Before I abandoned you (online) to spend time with you (in person) the better part of the last two months, leading to premature but rightly deserved obituaries*, I spend about half of the fall I was in town for obsessed with Dutch apple pie, and a significant amount of that time trying to understand what it was and was not. There seems to be a divide wherein American home cooking sites largely refer to a Dutch apple pie as a deep-dish apple pie (sometimes, but not always, in a cake pan) with a crumb topping and Dutch (or Dutch-sounding; I do not speak the language** so am making an educated guess) cooks use a more cookie-like dough that’s cross-crossed on top with a shiny finish. Fortunately, around this time I remembered that one of my son’s good friend’s mom is Dutch and she was happy to set me on the right course: yes the lattice is shiny, the dough is sweet and more buttery tasting than its American counterpart, the end result looks more like a cake, and please remember to send all samples over.
From there, I was off to the races… sort of. First I had to watch a lot of videos of home cooks making it and, as no two recipes precisely agreed, basically just throw my hands in the air and hope I could work it out in the kitchen. It does not always happen — figuring things out on an early go — but this time it did. I hope this is a good omen for the year to come, as my cooking wish list for 2018 could fill five calendars, and for you too: this is much, much easier than it looks.
I realize that Dutch apple pie may not be everyone’s or even most people’s Christmas tradition but will you look at this glorious thing? I think it deserves a chance. It’s fragrant and buttery and rustic but fancy and the only proper way to eat it, or so many things worth eating, is mit schlag (with whipped cream), really an inordinate amount too, so save those dainty dollops for a different party. I also want to warn you about one more thing: I don’t think you have to look too deep in this site’s archives to find evidence of my devotion to American-style pie but do know that I had a single bite of this warm pie with a pillow of barely sweetened cream and wondered how or why I’d ever want to eat American apple pie again.
* One of the most frequently asked questions in the Q&A portion of most book tour stops has been “so, what’s next?” “A nap,” I usually joke, or “Well, I’ve been super busy lately so I’m looking forward to something I called Sloth January and it involves a lot of yoga pants but very little yoga.” But I know that this is when you’re supposed to announce your product line or plans for food world domination (“perhaps, if it could be scheduled between 4 and 5 on Thursdays” is an answer I gave in an interview a few weeks ago, and probably all the reason you need to never interview me) and the honest truth is so much less headline-grabbing: I’d like to get back to blogging [cough: self-publishing] right here, for as long as right here will have me. I like it a whole lot, it makes me happy, and I’m miles from running out of ideas. I know that the obituaries have been written about blogging for half a decade now and I’ve read them all, but I’m still here and you are too, and it would be a shame if I kept any of them from getting Dutch apple pie onto our tables this weekend.
** True story: At my book signing in NJ last weekend, I was asked to copy several words in Latvian into a book inscription and although I had a few concerns — not speaking a word of Latvian, for all I know I was signing away my second born and not wishing an aunt a happy 70th — I also have had zero chances to date to write anything in Latvian in my life so how could I say no?
One year ago: Homemade Irish Cream
Two years ago: Eggnog Waffles + A Few Favorite Kitchen Things
Three years ago: Jelly Dougnuts and Endives with Oranges and Almonds
Four years ago: Eggnog Florentines and Linzer Torte
Five years ago: Cashew Butter Balls
Six years ago: Peppermint Hot Fudge Sauce and Parsnip Latkes with Horseradish and Dill
Seven years ago: Iced Oatmeal Cookies and Broiled Mussels
Eight years ago: Build Your Own Smitten Kitchen, Creamed Mushrooms on Butter-Chive Toast, Ridiculously Easy Butterscotch Sauce and Tip: Why Did My Cookies Spread?
Nine years ago: Spelt Everything Crackers and Feta Salsa (a terrible name for a very delicious thing) and Carrot Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
Ten years ago: Chicken and Dumplings and Espresso Chocolate Shortbread Cookies and Peanut Butter Cookies
Eleven years ago: Pecan Squares and Boozy Baked French Toast
And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Easy Drop Berry Shortcakes and Zucchini Grilled Cheese
1.5 Years Ago: Strawberry Milk and Corn and Black Bean Weeknight Nachos
2.5 Years Ago: Strawberry Cornmeal Griddle Cakes, Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream Pie and Herbed Summer Squash Pasta Bake
3.5 Years Ago: Valerie’s French Chocolate Cake and Limonada de Coco/Frozen Coconut Limeade
4.5 Years Ago: Espresso Granita with Whipped Cream
Dutch Apple Pie / Hollandse Appeltaart
One last note: I was convinced I had cut up too many apples (the amount below) and ended up with an underfilled pie. Don’t let this happen to you; use them all, even if it towers over the rim slightly before baking. It will all even out before it is done.
- 1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse or kosher salt
- 2 1/3 cups (300 grams) all-purpose flour
- 14 tablespoons (200 grams) butter, diced, no need to soften
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) cold water
- 3 1/3 pounds (1500 grams or about 5 large apples) peeled, cored and sliced
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
- About 1/2 cup (70 grams) raisins
- 4 tablespoons plain breadcrumbs (I used panko)
- 1 large egg, beaten, to finish
Filling and finish
At some point during this hour, make the filling: Combine apples, lemon, cinnamon, sugar and raisins in a large bowl and toss to combine.
Assemble crust: Coat a 9- to 9 1/2-inch (24 cm) diameter springform pan lightly with butter or nonstick cooking spray. Remove chilled dough from fridge and cut it roughly into thirds. On a well-floured counter, roll the first third to a circle the diameter your pan and fit it into the bottom. Roll out the second third of the dough and cut it into strips the height of your springform pan (usually 3 inches). Patch them up the inner sides of the springform. Use your fingertips to press and seal the sides and base together. If any holes form or there are spots you’re worried aren’t sealed well, patch in another pinch of dough.
Heat your oven: To 350°F (175°C).
Assemble pie: Sprinkle the bottom of the pie crust with breadcrumbs. Pour the apple-raisin mixture on top. Roll the last third of the dough into a large round and cut into thin strips. (Mine were about 1/2-inch wide.) Space them in a lattice pattern over the filling, either by arranging half in one direction and the second half in the other direction on top, or by getting cute and weaving them together. (Here is an ancient set of directions from me.) Trim the overhang so that the latticed top meets the walls of the crust, and press/pinch them together to seal it. Brush beaten egg over top crust.
Bake: For 60 to 70 minutes, until you can see filling bubbling slightly up between the latticed strips (use this to determine doneness, and the baking time as just an estimate), and crust is a deep golden brown. Let cool in springform on rack for 45 minutes or so before running a knife around the outside of the crust to ensure it isn’t sticking to the pan in any place, and opening the ring to serve it with an abundance of softly whipped, barely sweetened cream.