APPELTAART: SWEET-CRUSTED APPLE PIE
About 8 servings
Adapted from Winkel, Amsterdam
Apple pies of this type abound in Holland, especially in Amsterdam, where a café called Winkel on the Nordermarkt square, not far from the train station, is reputed to produce the best one in town. A deep, straight-sided pan is lined with richly-sweet dough and filled with a lightly cooked apple mixture enriched with sugar, butter, rum, raisins, and currants. The top of the pie is covered with a lattice crust. It is usually served warm with a hefty helping of whipped cream on the side. Winkel has a captive audience in the Nordermarkt where there are flea markets and flower markets on designated days of the week. Shoppers, tired from making the rounds of the many sale booths often stop by for a fortifying slice of the pie and some great Dutch coffee. I’ve succumbed many times to the seduction of Winkel’s famous pie and have recreated the recipe here from my recollections of tasting it during several trips to Amsterdam.
One deep 9-inch pie, about 12 servings
SWEET PASTRY DOUGH
3 cups all-purpose flour (spoon flour into dry-measure cup and level off)
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold, cut into 12 pieces
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
3 large eggs
1/2 cup (about 2 1/2 ounces) dark raisins
1/2 cup (about 2 1/2 ounces) dried currants
3 tablespoons dark rum
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
2 1/2 pounds Golden Delicious apples, peeled, halved, cored, and sliced
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
One 9-inch spring form pan 2 1/2 inches deep, buttered
1. For the dough: combine the dry ingredients in a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Pulse several times to mix. Add the butter and pulse repeatedly until it mixed in finely. Add the lemon zest and eggs; pulse until the dough forms a ball. Invert the dough to a floured work surface, carefully remove the blade and form the dough into a rough cylinder. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate it while preparing the filling. You may keep the dough refrigerated for up to 2 days before continuing.
2. For the filling: Combine the raisins, currants, and rum in a small bowl and stir well to mix. Set aside while cooking the apples.
3. Melt the butter in a wide sauté pan and add the apples. Cook over medium high heat until the apples reduce by about a third from their original volume, tossing them in the pan or gently stirring with a wooden spoon, about 10 minutes. Scrape the apple into a bowl and cool them.
4. After the apples have cooled, stir in the lemon juice, sugar, cinnamon, and the macerated raisins and currants along with any rum not already absorbed.
5. When you are ready to bake the pie, set a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.
6. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and gently knead it on a floured surface until it is smooth and malleable. Use a bench scraper or a knife to cut off 3/4 of the dough. Form the larger piece of dough into a disk and place it on a floured surface. Flour the dough and roll it to a 14-inch disk. Fold the dough in quarters and transfer it to the prepared pan, lining up the point with the center of the pan. Unfold the dough into the pan and press it well against the bottom and sides of the pan. Use a bench scraper or the back of a knife to trim away any excess dough at the top rim of the pan.
7. Scrape the filling into the prepared crust and smooth the top. The filling will be below the top of the crust – this is remedied later on.
8. Roll the remaining piece of dough to a 9-inch square. Use a serrated or plain pizza wheel to cut the dough into 10 3/4-inch strips. Place a strip on the center of the filling, lining it up with the diameter of the pan. Pinch away the ends of the strip so that the dough is on the filling, but not adhered to the edge of the bottom crust. Repeat with 4 more strips, arranging them about 3/4 inch apart on either side of the first one. Repeat with the remaining 5 strips of dough, arranging them at a 45-degree angle to the first ones. Use a table knife to loosen the dough on the side of the pan and fold it over onto the top crust to form a border.
9. Bake the pie for about an hour, or until the crust is baked through and the filling is gently bubbling.
10. Cool the pie on a rack.
11. Remove the side of the spring form pan and slide the pie of the pan base onto a platter. You may need to use a long, thin spatula or knife to loosen the pie from the pan base. Serve the pie warm or at room temperature with some whipped cream.