I’m sitting here at my desk after returning from a good weekend with friends in Singapore. We met up over a celebration of two people coming together as one and in between we filled our mouths with laughter and good food. Nothing makes a place better than being with the people you care about and whose company you enjoy. Occasionally we meet once a year but when we do, it felt like we’ve always had each other’s presence around. Like we never waved goodbye.
The week before Ant and I left for Singapore, I attempted to remake the apple pie, or appeltaart as they call it in Amsterdam, we had at Winkel cafe right outside Noodermarkt. We saw a long queue outside the cafe and asked a woman at the end of the queue what she was queuing up for. We quickly lined up behind her when she told us that everyone was there for the apple pie. And it was really good. So good that we came back for breakfast before we left Amsterdam.
If you google “Winkel apple pie recipe”, you’re bound to find several similar recipes appearing. It’s not hard to understand why so many have tried to recreate it in their own kitchen. The Dutch apple pie is unlike the American apple pie with pastry dough. The Dutch version is more of a crumbly cake filled with apples and cinnamon, topped with a nice golden sparkly crunch of brown sugar.
The recipe I chose was from Food Nouveau as she adapted the recipe from the few sources found online. I do have to say that I felt the pie was a bit on the large side and there was a bit of leftover dough. It didn’t fit nicely into my spring form pan so I used an adjustable cake ring on a baking tray. I also didn’t fuss too much about the kind of apples and used whatever I had in the kitchen.
For the crust
1½ cups [360 g] unsalted butter, cubed, room temperature
1 1/3 cups [240 g] brown sugar, packed firmly
Pinch of salt
2 eggs, slightly beaten
5 cups [600 g] self-rising flour
For the filling
7 firm apples (such as Braeburn, Gala or Cortland)
3 soft apples (such as Golden Delicious or Pink Lady)
Finely grated zest of ½ orange and ½ lemon
Juice of ½ lemon
1/3 cup [80 ml] brown sugar (plus more for the topping)
2 tsp [10 ml] cinnamon
¼ tsp [1.25 ml] grated nutmeg
2 tsp [10 ml] cornstarch
To make the crust:
- In the bowl of a food processor, mix the butter and brown sugar together until creamed. Sprinkle with the salt and add almost all of the eggs, keeping a tablespoonful [15 ml] to brush over the pie later. Pulse until the eggs are well-incorporated.
- Add a third of the flour, pulse until well-incorporated. Add another third of the flour, pulse to incorporate, then scrape down the sides of the bowl. At this point, the mixture will still be wet, but it will start gathering together.
- Add the remaining flour and pulse just until the dough comes together into a ball. Transfer the dough to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and rest at room temperature while you prepare the filling.
- Preheat the oven at 375°F [190°C].
To make the filling:
- Peel and core the apples, then cut them into bite-size pieces.
- In a very large bowl, mix the apple pieces with the orange and lemon zest, lemon juice, brown sugar, spices and cornstarch. Reserve.
To assemble the pie:
- Grease a large, springform pan, and cover the bottom with a cut out sheet of parchment paper. Or line an adjustable cake ring with greaseproof paper on a baking tray.
- Reserve ¼ to 1/3 of the crust mixture for the pie’s topping.
- Pour the rest of the mixture into the pan and firmly press the dough against the bottom and all the way up the sides of the pan. (It shouldn’t be too thick, as long as the base and sides are covered.)
- Add the apple filling and press down to compress the filling and make it as flat as possible on top.
- Spread the remaining of the crust mixture all over the apples. Use your fingers to distribute the mixture all over the top, stuffing a little here and there between some apple pieces.
- Brush the reserved egg wash all over the top of the pie, then sprinkle lightly with brown sugar.
- Bake for 70 – 85 minutes.
- Let the pie cool for 2 – 3 hours before removing it from the pan.
- Serve at room temperature with whipped cream.