Dutch Apple Tart

I waxed lyrically a few days ago about the stunning sunsets which have marked the start of autumn in London. Something like this:

This also means that it is time for apple pie! I promised a while back that I would try my hand at making a Dutch version, so here it is! I’ve come across two types of apple pie in the Netherlands – either the deep apple-and-pastry mixture called appelgebak, or the more familiar appeltaart. This is the latter, so we’ll do appelgebak another day.

A lot of people are put off by making fruit pies due to a phobia of pastry. If you prefer to buy it, then by all means do so, but it’s actually very easy to make. Just be sure to use cold butter and very cold water, handle the pastry as little as possible, and let it chill fully before using. Apparently, this prevents gluten developing, resulting in a better pie crust. For the filling, I used green apples. The ones I had were quite sharp, which is what I like for a pie, as they give you a better tasting pie with more apple flavour.

In fact, the only tricky bit is making the lattice on top of the pie. As you can see from the picture, even I didn’t quite get this right, but all I can say is that I gave this a good try. If you are minded to give this a try and are a little bit obsessive about getting it right, then see detailed instructions here. Otherwise, rather than the lattice, just roll the reserved pastry out into a circle and use this on top of the pie instead.

To make Dutch apple tart:

For the pastry:

• 250g butter, cold
• 50g caster sugar
• 400g flour
• cold water

In a bowl, rub together the butter, sugar and flour until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add just enough cold water until the pastry comes together. Wrap in cling film and chill for at least 30 minutes.

For the filling:

• 2kg apples
• 50g salted butter
• 100g light brown sugar
• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 3 tablespoons apricot jam, mixed with 2 tablespoons water

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Butter a loose-bottomed flan dish (25-30cm diameter).

Peel and core the apples. Cut into slices of 1/2-1 cm thickness. In a large pot, melt the butter. Add the apples, cinnamon and sugar and stir well. Cook on a gently heat for 15 minutes until the apples are soft, but have not become mushy. Drain the apples, reserving the juice.

Roll out two-thirds of the pastry out into a circle, and use to line the bottom and sides of the flan dish. Leave around 1cm overhang at the edges. Prick the bottom with a fork, and bake in the oven for 15 minutes.

In the meantime, put the reserved apple juice in a saucepan, and cook gently until it reduces and becomes thicker. Turn off the heat, add the apples and stir well. Fill the pie shell with the apples.

Roll out the rest of the pastry into a long rectangle (at least as long as the size of the pie dish), and cut into eight strips. Use the pastry strips to make a lattice on top of the pie (see how to do this here).Use any remaining pastry to form one long strip to put around the edge of the pie shell (or cut out lots of little pastry leaves, and put these round the edge – warning, this takes a lot of time!).

Brush the pastry with a little milk, and sprinkle with granulated sugar. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the pastry is golden. Once cooked, remove from the oven. Warm the apricot jam, and use to brush the top of the pie.

If you like an easier life, then forget the lattice and just roll out the remaining pastry into a circle and use to cover the pie. Make a few slashes in the top of the pie to let out any steam during cooking.

Worth making? Everyone likes apple pie. I think this is a good recipe, using lots of apple and not too much sugar. It’s great warm or cold, and is well worth the effort. Enjoy autumn.

10 Comments

Filed under Recipe, Sweet Things

10 responses to “Dutch Apple Tart

  1. riotflower

    Looks delicious! I have a few apples left from a major haul and might give this recipe a go! Thanks for sharing.

    • Thanks, it was really good. I don’t usually do the apricot jam, but I tried this time and it looked great.

      I’m doing a few more apple posts over the next week or so, so hopefully you’ll see something appealing to make with your apples.

      PS – nice blog! I see we have a shared Scottish element.

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  3. I admire anyone who can make a fine looking lattice! Good job, one of these days I’ll try it myself.

    • Thanks! To be honest, I didn’t think too much about the lattice until I actually had to do it, and it’s one of the trickiest things I have tried to make in a while. But having done it once, I might even be persuaded to do it again sometime.

  4. Apricot jam sound like a great idea. Looks wonderful.

  5. PiWi

    Here in the Netherlands, most bakers mix the apple pieces with sugar and cinnamon, and also put a lot of (in rum or brandywine soaked) raisins in the filling. Yumm!
    And mr or mrs London Eats – if you send me a snailmail addres, I’ll send you some “koek en speculaaskruiden” (‘cookie and speculaas spices’) so you can make those typical dutch spice cake and cookies.
    or you can make the spices yourself:
    http://www.kayotic.nl/blog/speculaas-spice
    (no, that’s not my blog! I just googled ‘Speculaas spice’)

    • Hi PiWi – thanks for your kind offer! I have made Lebkuchengewürz before (OK, German rather than Dutch!) and it was great, and I recently finished it. I was due to make some more, so I will try the koek en speculaaskruiden this time, should be interesting to compare! I’ve seen packets of something similar in Brussels, but I think it would be nice to actually make this mixture with whole spices from scratch. After all, the Christmas baking season is coming.

      I guess this is also something for using in ontbijtkoek? Now that is one gooooood Dutch cake.

  6. Yum! I think the combination of green apples and apricot jam taste so good together. great pics!

  7. PiWi

    Yes, speculaaskruiden are used for ontbijtkoek – I never realised foreigners might like this ‘cake’! It’s so readily available here, we don’t think it’s special or even yummy. We think it’s boring and children’s food! But then again, the same goes probably for British stuff that I think it’s great.

    Found you a recipe for ontbijtkoek:
    http://www.tournedos.nl/desserts/Ontbijtkoek+II.html

    And this is my mothers recipe for a likewise cake, dense yet moist and great with a bit of butter and a cuppa:
    Fruit-buttermilk spicecake
    250 gr selfraising flour
    250 gr brown demarara sugar or cane sugar
    250 ml buttermilk
    250 gr mixed fruit: raisins, nuts, dried chopped apricots, dried chopped prunes, chopped apple
    2 teaspoons “koek and speculaaskruiden” (not the same as allspice! Anyone who wants some, let me know at pjwillems at gmail dot com and I’ll send it to you)

    Mix everything together, and put in a greased, parchment-papered caketin in the oven for about 1 hr at 175 dgr celcius.

    PiWi

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