De Verstandige Kock’ ("The Sensible Cook") was first published in 1667 in Amsterdam. A rather thin cookbook, it contained recipes for the average citizen, not wealthy but not overly poor either. Its last print was from 1802. For those that do not read Dutch, there is help as the book was translated by Peter Rose in 1998. It contains a myriad of recipes and historical facts about the way the Dutch cooked and how it impacted the Dutch settlements in the Hudson Valley.

I've copied below the original text that belongs to the recipe I made today, a centuries old but still popular dish in the Netherlands.

"Om een schoenmakerstaert te backen: Neemt suere Appels, schildtse, aen stucken gesneden en gaar gekoockt, wrijft die kleyn, neemt dan boter, Suycker, en Corenten, yder na zijn believen, en dat samen met 4 à 5 eyeren daer in gheroert, neemt dan geraspt Tarwenbroot, en doet dat onder in een schootel, daer op u Appelen geleght, doeter weer geraspt Tarwenbroot boven over, en deckt dan toe met een decksel van een Taertpanne, en vuur daer op gheleght, maeckt een goede korste."

(To bake a cobbler's pie: take sour apples, peel them, cut them in pieces and boil them until soft, mash them, take butter, sugar and raisins as much as you please, and mix this with 4 or five eggs, take shredded wheat bread, and put it on the bottom of a dish, put the apples on top, cover it again with shredded wheat bread and cover it with the lid of a pie dish, on which you place coals, makes a good crust).

I guess punctuation was not that big of a deal in the Middle Ages. Nowadays, we use rusks (beschuiten) or in my case, panko, the japanese variant of breadcrumbs, instead of "shredded wheat bread". I much prefer panko for sweet dishes like these, as it's lighter, a little sweeter and is closest to the rusk crumb. To this dish you can add raisins if you wish, or a pinch of cinnamon, ginger,'s a great dish to experiment with. For those that don't want the sugar, the pie holds its own made with a sugar-substitute as well.

Now, why is it called a cobbler's pie? Many have ventured a guess, but nobody so far has been able to give a valid explanation. But it's a wonderful, light dish to finish a meal with, or to accompany a hot cup of coffee or tea, mid-morning. And maybe that's something a hard working cobbler can appreciate as well.

4 small apples
1/2 cup of water
1/2 stick of butter
1/2 cup of brown sugar
2 teaspoons of vanilla
3 eggs, separated
1 cup panko or breadcrumbs

Peel, core and cut the apples in small pieces. Place them in a saucepan with the water, the butter, sugar and vanilla. Bring to a boil, stir well, then simmer until the apples are done and you can mash it into apple sauce.

Beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Mix the egg yolks and the panko with the apple mixture, then carefully spoon the egg whites through the mix. Don't overmix it, as you want to keep the air in the egg whites!

Grease a pie pan, heat the oven to 350F, carefully pour the apple batter into the dish, and bake for about 50 minutes. Cool, dust with powdered sugar (if you like) and cut into large slices.

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