Friday, September 10, 2010

Appelbollen

Those of you that read my other blogs know that, these last several years, I've been picking fruit in local orchards around the valley for most of my cooking and canning. For one, the price you pay for fruits when you pick them is at least fifty to 70% cheaper than in the store. The fruit is also fresh off the tree so it still has all its vitamins and minerals and, on top of that, you support your local farmers. A win-win for all, and it's a fun day out for the family. 

Early summer is cherry time, mid summer is peach and plum time, and now that the weather is cooling down a bit the apples and pears are getting ready to be picked. Oh joy!! Apples play an important role in the Dutch kitchen: apple sauce is a standard condiment for many potato-based dishes (ever tried French fries with mayo and apple sauce? Don't knock it before you try it, it's the way Dutch children eat their fries) and a key ingredient in potato salad, Hete Bliksem (mashed apples and potatoes) and ofcourse in desserts: Dutch apple pie, apple beignets and the old-fashioned Dutch apple dumpling, the appelbol. Sweet, firm apples in a puff pastry cover and filled with soaked raisins and walnuts.....What a delight! You want a firm apple for this dessert: I used a Golden Delicious, but a Jonagold or a Braeburn will do just as well.

Probably not a coincidence that these dishes do best in a wintery, cold setting. The appelbol is more often than not a sugary treat with morning coffee, a sweet ending to a long, windy walk along the beach or together with a cup of hot chocolate after ice skating on the canals. Appelbollen are usually served warm and without any additional adornments such as whipped cream, but the last several years people have been adding warm custard or a scoop of vanilla ice cream. It's all good!

You can buy the puff pastry, but it's easy enough to make it yourself in case your store does not carry it or charges an exorbitant price. Here's a link to an easy recipe for home made puff pastry dough.

Appelbollen
4 medium sized apples
4 tablespoons of golden and red raisins, mixed
1 tablespoon of walnut pieces, small
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 1/2 tablespoon of demerara sugar, divided (or use plain sugar)
4 tablespoons of apple juice or rum
4 puff pastry squares
2 egg yolks
1 tablespoon of water

Preheat the oven to 375F. Wash the apples and core, but do not peel. Mix the raisins, walnuts, cinnamon and 1 tablespoon of sugar and add the apple juice or rum. Set aside and soak for a couple of minutes, then fill each apple with the mixture.

Set each apple, top side down on a square piece of puff pastry and wrap the apple. Make sure all sides are covered and clinging to the apple. If you have some extra dough left, you can make stems and leaves and wrap the apple with an additional decorative something or other, but it's not necessary. Place each apple in a buttered ramekin, smooth side up. Make an egg wash with the yolks and the water, and brush on the dough. Sprinkle all four apples with the remaining sugar. Bake golden brown in 20-25 minutes.

Eat warm!



6 comments:

  1. I have Dutch friends who introduced me to appelbollen at New Year. Then I went to live in Amsterdam for several years where once again I was introduced to their delights.

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  2. I've never had that. Sounds delicious though.

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  3. Looks simply incredible! I'll have to try it with the apple tree in our student house back garden and post some pictures on my blog! Looks delicious.

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