No, I did not misspell appletart. That’s how you spell it here, people! I am slowly, but surely working all sorts of Dutch words into my vocabulary. As annoying as it sounds, I am even pronuncing Dutch cities with a Dutch accent. Arg! Who have I become! “If you’re talking English, pronounce words in English,” I used to lament. Well, I am trying to learn Dutch and this is the way I am going about it. I am breaking on through to the otherside.
If you ever read a book about the Netherlands, like The Undutchables (thanks Marja!), then you’ll find out that the Dutch love their coffee. Not only do they love coffee, but it must be accompanied by a snack. When you order a cup at a cafe, there is always a dainty cookie (koeke) or sweet chocolate resting on the skirt of the dish. How satisfying these little morsels can be, but if you’re a little hungrier, there are all sorts of cakes and slices to order. The most popular and raved about accompaniment to coffee is the appeltaart.
The first time we came to Delft we were instructed to go to Kobus Kuch to sit on the outdoor patio, order a cappuccino and dig into a slice of appeltaart. Kobus Kuch and everyone else in the city for that matter, claims that they make the best! Well, Arne being the pie lover that he is, bee-lined straight for the Kuch.
Appeltaart is not just a pie. Oh no. It is set in a large, straight-sided “taart” dish and has a more-cakey-less-flaky (wow, I am quite the poet) crust. It is sweet and tender and when it sits for a day the crust turns hard. The best appeltaart has a crust that is hard to break into with you fork, with a center of gooey-tender-sweet apples dotted with raisins. (The picture in my head is minus the raisins, but keep the raisins in your mental picture if you like).
I, of course, had to make this taart. How do you make a crust like that? Well, one day, as I was browsing my fave foodie blogs, I landed on The Wednesday Chef’s version of Darina Allen’s Country Rhubarb Cake. “This is it!” I thought. I also searched the web intensively and found that the only difference between a “pie” and a Dutch “taart” crust was sugar, buttermilk and an egg. The egg being the biggest diff.
At our house, I don’t make the pie. That job is reserved for the man of the house. He is the pie master and has no fear of the flaky concoction. He quickly set to work as I peeled the apples. A trusty wine bottle was used as a rolling pin (when will my boxes come!) and voila – a wonderful twist on a regular old Canadian apple pie. This thick crust should not go untried!
Dutch Appeltaart – Crust from Darina Allen, inside by me!
3 cups all-purpose flour, more for work surface
0.25 teaspoon salt
3 tbsp granulated sugar
0.5 teaspoon baking soda
0.5 cups (or 1 stick) butter, cut into pieces, at cool room temperature
2 eggs (1 for inside the crust, the other to brush onto the crust)
0.5 cup buttermilk
6 apples, peeled and chopped
2 tbsp all purpose flour
1-2 tsp cinnamon
0.25 tsp nutmeg
0.25 cup brown sugar
as many raisins as you want (optional)
Ok, if you have a partner let decide who is making the crust and who is peeling and choppin’ the apples. If you are solo, do the apples first. Put all the chopped apples in a large bowl. Sprinkle with the cinnamon, nutmeg and brown sugar. Toss them about until they are evenly coated. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees farenheit (180 degrees celsius).
For the dough, mix the dry ingredients together. Cut in the butter using a pastry cutter, a fork, or your finger tips until it looks like large cornmeal. Lightly beat the egg and add it along with the buttermilk. Knead briefly and turn out onto a floured surface. It will be quite sticky. Separate into two balls and roll out the bottom and then the top. Line the bottom of a taart plate (or large pie plate) with one.
Before you dump the apples in – here is a tip. Instead of adding the 2 tbsp of flour to the apples listed in the ingredients, use the flour from the counter. You know “the floured surface” flour. Then this stuff doesn’t go to waste. If it’s about 2 tbsp then you are good or add a little if you need to. Now, dump them over the bottom pie sheet. Cover the top of the pie with the other sheet. To give it a great finish, brush the top with a lightly beaten egg.
Bake for about 1 hour and then dig in!