Sometimes friendships find you and then happily take you through the years. When you reflect, suddenly you realize that the memories appear to be more abundant than you realized.
This past October, my friend Lisa organized an intimate housewarming party. Our small group decided that we would each bring something for the celebration. The evening was lovely beyond words, as we passed the hours away with a delicious dinner (thanks to our hostess Lisa, a.k.a. ‘Cupcake’), fantastic bubbles and wines (thanks to our resident sommelier John, a.k.a. the ‘Wine Ninja’), and great company (all of the above plus Leon, Ursula, Eric, and Zara). The hours flew by as we chatted, laughed, and shared stories al fresco. To close out the already perfect evening, the featured dessert was a stunning homemade pie. Or, as I like to think of it, my very first introduction to Dutch Apple Pie- made by the lovely Ursula. Since that night onward, I’ve chased this recipe. I am no stranger to apple pie, but this was beyond compare.
As time passed my questions to Ursula continued, I just wanted to understand the history of this glorious recipe. You can imagine how excited I was when I asked her to guest blog her coveted recipe; and she agreed to share it with all of you.
HINT: Bookmark this page – her Dutch Apple Pie is a showstopper.
Now, a bit more about the woman behind the magical pie. Born in the Netherlands, Ursula is a (micro)biology teacher, currently studying ecology and evolution. She has taught me most everything I know of importance about insects- in particular butterflies. And from her shared stories, I know that she delights in working with students both young and old, teaching them about almost all life science subjects. Yes, she is a college teacher! Her favorite hobbies are baking, reading, and playing video games. She takes delight in telling terrible puns like this one, “When a clown farts, does it smell funny?”
Enjoy Ursula’s following story and her treasured multi-general recipe. Thank you, Ursula!
I cannot remember when I had my very first taste of this apple pie. I know that I did not truly appreciate it or even realize how special this dessert was until I compared it with other apple pies throughout my travels. Most apple pies I’ve sampled have been bland in taste and soggy in its consistency, with a crust that was completely forgettable.
After exhaustively trying the gamut of homemade and store-bought apple pies, I now always think twice before asking for a slice. In most cases, none of these other apple pies can hold a candle to this recipe. Trying these other pies has helped me to appreciate the awesomeness of this very special version. Admittedly, I now realize that my recipe set a high bar for my apple pie standard. Perhaps I am spoiled in that way, and a few others are now also spoiled. For example, during family gatherings hosted by my gran or mom, if there was apple pie, it would be the first dessert choice that people would request. And if it somehow wasn’t on offer, some family members would still ask for it.
As I grew up, I started having open house parties of my own– hosting people that would drop by for a visit throughout the day. As time progressed, I began noticing something peculiar, this trend was changing. You guessed it; most people would visit in the morning to have coffee or tea, and a slice of my apple pie. Of course, I never asked why they preferred to come during the morning, sacrificing their precious weekend sleep to be the first to visit. I originally thought it was because they could not wait to see me, but deep down I now think it had to do with their unconsciousness telling them they needed to hurry or risk missing out on my apple pie.
What makes this recipe better than others found online? Well, this one is a tradition amongst the three generations in my family. For decades it has been a coveted, traditional old-world Dutch all-time favorite, for many of my family and friends. The best thing about Dutch apple pie is that you can tweak it however you like! For example, I enjoy adding cardamom, ginger, and nutmeg when I bake this pie during wintertime. During the summer I like to add chopped apricots, pineapple, or mango. However, the best version on this Dutch apple pie is this original one, right here.
Authentic Dutch Apple Pie
Serves 12 people (or 10 really hungry ones!)
45 min. preparation
1 hour waiting
1 hour baking time
1 medium size egg
1 lemon, scrubbed clean
2 cups (250 g) self-rising flour
1 cup (125 g) caster sugar or bastard sugar
3 pinches salt
5 pinches ground cinnamon
3/4 cup (85 g) currants or raisins
6 TBS (125 g) unsalted butter, cold
8 (3 pounds or 1.5 kg) Granny Smith apples or another fresh and sour apple
2/3 cup (150 g) almond paste
9-inch springform (Ø 24 cm)
Separate the egg and grate the zest of the lemon.
Put the self-rising flour, 3/4 cup plus 1 TBS (100 g) sugar, and the salt in a mixing bowl. Using two knives, cut the butter and mix it all through until you get a crumbly dough. Add the egg white and lemon zest. With cold/cool hands, quickly knead the crumbly dough into a dough ball. Press flat, wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 350 °F (175 °C). Grease the springform. Dust the work surface, the rolling pin and the dough ball with a bit of (self-rising) flour and roll out 2/3 of the dough into a 1/3 of an inch (1 cm) thick slice. This will cover the bottom and the edges of the springform. First, cut out a circle with the springform and place the dough on the bottom. Line the edges with the remainder of the rolled-out dough.
Mix half of the egg yolk with the almond paste and spread over the bottom.
Peel the apples cut them into quarters and remove the core. Cut the quarters into thin slices or pieces and place them in a bowl. Cut the lemon in small parts and mix the cinnamon, the currants/raisins, and the remainder of the sugar with the apple. Spoon the apple mixture on the almond paste.
Roll out the remainder of the dough into a square piece. Cut into strips of 3/4 of an inch (2 cm) wide and place in a diamond pattern on the filling. Brush the rest of the egg yolk on the dough.
Adjust baking rack to just below the middle of the rack. Bake the pie for about 1 hour until golden brown and done. Allow the pie to cool in the pan.
You can bake the apple pie 1 day in advance. Simply let the pie cool completely and keep it wrapped in aluminum foil. You can also pre-make the dough 1 month in advance and store airtight it in the freezer.
Serve the pie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or with a spoon of custard. If you want a different finishing touch, you can instead of making strips, crumble 1/3 of the dough on top of the pie.
If you find the pie too sweet or if you have a nut allergy you can withhold the almond paste and add extra raisins/currents to make up for it.