A traditional Dutch apple pie recipe is made with a crumbly, buttery crust, a sweet apple filling, and a lace pattern on top. The cinnamon in this recipe makes it the perfect fall dessert.
Where was apple pie invented?
You can find recipes for apple pie in European cookbooks since as early as medieval times. One of the first known Dutch recipes was written in 1514 and can be found in ‘een notable boecxken van cokereyen’ but this is not the oldest recipe out there. The first known recipe for apple pie was written in England in 1381. In this recipe, they add figs, pears, and spices like nutmeg and mace to the apples.
Modern recipes for apple pie in the Netherlands are slightly different from most recipes dating from before WW II. Older recipes tell you to bake the apples or even boil them to a puree before adding them to your crust. Another thing that is different is that older recipes usually only have a top crust and no bottom which they removed before eating.
But what is a real Dutch apple pie you say? I first came across recipes that use uncooked apples in Dutch cookbooks dating from after WW II and recipes like this are still how they are made in the Netherlands.
Another popular apple pie in the Netherlands is the appelkruimeltaart. This apple pie has a crumb topping (kruimels) and is more like what they call Dutch apple pie in the USA.
But what about the rest of the world?
Apple pie was brought to North America by European settlers. When the first settlers arrived in North America in the 17th century they brought some apple seeds with them. Since the apple tree is not native to North America they hoped by bringing seeds and cuttings they could take their loved ingredients with them. The first American recipe was published in 1796 by Amelia Simmons in her cookbook ‘American cookery’ and it included two recipes for this pie. The recipes in that cookbook give you the ingredients but not how you make the pie. Soon after the settlers arrived apple pie became a staple in American cuisine. Phrases like for mom and apple pie and as American as apple pie show how much this pie is loved.
The main difference between traditional Dutch apple pie vs American apple pie is the crust. In the USA they use a closed top crust made of flaky dough where the Dutch use ‘harde wener’ pastry which is less flaky and more crumbly.
In the 19th century, another amazing apple pie was invented in France, the tarte Tatin. This pie is made by putting the apples, or other fruit, in the pie pan first and putting the bottom crust on top of the fruit. This gives the fruit a lovely caramel coating.
How to make a traditional Dutch apple pie
You might have noticed that in my recipe for apple pie, you won't find any raisins. The reason for this is that I really don't like them. If you do love raisins, add about 60 grams of soaked raisins or currants to the apples at step 5. In many old cookbooks, they add nutmeg or ginger to the apples, this is very good! You could also try adding some speculaas spices to the crust.
Mix the flour, sugar, salt together in a large bowl. Add the egg and diced butter and work it in the flour with your hands until it starts to resemble breadcrumbs.
Knead the dough a little, form it into a ball, wrap the dough in plastic wrap, and put it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. You can use it straight away if it is not too soft.
While the dough is resting you can peel, core, and dice the apples. Add the sugar and cinnamon to the apples and set them aside.
Take the dough out of the fridge and roll out ⅔ on a well-floured counter to 4-5 mm. place the dough in the springform and press it down.
Add the apples and spread them evenly.
Roll out the rest of the dough and form strips. Place the strips over the apples and brush a little egg wash over the top.
Bake your apple pie for about 60 minutes until golden.
- If you want the most traditional pie you can add 60 grams of (rum) soaked raisins or currants to the apples before baking.
- Many old recipes include nutmeg or ginger. Add ½ tsp to the apples if you want to try this.
- Another amazing variation is adding some speculaas spices to the crust! I will link my recipe below.
- To prevent a soggy bottom you can sprinkle some breadcrumbs or custard powder over the crust before putting in the apples.
- Another way to prevent the bottom from going soft is to mix the sugar with the apples and let it rest for a few minutes so the juices can come out.
- You can add a little lemon juice to the apples to prevent them from turning brown.
- Freeze your apple pie for up to 3 months.
- You can keep the dough in the freezer for about 3 months.
Ingredients you will need
- Apples - I always use Elstar but Jonagold, Granny Smith, and Honeycrisp are also used in apple pie.
- Butter - use unsalted butter salt since you will add this later. You can use margarine if you are lactose intolerant or if you want to make a vegan apple pie.
- Flour - regular white all-purpose flour will work best for this recipe.
- Sugar - regular white granulated sugar but you can use brown sugar as well.
- Cinnamon - this gives your apple filling a sweet warm flavor.
A little pie Q&A
Not really. If you plan to eat the apple pie the same day or the day after, it is best to keep it covered at room temperature. You can keep it covered with plastic wrap in the fridge for 2-3 days, but the crust can get a bit softer.
Traditionally Jonagold is used for Dutch apple pies but I prefer a sweeter apple like an Elstar so I don't have to use so much sugar. Other apples you can use are Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, and Honeycrisp.
Sure! If you want to make a vegan apple pie you can replace the butter with vegan butter, shortening, coconut oil, or margarine. You can omit the egg and add a little oat milk (almond milk or coconut milk would also work!).
Dutch apple pie will keep for 2-3 days in the fridge and up to 6 months in the freezer.
Other Dutch recipes you will love!
- 300g (2.5 cups) all-purpose flour
- 200g (⅞ cup / 7 oz) butter
- 140g (⅔ cups) sugar
- 1 egg
- ½ tsp salt
The pie filling
- 5 apples, I like to use Elstars
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 30g (2 tbsp) sugar
- Preheat your oven to 170°C (325°F)
- Prepare a 24 cm (9 inch) springform.
- In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, and salt together.
- Add the diced butter and ¾ of the egg and work it into the flour until it starts to resemble breadcrumbs.
- Knead the dough a little, form it into a ball, wrap the dough in plastic wrap, and put it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. You can use the dough straight away if it's not too soft.
- Peel the apples and cut them into quarters.
- Slice the apple quarters, put them in a bowl and add the sugar and cinnamon.
- Take ⅔ of your dough out of the fridge and roll it out on a well-floured counter to 4-5 mm (you can skip this past by just pressing the dough in your springform with your fingers).
- Place the dough into your springform and press it down.
- Add your apples and spread them evenly.
- Take the leftover dough and form strips by either rolling the dough and cutting strips or take little pieces of the dough, form 'snakes', and press them flat (that is what I, and most Dutch people do).
- Lay the strips on your pie and seal them together by pressing the ends to your crust.
- Brush the leftover egg over the top and bake the pie for about 60 minutes until golden.
- If you want the most traditional pie you can add 60 grams of (rum) soaked
raisins or currants to the apples before baking.
- Add some spices like nutmeg or ginger to the apples
- Try adding some speculaas spices to the crust!
- Sprinkle a layer of breadcrumbs, panko, or custard powder on the bottom of your pie before baking to prevent a 'soggy bottom.'
- Add a little lemon juice to the apples to prevent them from turning brown.
- Freeze your baked apple pie wrapped in plastic wrap for up to 3 months. You can also freeze the leftover dough.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 182Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 40mgSodium: 189mgCarbohydrates: 25gNet Carbohydrates: 0gFiber: 3gSugar: 11gSugar Alcohols: 0gProtein: 2g