A couple of days ago I tried to recreate The Apple Pie of Death that Manuela and I ate one ill-fated morning in Amsterdam. Unbeknownst to us, we had stumbled upon perhaps the best apple pie in Amsterdam. Ok, that morning it did us no favours, but I did insist even in my heightened state of discomfort that on any other day that piece of apple pie would totally rock – it had just the right combination of chunky, softened (but not dissolved) buttery cinnamony apple pieces, encased in really delicious short pastry (so short it was almost like a crumble base). And warm! And fresh! That warm apple pie smell was wafting out the door and into the market outside – no wonder we were drawn in.
So I did a little research and found a few recipes, one of which I followed loosely (thanks Lynn from The Amsterdam Files!). I had a little trouble with the self-raising flour issue – Switzerland doesn't have it, so I just added one tsp of baking powder and (bad move) 1/2 tsp of salt per cup of flour – that was too much salt.
Verdict: it all turned out perfectly, except the pastry was strangely salty – doh! However, it actually wasn't too bad, the combination of salty and sweet 🙂 At least, that's what Bruno said…
I think next time I would reduce the cooking time as my pie was a bit drier than Cafe Winkel's, and I remember what I loved about Winkel's pie was that it was beautifully tender and short. Oh, and reduce the salt in the pastry. Otherwise – love it. Also looks quite impressive – there weren't any complaints from the neighbourhood crew when I served it for dessert on Wednesday (they probably all dashed off home for long tall drinks of water, though).
Update: today I baked the last of the gigantic amount of pastry (the recipe made a huge amount) for a strawberry tart. Reduced the cooking time and didn't let it cool completely uncovered (so it didn't dry out too much). Perfect! Made up for the awful sushi I made…:)
PS. On the topic of Amsterdam – if you are looking for a nice place to eat in Amsterdam, try Toscanini's. It was delicious (thanks, Andy!).
Dutch Apple Pie of Death (with thanks to Lynn)
600g self-raising flour, or 600g plain flour with 4 tsp baking powder and 1 tsp salt (this is the adjusted reduced amount of salt)
350g softened butter (real unsalted butter, please)
250g soft brown sugar (it was worth breaking into my secret stash)
2 eggs, plus 1 egg yolk
8 apples – 6 firm apples ie Braeburn, and 2 cooking apples ie Golden Delicious
zest of 1 lemon and 1 orange
small glass of brandy
2 tsp cinnamon
good grating of fresh nutmeg
– Beat butter and sugar with beaters and then add eggs.
– Sift flour (and baking powder and salt, if using) twice, add to butter, egg and sugar.
– Mix to a soft dough, form into a ball and leave to rest in the friedge while you make the filling.
– Peel and chop apples into big chunks. Mix with an extra spoonful or so of sugar and brandy. Add lemon and orange zests.
– melt a little butter in a saucepan, add apples and cinnamon and nutmeg, bring to the boil and cook for a couple of minutes only.
– Butter a large spring-form pan and line the bottom with baking paper. Roll out the pastry between two sheets of lightly-floured plastci wrap and line the tin (try not to make it too thick or too thin). You should have plenty of pastry dough left over.
– Pile in the apples, leaving behind as much liquid as possible.
– Roll out the remaining dough and cut out thin strips to make the cross-hatch effect.
– Brush with egg yolk, and bake at 175 degrees C for 70 minutes, or until golden and risen.
– Leave to cool for a while before attempting to remove spring-form pan. Keep covered if you aren;t eating straight-away so that it doesn't dry out.
– Consume FOR DESSERT (not breakfast), with billows of freshly whipped cream – lovely.