Monday, June 27, 2011

Boterkoek

Boterkoek has a distinct pattern
pressed into the dough
with the tines of a fork
Some days are just better baking days than others: a couple of days ago I had planned on baking a hazelnootschuimtaart, a hazelnut meringue cake. But with one thing and another, things got busy and I wasn't going to have time to make an elaborate cake for the company I was expecting later that day. Thankfully, the Dutch kitchen has so many cookie, cake and pie recipes that I never lack for ideas. In this case, I turned to plan B. As in Boterkoek, an alltime favorite.

The Dutch Buttercake consists of hardly anything else than butter, sugar and flour. Just for giggles, lemon zest, salt and vanilla is added, but the main ingredients are those three key players in the Dutch baking world. Buttercake is just like it sounds: a dense, buttery, sweet cake that sticks to your ribs. And there's nothing wrong with that!

Do make sure all the butter is incorporated into the dough, or it will leave small airpockets in the cake as the butter melts. It's not going to make it taste any different, but it just looks better.

Boterkoek is usually baked for fifteen minutes, but it's one of the trickier cakes to gauge when it's done. As soon as the top starts to color and the sides are slightly dry, it will be ready: you want the inside to still be fairly soft but baked. If you bake it too long, the taste will still be good but the cake will be dry and dense. Nothing wrong with that, and everybody likes their boterkoek a certain way, so you will just have to give it a try and see. Fifteen minutes usually does the trick, but if the middle is still wet, bake it a little longer. After you pull the cake, it's cooled and cut into small squares or narrow slices. It really doesn't lend itself too well for large pieces: it is a heavy cake that is best eaten in small amounts. It can be baked in its original form, or filled with amandelspijs (divide the dough in half, press one half in the pan, spread the almond paste, then cover with the second half of the dough).

Boterkoek
2 sticks of cold butter
2 cups of flour
3/4 cup of sugar
1/8th teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 vanilla bean
Lemon zest from one lemon

Mix the flour with the sugar, the salt, one egg, the seeds of the vanilla bean and the lemon zest. Cut in the cold butter, then knead the dough until it all comes together. If the dough gets too sticky, wrap it in plastic film and refrigerate it briefly.

Butter a 9 inch pie form, pat the dough into the pan and make sure the top is even. Make markings with a fork as in the first picture, beat the second egg and brush the top of the cake with it, then bake in a 350F oven for about 15 - 20 minutes. Keep an eye on it, and as soon as the sides begin to pull away and toast, it's ready.

Let the cake totally cool before cutting it into narrow slices or squares.







16 comments:

  1. One of my favorite "cookies". Definitely going to have to make this one.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Too hot to bake now. But whe it cools down I am definitly going to try doing this cardiac but worth it cake.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi! Do you use salted or unsalted butter?

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi Anonymous,
    You can use either one but I generally use unsalted unless specified. If you want to use salted, just ommit adding the salt in the recipe, and you should be good to go.

    ReplyDelete
  5. My sons favorite Dutch treat!!! Thank you so much for your website!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi Nicole, I made this and used unsalted butter, but found this to be extremely salty. In fact too salty to eat. Are you sure 1 tsp of salt is correct? I've looked on the internet at other boterkoek recipes and they don't call for salt.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kathy, thank you so much for letting us know. I checked my notes and it clearly says 1/8th of a teaspoon, not 1. Unsure why I haven't caught this before, but I've made the corrections and apologize for the mistake.

      Delete
  7. One of my childhood favourites and also one I don't make too often anymnore. The kids are grown and When I feel the urge to do some baking, it gets tucked into my bag to share with friends at the cafe in the morning!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Een hele boterkoek van de Hema...hemels voor je rijksdaalder!

      Delete
  8. This is the same recipe my father, a dutch baker, use to make. Also stated it was 20-30 minutes. But I've found it takes about 40-50 minutes.....I've tried different ovens, so I am not sure why I have to bake it so long.

    ReplyDelete
  9. The real question here is the cooking time.

    The text preceding the recipe calls for 15 minutes. The recipe itself says 30. One of the comments says 40-50. I cooked for 40 minutes so I wouldn't end up with butter soup.

    I was cooking for a genuine, honest to goodness real live native of the Netherlands. She said it was a little crumbly but otherwise good. Probably overcooked. Next time I will try 25-30 minutes.

    ReplyDelete
  10. how much is two sticks of butter in grams?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Helma! One stick of butter weighs approximately 115 grams. Please also see the What's In A Cup section, up top, for more information regarding measurements and conversions, hope that helps!

      Delete
  11. Going to bake Boterkoek this Saturday. Still wondering about the baking time.
    Any suggestions?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jessica, the opinions on that vary tremendously! Go for twenty minutes, and then check the top and the sides. If the top is starting to brown, and the sides are pulling away from the pan, cover the koek with aluminum foil and give it another five minutes to ten minutes. You don't want the cake too dry and you don't want the cake unbaked - the balance is right in the middle. The good thing is that, even if it's a bit crunchy, it is still a fantastic cake to eat, so shoot for overdone rather than underdone.

      Delete
  12. My God I miss boterkoek....my figure never recovered from two years in Amsterdam!

    ReplyDelete

I welcome your comments! Please be so considerate as to include a name, as anonymous postings will be deleted.