Tag Archive for 'dessert'

Authentic Dutch Apple Pie

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

Ingredients

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

Kitchen utensils

9-inch springform (Ø 24 cm)

Rolling pin

Mixing bowl

Directions

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.

Storage tip

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.

Personal tip<

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.

Substitution tip

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.

Lemonicious Blueberry Slab Cake

Calling all summer lemon lovers! I have to say, after having taken a much-needed blogging hiatus, YOU passionate dessert foodies have all inspired me to come back to share my adventures in the kitchen. Let’s get right to business. >I know, all this time away from blogging and I am suddenly robbing you of a story but maybe you are done with my insights and just looking for a good recipe “sans” deep thoughts. Maybe.<

This Lemonicious Blueberry Slab Cake recipe glows of summer and is the perfect refreshing crowd-pleaser to close out a good BBQ. Continue reading ‘Lemonicious Blueberry Slab Cake’

Champagne Jellied Treats & Tailsmans

Talismans. Do you have them? I do. Maybe not as my driving force but they do exist in my world. Sometimes they are for me those ‘angels’ that I think maybe watch out for me and guide me. For me, they are often the reminders I have of ‘those’ that are special to me.

I’ve recently had a lot of my ‘angels’ on my mind. I recognized that having something of theirs with me, during especially busy or stressful times, gave me an extra reason to smile and relax while being a bit in the eye of a hurricane. I only realized my gravitation toward these seemingly magical objects while speaking with a friend over dinner. It must have sounded incredibly peculiar when I blurted out that my new favorite dress is one of my Grandmother’s. I mean, is it normal to say you are rocking your grandparent’s clothes? Maclamore and Ryan Lewis sing it about it Continue reading ‘Champagne Jellied Treats & Tailsmans’

Candied Crisp Lemon Peels & Quitting Christmas

This year I tried to quit Christmas. I know, what a bah-humbug thing to say. I started my campaign to escape the holiday in early December of 2017. And yet, even with a plan to take 2018 off, it was a bust. When I realized my failure about 45 days out, I was in disbelief. How could I have had such a failure of epic proportions?

At the risk of being overly honest, the holidays carry with them a hint of childhood grandeur sprinkled with magic AND Continue reading ‘Candied Crisp Lemon Peels & Quitting Christmas’

Hawaiian Haupia Pudding & Purple Potatoes & Superpowers

So, based on my last blog, you may be wondering about that Super Hero Podcast I was telling you about. The funny thing is, I was a bit underwhelmed by it overall. Yet, it must have left its mark on me because here I am thinking about it again. Odd!

Perhaps it is time to figure it out. What is my superhero power if not restricted to (a) invisibility or (b) flying since both of those are, well, not really possible in our current existence.

I started to think about a variety of things … cooking, being a devoted friend, keeping in touch with people (family/friends) maybe it was less about it being a superpower and more about it being a quality I am proud of or want to emulate. I think on many levels I like to see others comfortable and happy. That’s hardly a superpower. But I do think there is power in my actions and words that span the gamut. Continue reading ‘Hawaiian Haupia Pudding & Purple Potatoes & Superpowers’

Poached Pears & Superpowers

During my recent travels I checked into the hotel, changed into my workout clothes and headed to the gym. It was all relatively standard, nothing out of the ordinary until I deviated from my music mix and took a detour into a podcast. There was a time that I was practically a podcast jockey, bouncing from story to story, but I think I eventually burned out from the binge. I took a long podcast hiatus and then boom, here I am back at it. I am craving a good story. I somehow needed to kick-start my creativity and not feel like I’ve abandoned my sacred space; the perfect mash-up of cooking and blogging. For weeks I’ve wanted to frolic in my kitchen, yet I was just too tapped out. Continue reading ‘Poached Pears & Superpowers’

Coconut Pistachio Bites – Mermaid and Cinderella Stories

Life gets tricky, relationships get complicated and the unknown can be terrifying. There are certainly a lot of ways to read or read-into that last sentence so I should explain. Continue reading ‘Coconut Pistachio Bites – Mermaid and Cinderella Stories’

Small Batch Carmel Corn

The holiday season brings with it heaps of food memories. For me, the smells and tastes are triggers. As we work our way through so many of the traditional Sicilian dishes that have been passed down from generation to generation, I feel blessed and cursed. Blessed to have a family so very steeped in traditions in their love of food and cursed that these time intensive delicacies rob me of what little free time I have. There is certainly joy in finding time to cook with my Aunt, Cousin and my Mother, but there is so much pressure to get things done for the big day.

