so we don't use binders at all!

    Your way of making the crust sounds much easier than mine, will try that on the next pie.

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  7. My family recipe is a bit different. My mother couldn't use the proper crust recipe so she used her mothers. 1 lb Butter, 4 cups flour and 2 cups suger. that was it. THen I use rusk for the breadcrumbs at the bottom. the apples get tossed with sugar and now Speculaasmix and placed inside then covered with the half the crust... then baked. I was always told that was Dutch Apple Pie these recipes are still sooo much different

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  8. What apple would be best to be used?

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  9. Hi Nicole,
    Love the site- my husband is from Rotterdam! It would be helpful to be able to highlight and copy the text or have a print button. Any suggestions?

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