The Dominance of the Fancy Foreign Apple


The problem with Appeltaart (Apple Pie) is, that it is so easily overlooked. A pure delicacy, made only from apples (in this case ‘Boskoop’ apples), flour, sugar, and butter. Ok, some raisins too. Simple ingredients, nothing fancy. Maybe there lies the problem. It is so simple and ordinary to make, that people forget that it’s even an option. Sure, we think of fancy foreign apples: Apple Crumble, Apfelstrudel, or even the French tarte tatin. But the good old Dutch (“OudHollandse”) appeltaart, bites the dust. As speciality of granny’s the world over (in this case the Dutch very small world, from Groningen to Berkel-Enschot), it has a little bit of a dusty image, I must admit. Although I can’t remember that my real grandmother ever made apple pie, she did make appelmoes (applesauce) and the most delicious french fries, but that’s a different story entirely. Anyway, my surrogate granny / second mother / my babysitter, did. The best appeltaart, I ever ate. She always made a whole bunch of them, put them in the friezer (she must have had two) and got them out whenever visitors turned up unexpectantly. Nothing beats a ‘fresh’ apple tart, a little frosty from the interior still. Even I forgot about this wonder of geometric perfection and cinnamon combined. It was not untill a request was made by a fellow writer and rolemodel, after I had promised her home-made cake just one time too many. “Oudhollandse appeltaart please”, and I did what had been asked. Now I promise myself not to forget about appeltaart, not anymore.

For a simple recipe: mix 250 grams of flour, 175 grams of butter, 80 grams of sugar, 1,5 egg (1/2 egg for pimping up the pie later) and a teaspoon (as always, if you like more: more!) of cinnamon together and mix untill a nice big hump of dough. For the filling: 1kg (or 3 big ones) of apples (I used Boskoop, or Goudreinetten) cut into in fairly small pieces, 50 grams of sugar, 70 grams of raisins/sultanas and 3 teaspoon of cinnamon: mix together in a bowl. If you have the time, the apple-mixture gets even better if you let it stand in the fridge overnight; all the flavours mix together wonderfully. Cover the bottom and sides of a greased springform (24cms, or a smaller one like mine, which makes 2 pies!) with 2/3rd of the dough (you can of course role it until a big lap, but you can also, like me, just make a little bit of a messy sculptureparty by putting in pieces of dough one by one..untill the form is covered), and fill the form with the apple mixture. To top it off: cut small stripes from the remaining 1/3rd of the dough, and make them into a nice geometrical patron (‘ruitjesmotief’). Cover/Smear the dough with the remaining egg, to give the pie a wonderfull, happy glow at the end. 60-65 minutes in a preheated oven of 170 degrees Celsius, and believe me: you will feel incredably rewarded, and old, and wise at the same time. Just like granny. Enjoy!