An apple pie is one those basic pies that you’ll find at a lot of celebrations in the Netherlands. Eaten with a good dollop of whipped cream it’s a crowd pleaser. Real estate agents would recommend to bake (or heat) an apple pie in your oven when people come to visit your house. The smell itself is supposed to make people feel at home already!
So Dutch apple pies are a favorite in our house. But it might just not be the Dutch apple pie you’re used to, if you’re American that is! Over time I’ve come to learn that something ‘Greek’ in the Netherlands, something ‘Dutch’ in the US and something Spanish in China, isn’t necessarily the same thing as what it would be in its original country. Which, in all honesty, only contributes to all our cultures, creating yet something new again!
But it does mean that my Dutch apple pie, isn’t an American apple pie. So what’s the difference you ask? Great question and exactly what we’ll be discussing going forward.
What’s a Dutch Dutch apple pie?
The majority of ‘Dutch apple pies’ (let’s call them American Dutch apple pies) on the internet are some sort of short crust pastry crust on the bottom, filled with apples and topped with streusel. Even though we definitely have apple pies in the Netherlands that are made with streusel on top (we call them appelkruimeltaart which translates into apple crumble pie), they are not your generic Dutch apple pie.
A Dutch Dutch apple pie though would consist of:
- A dough that is more cookie/cake like than a short crust pastry. It crumbles apart more and it softer than your basic short crust pastry. Notice the high amount butter in the recipe below. This is what makes the dough softer. The sugar contributes a good punch of sweetness.
- A lattice crust on top. The basic one would have horizontal and vertical strips of dough covering the pie. However, it would not fully enclose the pie, probably only half of the surface tends to be covered.
- Plenty of apples, with at least some cinnamon and sugar in there and likely also raisins and chopped hazelnuts!
- 250g flour
- 1/4 tsp salt (or a pinch, you only need a little)
- 125g white 'basterdsuiker' OR 50g granulated sugar + 75g brown sugar
- 175g butter
- 1 egg yolk OR 25ml water
- 1 kg apples (I tend to use the 'Elstar' variety)* - better to use an apple too much than too little, the piece will shrink while baking
- 30 ml lemon juice
- 1,5 tsp cinnamon
- 3 tbsp Sugar
- Optional: ginger powder, nutmeg powder, ground cloves (1/2 tsp each)
- 20g bread crumbs or crushed unsalted plain crackers
- 75g raisins (optional)
- 75g chopped hazelnuts (optional)
- Mix the ingredients together to form a consistent dough. No need to do this in any specific order. You want to knead it until it forms a firm ball, no need to mix it any longer.
- Leave to rest in the fridge for about half an hour, don't leave it in too long or it will become too hard to roll out. If it has become too hard, just leave to warm up on the counter until it's soft enough to roll.
- Take about 1/3 of the dough an keep on the side. Roll out the remainder until you have a large enough sheet to cover the bottom and sides of a 24cm round baking tray.
- Leave the raisins to soak in water or rum for at least 30 minutes, preferably one hour.
- Peel the apples and cut into smaller pieces. You can choose the shape you want, cubes or slices, anything you like.
- Place the apples in the bowl and after cutting every 2 apples, add a squirt of lemon juice, a sprinkle of cinnamon (and the other spices mentioned) and sugar. You can do this to your own taste. If you like your pie sweet, add some more sugar, if you like the spices, add some more of those. Just be gentle on the cloves and nutmeg.
- Cover the bottom of the dough with a thin layer of bread crumbs. You can also leave this out (which I often do) but your dough will become slightly more soggy.
- Mix the raisins with the apple mixture and fill the pie. Make sure you have enough apples. They should reach a little over the pan since they will shrink during the baking process. It's never bad to add just one more apple, more apple is more better.
- Roll out the remainder of the dough and cut of thin strips of about 1-2cm in width. Use these strips to create a nice lattice on top of the pie.
- For an even browner crust, use a brush to cover the lattice with some leftover egg or milk.
- Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180C for approx. 45 minutes until it's a nice golden brown.
Remember, for any apple baking recipe, choosing the right apple is probably the most important decision you'll make, so use one that you nkow you like and will enjoy!
Is this a Dutch apple pie to you? I’d love to hear from you!
Ever wondered why there are many more apple pies than pear pies in this world? Me too, so I dived into the phenomenon of pear pies.
Smitten Kitchen, Dutch apple pie, 2017, link