Traditional Dutch apple pie (appeltaart) with a sky-high crumbly crust, spiced apple filling and topped with fresh whipped cream.
What is Dutch Apple Pie?
Dutch apple pie (appeltaart) is widely popular in the Netherlands. Every bakery, restaurant or cafe serves Dutch apple pie with fresh whipped cream and a good cup of coffee. It is served for a mid-morning or afternoon treat and is great for any occasion or gathering. With its tall crumbly crust, thick apple filling and a large dollop of whipped cream, it’s no wonder it is the preferred dessert in the Netherlands. In fact, any time I offer to bake for my husband’s colleagues the request is always the same…apple pie. So if you happen to be in the Netherlands, be sure to order a slice of appeltaart. However, you don’t have to travel that far to get a taste of this wonderful Dutch apple pie.
A typical Dutch apple pie (appeltaart):
- has a tall, thick, sweet crumbly crust
- baked in a spring form pan
- filled high with loads of cinnamon apples
- has a lattice pie top
Dutch apple pie varies from American apple pie in a number of ways. It’s baked in a spring-form pan, has a thicker filling and the crust is not flaky but more of a crumbly (almost cookie like) crust. And the “Dutch apple pies” served in the United States, while I’m sure tasty are not very Dutch.
How to Make a Dutch Apple Pie
Every family has their own recipe for Dutch apple pie. My Dutch language teacher shared her tips and tricks to making the perfect appeltaart. To make the Dutch apple pie, you follow these steps:
- Make the dough
- Chill the dough
- Divide the dough into 3 parts
- Prepare the filling
- Cover the pan with the dough
- Sprinkle oats over the bottom of the pie dough
- Add the apple filling
- Add the lattice dough to the top of the filling
When working with the dough, make sure that it stays cold. After making the dough, chill it for at least 30 minutes in the fridge. As you work with it, the dough will become warmer. If for instance the dough gets too warm when you are trying to create the lattice top, pop it back into the fridge for a bit and start again once the dough is cooled.
There are two techniques I tried when filling the pie pan with the dough. Either one is fine but I preferred pressing it into the pan. Some days my kitchen is extremely hot and the rolling technique was challenge as the dough warmed up. If you notice that your dough is too sticky, you can always just add a sprinkle of flour (about a tablespoon at a time).
- Pressing into the pan: Divide the dough into three parts. Use one part of the dough to cover the bottom of the pan by pressing it into the pan with your hands. Use the second part to press it along the sides of the pan. Just keep working it into the pan until you get a consistent layer around the pan. Use the last part to roll out, cut strips and form the lattice top.
- Rolling the dough: Roll the dough out to about 11-12 inches diameter and about 1/4 inch thick. Then lay the dough into the springform pan and gently press it into the bottom and sides. Use a knife to cut off any excess dough. Re-roll the excess dough out to the same thickness, cut strips, and form the lattice top.
Lattice Pie Crust
To make the lattice pie crust, you roll the dough out to about 1/4 inch thick and cut long strips about 1.5 centimeters wide. Then place the strips crosswise over the cake in a grid shape. With the extra strips of dough, you can place a strip all along the edge of pie. Don’t worry about getting too fancy with the lattice. The lattice top is just leaving space so that air can get into the pie and thoroughly cook the apples.
If you want to get fancy with your basket weaving, Sally’s Baking Addiction has a great tutorial on making a lattice pie crust.
Tips and Troubleshooting
Runny apple pie. Under cooked apples. Soggy bottoms. I get it. Apple pies can be a pain. After many failed attempts and a lot of researching, let me spare you some agony.
- Pick the right apples – Choosing the right apples matters. Typically you want to use a sweet and sour apple. For this recipe, I used Jonagold apples. When I lived in the U.S., I used a mix of Honeycrisp apples and one Granny Smith apple. You want an apple that can stand the heat of baking without turning into mush, but also ones that soften while cooking. I’ve used certain varieties that no matter how long I baked them, the apples remained firm. You may have to play around with the variety of apples but these are the ones that have worked for me.
- Let the filling sit for a bit – The whole point of this is to reduce the juice that is going into the pie. If you just throw all the filling in the pie and bake it right away, there will be too much moisture coming off the apples. The easiest way I have found is to simply let the filling sit for a bit. Cut your apples, add the spices and sugars and set it aside for at least 30 minutes. You’ll see the juice at the bottom of the bowl. I add the apple filling to the pie and discard the juice.
- Cover the bottom with quick oats – To help prevent a soggy bottom, you sprinkle a bit of quick oats before adding the filling. They help soak up the moisture from the apples.
- Check the apples for doneness – While it’s baking, you’ll want to check the apples to see if they are done. You can use a toothpick to prick the apples. If it goes through the apples fairly easy, you know it’s done. If they are hard as a rock, simply bake it for another 15 minutes and check it again.
For more apple pie tips, check out King Arthur’s article on how to prevent runny apple pie.
My oldest son picking Jonagold apples at a Dutch apple farm in Zeeland.
Dutch Apple Pie
- 1 cup sugar (200 g)
- 2 1/4 cup self rising flour (300 g)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 stick plus 6 tablespoons cold cubed butter (200 g)
- 2 large eggs (1 for dough and 1 for egg wash)
- 1 Zest from a medium lemon
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 5-6 large sweet and sour apples (1 kilo measured whole)
- juice from 1/2 lemon
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar (90 g)
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons quick oats (15 g)
For the Dough:
- In a stand mixer or using a handheld mixer, mix the sugar, self rising flour and salt together.
- Dice the cold butter into cubes and add to the flour mixture. Mix until it becomes crumbly like sand or breadcrumbs. You can also do this with a food processor or your hands.
- Then add the egg, zest and vanilla. Mix for about 1 minute on medium speed just until the dough comes together into a smooth dough. If your dough is too sticky and not coming together, add 1 tablespoon of flour until it is no longer sticky.
- Form the dough into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill the dough for at least 30 minutes.
For the Filling:
- While the dough is chilling, prepare the filling. To prepare the filling, peel and core the apple. Then chop the apples into thin 1/4" slices.
- Place the sliced apples in a large mixing bowl.
- Then add the juice from half of a lemon, brown sugar and the cinnamon. Toss together to make sure the mixture coats the apples.
- Let the apple filing sit at room temperature while you prepare the pie dough.
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees (170 c)
- On a floured surface, roll out two-thirds of the dough into a round 11 inch (30 cm) diameter.
- Spray an 8 inch spring-form pan with non-stick baking spray.
- Use the dough to cover the bottom and edges of the pan. Use your hands to lightly press the dough into the pan. If the dough breaks, you can use your hands to work the dough and completely cover the bottom and edges.
- Sprinkle the quick oats on the bottom of the pan. The oats will absorb the moisture from the apples.
- Add the apple mixture to the pan.
- Roll out the rest of the dough to about 1/4 inch thick. Cut long strips about 1/2 inch wide and place them crosswise over the cake. With any extra strips of dough, use them to finish the edge around the pie. If the dough becomes to hot or sticky, just wrap it back in the cling wrap and chill until it become cold again. If the dough is too hot, it will be difficult to make the decorative top.
- Beat an egg and brush the top of the pie dough with the egg wash.
- Bake for 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, check if the top is golden brown. If so, add a layer of aluminium foil to the top to prevent burning. Continue baking for another 15 minutes. Check the apples by pricking them with a toothpick. If they are still hard, bake for another 15 minutes. Total bake time should be around 1 hour and 15 minutes.
- Let the pie cool. Remove the sides of the springform. Slice and serve with whipped cream.