Monday, January 25, 2010


"Overly delicious
homemade apple pie" announces
this café sign. How can you say no?
"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, or if you have company coming over you can't go wrong with serving 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".

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!

Grandmother's Dutch Apple Pie
For the dough
2 cups of all purpose flour
3/4 cup of granulated sugar
1.5 stick of butter, cold
2 tablespoons of ice cold water
2 egg yolks, divided
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 1 tablespoon of ice water, one egg yolk 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
6 small apples, peeled and cored
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
1 cup of golden raisins, soaked*
1 tablespoon of speculaas spices
2 tablespoons of cream of wheat
1/4 cup of sugar
2 slices of white bread

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

Butter a springform. Take the dough out of the refrigerator and remove 1/5th of the dough. Roll the rest into a large circle and line the form with the dough. Do not crimp. Put the bread cubes on the bottom of the dough, pour in the apple mix. It's okay to push it down so as to fit more. Now remove 1/4th of the leftover dough, roll the rest out and cut into 6 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. Now roll the last piece of dough to form a rope the length of the springform's circumference. Place the rope all around the pie, covering the lattice strip ends and press down to flatten the rope. Brush everything with the egg yolk and bake in an 350F degree oven for approximately 75 minutes.

You can make five small serving pies or one large one, as you see fit. 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 or, if you're so inclined, in a bit of rum. Lovely!


  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

  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!

  3. how much does 1.5 stick of butter weigh ?

    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!

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

  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.

  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.

  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

  8. What apple would be best to be used?

  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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