Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Dutch Apple Pie

Dutch Apple Pie

In Amsterdam one day, we were desperate for a place to sit down and have a late lunch.  We had been on our feet all morning at the Van Gogh museum and walked for miles (it seemed) well into the afternoon and had gone past normal lunch hours.   Few restaurants were open ---- it's when you wonder why you do this to yourself, but vacations always look better in the rearview mirror.

Luckily, we found Zuivere Koffee .  Most coffee shops in Amsterdam are also places to smoke marijuana but this one was not and it had a charming, quiet garden courtyard in the back

The staff were ultra friendly and made delicious open face sandwiches and freshly brewed coffee for us.  Several locals came in for coffee and a piece of pie that looked like what I have made.
This Dutch Apple pie recipe was listed under "cakes with tea or coffee" not in the desserts section.  So I am presuming the Dutch have it during the day or afternoon, not after the evening meal.

The Dutch ride bikes everywhere, so they can eat sweets without worry, I suppose. 

The recipe called for something called "custard powder" so I had to look it up and discovered it is a common European ingredient.  Back in 1837, a guy named Bird invented it for his wife who had egg allergies.  It is basically cornstarch and vanilla flavoring.  And I was pleasantly surprised to find it in the European/International aisle at Wegman's.  It thickens the liquid from the apples and prevents a runny, watery pie. 

The pie crust is sweet  (caster sugar and an egg yolk are added to the butter and flour), then you press the dough into a springform cake pan..

As you can see from the photo, I really struggled with making the lattice for the dough --- I had to roll out that part --- but I chalk my failure up to being out of practice --- I haven't been really cooking or baking for several months now.  It still tasted great! 
I had to hunt for the Jona Gold apples --- but found them at a farm stand north of Watkins Glen --- and they were worth the hunt.  The apples remain firm, and aren't too tart. 
Another thing I like about the recipe is the orange-juice-infused raisins.  It's a simple addition but the citrus really brightens up the filling, and the raisins are tender --- they would be dried up and chewy if you didn't do this step.

Dutch Apple Pie
(from Dutch Cooking Today)

Serves 10

300 g/10 ounces flour plus extra
125 g/4 ounces white caster sugar (superfine)
200 g/7 ounces chilled butter plus extra
1 egg yolk
100 g/3.5 ounces raisins
100 ml/3.5 fluid ounces orange juice
1 kg/2 pounds firm apples (Elstar, Jona Gold), peeled and sliced
2 T. custard powder (or 2 T. cornstarch and 1 t. vanilla)
2 t. cinnamon
2 T. sugar
3 T. apricot jam

In a bowl, combine the flour, sugar and a pinch of salt.  Dice the butter and mix into the flour.  Use a pastry cutter or two knives to cut the butter into small pieces.  (As a shortcut, I grated my butter and tossed it together with the flour and salt.)

Add the egg yolk and knead everything together with cool hands.  (It doesn't look like it will come together but stick with kneading it, it will.)

Roll into a firm ball. 
Grease a 24 cm/10 inch cake tin with a removable bottom with butter (I used a 9 inch)
and do a better job than I did, and press 2/3 of the dough over the bottom and sides.  Refrigerate the tin and remaining dough until ready to use.
Preheat the oven to 175 C/ 375 F.  Put the raisins and orange juice in a pan, bring to a boil and simmer until the liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes.

This is when I peeled and sliced the apples.  Combine with raisins, custard powder, cinnamon and sugar.

(Toss until all of the apples are evenly coated.)  Spread the filling over the pastry base.

Roll out the rest of the pastry and cut into 1 cm/1/2 strips.  I had a hard time.  My dough wasn't cold enough. 
Do a better job than I did, but arrange in a crisscross pattern on top of the apple mixture, pressing the pastry edges together.

Bake about 45 minutes
until golden brown.  Remove from the oven and
glaze with apricot jam.
Allow to cool in the cake tin for 10 minutes.

Remove from tin and serve.



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