My husband and I are both products of divorced families. As children, having multiple Christmases has its silver lining – seemingly infinite gifts. As adults, the silver lining can sometimes be overwhelming – driving, shopping, cooking (repeat x 4). I end up feeling energy depleted and trying to figure out how I might lighten the load next year.

There is no sugar coating it; four Christmases is A LOT to be merry about. That’s not to say that each celebration is not coveted and special; I love them all. We all do. And we love all of the nice interactions with family and extended family and friends. Yet this year I think I reached my saturation level. I’ve declared that next year I will take the year off. I want to truly appreciate how special it all is, and in order to do that I need to be able to have a holiday where I can just relax. As I shared this with our families the response was very mixed if not perplexed. Even my children were wondering why such measures would be necessary. The reason is simple. I’d like next Christmas to be different. Not complicated or time consuming but indulgent. I am not looking for an epic adventure, just long lazy days, a book and a walk on the beach followed by some festive red cocktail as we head out to dinner.

So I’ve got a dream. Let’s see if I can make it happen. As we head into these final days of 2017, I am making my wish and resolution list and I am going to be a bit selfish with how I spend my time in 2018.

For those interested in a preview (or inspiration) this is what my list is starting to look like.

• Finding the peace in quiet moments

• Work life flow; in the direction of ‘life’ (admittedly there is no ‘balance’)

• More fun, more smiles, more memories, more laughter

• First Friday gatherings with my girlfriends, make a standing date to see the ladies I adore with zero planning

• Travel!

• Be spoiled…

While reflecting on food memories I was ‘reminded’ by Facebook about my favorite childhood caramel corn recipe. This was a ‘camp’ recipe shared with me by the mother of one of my friend’s, and it’s something I’ve never outgrown. >I use the term ‘camp’ loosely because this interlude hardly involved tents or camp fires; it was time away from home in the summer and it was pretty darn amazing!<

This easy Caramel Popcorn is the perfect salty/sweet combo! It starts with fluffy, freshly popped popcorn then it is glazed with real butter and decadent brown sugar, and nuts of your choice — pieces of almonds, cashews and/or pecans make for an irresistible crunch.

Small Batch Carmel Corn

Ingredients

2 cups brown sugar

1 cup butter

½ cup corn syrup

6 quarts popped corn (1 cup uncooked kernels)

1 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

pecans, walnuts or cashews, to your liking

Directions

Put popped corn and nuts into large bowl and set aside. Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Boil sugar, butter, syrup and salt for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add in baking soda. Stir well over popped corn and nuts. Spread on a baking sheet and bake for 1 hour, stirring in 15 minute intervals. Remove from oven and cool then store in air tight container.

Dark-ish Chocolate Pistachio Bark – Help Santa Slay Christmas

Dear Santa,

I’d like to quit Christmas this year. Let’s be honest. You get all the credit. I do all the work, and this year it seems quasi impossible to make it as dreamy as days of yore. I know, it is the most wonderful time of the year – unless, you can’t keep up with the to-do list of shopping, tree trimming, house decorating (inside and out), baking, cooking and well…the list continues. Now excuse me for not being reverent, but if this is feeling merry, how much longer can it last? I think it is time to take a stand. If I do nothing for Christmas well then I might just have some time for me. Continue reading ‘Dark-ish Chocolate Pistachio Bark – Help Santa Slay Christmas’

Spicy Blackout Eclipse Cake & The Little Things

I recently read an article that in the end of our lives we will realize that it is probably all of the little moments that were the most important ones. It encouraged me to take a step back, to realize that even when I am rushing through my day to meet all of the expectations placed on me that maybe I should take a second to appreciate what I have- wonderful family, friends and health. Continue reading ‘Spicy Blackout Eclipse Cake & The Little Things’