Dutch Apple Tart (appeltaart) is made with a brown sugar cookie crust & a simple apple filling. This authentic recipe is from my Dutch mother-in-law.
My husband moved from The Netherlands to the US after college and every once in a while he craves a taste of home.
This recipe is based on one that my husband xeroxed from his mom’s old cookbook. To adapt it for the US kitchen I converted the metric measurements to cups and ounces and used ingredients available to American bakers.
Otherwise, the recipe is very similar to how my mother-in-law made it since, probably, the 1950s.
How Dutch Apple Tart is different than American Apple Pie:
A Dutch Apple Tart is different than an American Apple pie, and it’s definitely not what most Americans call a Dutch Apple Pie. What is known in America as Dutch Apple Pie is an apple pie with a crumb topping.
Dutch Apple Tart has a cookie-type crust and is baked in a spring form pan rather than a pie pan. The filling is simply apples with sugar and a little cinnamon. There’s no thickener in the filling so the juices are reabsorbed into the apples and the crust as it cools.
- Apples – A firm apple that doesn’t fall apart when baked works best. Granny Smith is a good option that is widely available.
- Sugar – The Dutch recipe calls for a type of sugar that we don’t get here in the US, so this recipe uses a mixture of brown and granulated sugar to get a similar result.
- Bread Crumbs – The Dutch would use “beschuit”, which is a type of dry rusk toast to soak up the juice from the apples. This recipe employs dry bread crumbs for the same purpose.
How to make Dutch Apple Tart (appeltaart)
- Whip the whites to full peak. Whisk in the yolks and vanilla.
- Sift the over the batter and gently fold it in.
- Fold just until all the flour is incorporated. Do not overmix.
- Pipe the cookies onto the prepared baking sheet into 4″ long x 2″ wide “fingers”.
- Lightly sprinkle the tops of the cookies with powdered sugar.
- Bake until light brown and spongy about 10-12 minutes. Cool completely.
- Cook the custard over medium/low heat, stirring constantly, until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
- Pour the custard into a clean bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold.
- Sandwich the ladyfingers with the preserves.
- Cut a ladyfinger sandwich in half, lengthwise.
- Stand the ladyfingers on end, with the cut side to the outside of a glass trifle bowl. Continue cutting and arranging the ladyfingers until the entire perimeter of the bowl is lined with a “striped” pattern.
- Use half of the remaining uncut cookies to the line bottom of the bowl. You can break them up to fit pieces into any gaps between the cookies.
- Sprinkle a ½ cup of the sherry over the cookies on the bottom and sides of the bowl. Pour half of the custard into the bowl. Arrange the remaining cookies over the custard and sprinkle with the remaining sherry.
- Pour the other half the custard into the bowl.
- Top the trifle with whipped cream and refrigerate at least 6 hours (preferably overnight) before serving.
- Combine the dry ingredients with lemon zest in a mixing bowl.
- With the mixer running, add the butter and mix until it looks like crumbs.
- Add the egg.
- Mix until the dough comes together.
- Divide the dough into 2/3 and 1/3 pieces and refrigerate until firm.
- Toss the sliced apples with sugar and cinnamon.
- Roll the larger portion of dough to fit a 9″ springform pan.
- Fit the dough into the pan. If the soft dough breaks apart just piece it back together, ensuring there are no gaps in the dough.
- Sprinkle dry bread crumbs into the pan.
- Pour the apples into the pan.
- Roll the smaller portion of dough to a 10″ by 14″ rectangle. Cut the dough into 1″ strips.
- Lay the strips in a lattice pattern over the apples. You can weave the lattice or simply lay them in a criss-cross pattern. Either way it bakes up with a pretty top.
- Cut the dough from the sides to be level with the top.
- Brush the tart with egg wash and sprinkle with granulated sugar.
- Bake until the apples in the center are tender.
Pastry Chef tips for making a great Dutch Apple Tart:
- You may want to adjust the amount of sugar in the filling based on your taste and the flavor of your apples.
- The crust comes together like a cookie dough. It may be quite soft right after mixing so it’s best to chill it before rolling. The dough can be made ahead and refrigerated for 2-3 days or frozen for a month.
- There’s a good chance the dough will break apart as you transfer it to the pan. It’s fine to just smoosh it back together to fill the pan.
The tart is best the day it’s baked, but keeps well for 2-3 days at room temperature. Leftovers can be refrigerated for a week or frozen for up to a month. I like to microwave a slice for just 10-15 seconds to warm up the apples a little.
As they say in Holland, “eet smakelijk”!
If you love this recipe as much as I do, I’d really appreciate a 5-star review.
Dutch Apple Tart (Appeltaart)
- 15 oz all purpose flour (3 cups)
- 4 oz granulated sugar (½
- 4 oz light brown sugar (½ cup)
- ½ teaspoon table salt
- 1 lemon (finely grated zest)
- 10 oz unsalted butter (room temperature)
- 1 large egg (whisked)
- 3 pounds tart apples (peeled and cored)
- 5 oz granulated sugar (½ cup plus 2 tablespoons)
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 oz dry bread crumbs (¼ cup)
- 1 large egg (whisked for egg wash)
- Preheat the oven to 325 °F. Liberally butter a 9" spring form pan.
Make the Dough
- Combine 15 oz all purpose flour, 4 oz granulated sugar, 4 oz light brown sugar, ½ teaspoon table salt and finely grated zest from 1 lemon in a mixing bowl. With the mixer running, toss in 10 oz unsalted butter and mix until thoroughly combined. With the mixer running, add 1 large egg and mix just until it forms a dough.
- Dump the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead together if there's any loose flour left. Split the dough into 2 uneven pieces, ⅔ and ⅓. Wrap the dough and chill it for at least a hour for it to firm up.
- Roll the ⅔ portion of the dough into a 16" round. Lift the dough onto the rolling pin and unroll over the pan. The dough may break apart but you can just piece it together to line the pan.
Assemble the Tart
- Cut 3 pounds tart apples into quarters and slice each quarter into ¼" thick slices. Toss the sliced apples with 5 oz granulated sugar and ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon. Sprinkle 1 oz dry bread crumbs into the bottom of the tart shell and then pour the apples over the bread crumbs. The pan will be about ⅔ – ¾ full.
- Brush the inside of the tart shell from the apples up with egg wash. Roll the remaining ⅓ portion of the dough into a 10" x 14" rectangle. Use a pizza cutter or sharp knife to cut the dough into 1" wide strips. Arrange the strips in a lattice pattern over the apples. You don't need to actually weave the lattice, just lay the strips on top of each other. Trim the excess dough and brush the top of the crust with egg wash. Sprinkle the top of the tart with granulated sugar.
- Place the pan onto a baking sheet and bake for about 1 ¼ hours until the apples in the middle are tender and the juices are bubbling. Cool completely in the pan.
- To unmold the tart, run a knife around the edge to make sure the crust isn't sticking and then release the pan.
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