The epicentre of the appeltaart is the Café Winkel 43 on Noordermarkt in the Jordaan district of Amsterdam. Winkel is called out by every local tourist guide as the place to get the best appeltaart in all of Amsterdam. When we visited the city, we did not visit Winkel became of the enormous queues of tourists … in February. However, we did try appeltaart in another café and realised that Dutch apple pie is not made like other apple pies. It is its own thing entirely.
Apple pie has been around for centuries. The first record of a Dutch recipe comes from 1514 in Notabel Boecxken van Cokeryen. Over time, the appeltaart has evolved, but it remains a solid staple of Dutch bakery.
When we came to make appeltaart, we leant on three resources to get it right. The pastry is a standard pate sucre with the white sugar swapped out for brown. We followed Marie at Food Nouveau for the basics, and used the speculaaskruiden recipe from Rutger Bakt. The result is a close as you will ever get to a Winkel Café appeltaart at home.
- For the pastry:
- 650g plain flour
- 325g butter cubed
- 250g brown sugar
- Pinch salt
- 2 eggs
- For the speculaaskruiden:
- 8 tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 tsp ground cloves
- 2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 tsp ground coriander seed
- 1 tsp ground aniseed
- 1 tsp ginger powder
- 0.75 tsp ground cardamom
- For the filling:
- 6 Braeburn apples, peeled cored and cut into cubes
- 4 Pink Lady apples, peeled cored and cut into cubes
- 1 tbsp orange zest
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- Juice of half a lemon
- 75g brown sugar
- 2 tsp speculaaskruiden (see above)
- 1tbsp cornflour
- 2 tbsp calvados
- 65g sultanas
- 65g walnuts, chopped
- To bake:
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 egg, beaten with a tiny pinch of salt
To make the pastry:
Cream the sugar and butter in a food processor. Add the flour, run the mixer and then add the eggs. The mixture should come together. If not, then add a tiny amount of very cold water. Scrape out, ball and wrap.
To make the filling:
Simple combine all the ingredients in a bowl.
To assemble and bake:
Heat an oven to 190˚C.
Grease a springform cake tin with butter and line the base with a circle to baking paper. Put the tin on a baking sheet to catch any leaks during baking.
Reserve a quarter of the pastry for the lid. Using your hands, push chunks of the remaining pastry into the bottom and sides of the cake tin until it is fully and evenly lined.
Pour in the filling and press down a little.
Crumble up the remaining pastry into small pieces and dot all over the top of the pie. Then press and spread the dots to form a closed lid over the filling. Use a spatula if that helps.
Brush the pie with the beaten egg and sprinkle over with brown sugar and some more chopped walnuts. Pit the tin and its tray in the oven for 45 mins. If the pastry is getting dark at this point, loosely cover the pie with tin foil to prevent burning. Cook for a further 30 mins.
Take the pie out of the oven and stick a skewer in it. The apples should be soft. If not, return and bake another 10 mins or so.
Once done, remove the pie from the oven, discard the foiled and allow to cool in its tin for at least 3 hours. It is essential it is fully cool before it is released from its tin. Release with a small spatula and present on a flat plate.