Image credit: © Inge Loots, all rights reserved
My mum gifted me a free standing cooker with an electric oven, rotisserie and gas hob for my birthday. For the first time in a decade I’m finally able to bake pastry and other yummy stuff again. I inaugurated my oven with my favourite pie: traditional Dutch apple pie and posted some pictures on Facebook. This sparked a lot of enthusiasm so I decided to resurrect my blog a bit by posting the recipe.
- 400 gram flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 125 gram caster sugar (basterdsuiker in Dutch)
- grated peel of 1 lemon (thorougly cleaned from the outside)
- 2 eggs
- 250 gram cold butter (I use real full-fat butter, not margerine. Real butter is healthier and yields better results)
- 6 tart apples (1 kg). I use ‘Goudreinet’ which is an old variety used to make applesauce. Any kind that’s similar will do.
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 150 grams almond paste
Start with the crust. Keep all the ingredients for the crust refrigerated until the very last moment, the dough will crumble when it’s too warm, you need to work fast.
Take the lemon and grate the zest with a fine grate. Be careful not to add the white part of the peel, as that tastes very bitter.
In a bowl, mix the flour, the baking powder, 125 gram caster sugar. Take the butter out of the fridge and hit the package with a rolling pin. This will make it more flexible and easier to work with. Use two knives to mix the butter into the flour mixture until it has a sandy structure, this is why it’s called sable pastry. Sable is the French word for sand.
When you have dispersed the butter through the flour (you can use a kitchen machine to speed up the process), add the egg and the lemon zest to the flour/butter mixture and blend it into a dough ball. Work quickly to avoid melting the butter. When you’re done, wrap the ball in cling foil and put it in the refrigerator. The dough needs to rest for an hour to allow it to become firm.
In the mean time, you can peel the apples and slice them into cubes. Sprinkle a bit of lemon juice over the apples to keep them from getting brown. In a bowl, mix the apple cubes with 50 grams of caster sugar and 2 tea spoons of cinnamon. Mix well. Put in the refrigerator.
Time to rest
When the dough has rested for an hour, take it out of the refrigerator and use 3/4 of the ball to make the pie crust. Wrap the remaining 1/4 in the cling foil and put it back in the fridge. Grease a 24 cm diameter spring form pan. Pre-heat the oven at 175 degrees centigrade. The pie should be put a bit below the middle of the oven.
Roll out the dough until it’s about 1 cm thick. Take a spring form pan and use the ring to cut out a circle in the dough. Put the pan back together and line the bottom with the cut-out dough. Use the remaining dough to line the sides of the pan.
Separate an egg and mix half of the egg yolk (2 teaspoons) with the almond paste. Crumble it over the bottom of the pie pan. It enhances the taste, but it will also soak up any liquids coming from the apples when the pie is baking. When the bottom is covered with almond paste crumbles, add the apple mixture. Press it with the back of a spoon so it’s packed tight. Alternatively, if you don’t use the almond paste, you can add a little extra sugar to the crust to enhance its taste.
Use the remaining dough in the fridge to make the top. You can roll it out to cover the entire pie and make some slices to allow the steam to come out, but you can also cut out strips that are about 3/4″ wide. Cut out eight strips, the longest should be the diameter of the pie pan. Lay out the strips of dough in a lattice pattern over the top of the pie. Brush the top with a bit of milk to allow for an extra brown crust.
Bake the pie for about an hour just below the middle at 175 degrees C. When the pie is done, take it out of the oven, don’t remove the ring of the spring pan form. Take 2-3 tablespoons of apricot jam and heat it in a small sauce pan. It should become liquid. Just heat it, don’t cook it. Take the sauce pan from the fire and brush the warm apricot jam on the top of the pie.
Let the pie cool completely before removing the ring. Serve with whipped cream.
You can add some raisins soaked in rum to the filling. Leave out one apple and replace it with the same weight of soaked raisins.
You can mix the fruit. Use different kinds of apples, mix apples with pears or even with blueberries and raspberries.