If you were to choose one pie that would define baking in the Netherlands, it would be this apple tart. You'll find it at every bakery and on most menus. And it's likely one of the options you can choose from at a birthday. Probably everyone has baked this at least once in their lives. And even families that never bake will probably have a family recipe lying around. This is mine.
Well, to be honest, it's not actually a family recipe. I adapted it from my first cookbook when I was thirteen years old. Yes, even then I couldn't just follow a recipe. Back then we had an apple tree in our garden, and every couple of years it would give us so many apples, that we would bake apple tarts for an entire day, ending up with a freezer drawer full. I would make the dough, my father and brother would peel and dice the apples, sprinkling them generously with sugar, cinnamon and raisins.
Nearly twenty years later, I still use the same recipe but I've omitted the raisins and reduced the sugar. Simply because I'm not fond of raisins and I prefer my baked goods to be less sweet. And I added a little bit of cinnamon to the dough, which was a stroke of genius if I may say so myself. It's best when it's still warm with some whipped cream on the side. Although I will allow you to put the whipped cream on top if you must. Happy baking!
- Put 300g flour, 200g butter, 100g sugar, a pinch of salt, and 1tsp cinnamon in your food processor. Mix until it has turned into a fine crumb.
- Whisk 1 egg, and add 3/4 of it to the dough. Do not let the other 1/4 out of your side in case your partner decides to clean up the kitchen and throws out the egg because they think you've finished with it. Trust me, this is important.
- Mix the egg into the dough until it just comes together. Form the dough into a ball, wrap with cling film, and place in your refrigerator.
- Put 50g sugar and 1tsp cinnamon in a mixing bowl, and combine.
- Peel and cut the apples. To prevent the pieces from turning brown, peel and dice 1 apple, then mix the pieces with the sugar and cinnamon. Repeat three times.
- Preheat your oven to 175ᵒC.
- Butter a 24cm spring form.
- Divide the dough. You'll need about 1/4 for the top. The other 3/4 is for the bottom and the sides.
- Make the pie base by covering the bottom and the sides of the spring form with dough. The dough is quite crumbly, so it's easiest to push it out with your hands.
- Place a thin layer of fine bread crumbs on the bottom.
- Add the cinnamon sugar covered apple pieces.
- Roll out the remaining 1/4 of the dough, and cut into strips.
- Make a lattice with the dough strips on top of the apple filling. It doesn't matter if the dough breaks and you have to piece them together again. It's supposed to look handmade and a bit rustic.
- Brush a thin layer of egg over the lattice.
- Place the spring form into the preheated oven, and bake for 1 hour.
- When your pie is ready, remove it from the oven, and let it cool slightly on a rack before removing the side of the spring form.
- Slice the pie into pieces, and serve with whipped cream, vanilla ice cream, cinnamon ice cream, or all of the above. Enjoy!