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Dutch Apple Tart (Appeltaart)

I have my Dutch mother-in-law to thank for this Dutch Apple Tart recipe. My husband moved from The Netherlands to the US after college and every once in a while he craves a taste of home.

an overhead shot of a Dutch Apple Tart being sliced

This recipe is based on one that my husband xeroxed from his mom’s old cookbook. To adapt it for the US kitchen I first converted the metric measurements to cups and ounces.

The original recipe called for a type of sugar that we don’t get here in the US, so I used a mixture of brown and granulated sugar to get a similar result. Otherwise, the recipe is pretty much as my mother-in-law has made it since, probably, the 1950s.

original appeltaart recipe from Dutch cookbook

The original recipe copied from Oma’s cookbook.

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 American 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.

two large bags of gold rush apples in a refrigerator

40 pounds of “Gold Rush” apples should take us through the winter.

Tips for making a great Dutch Apple Tart:

  • As with American apple pie, you should use a nice tart apple for the filling. I use “Gold Rush”, my absolute favorite baking apple. Every fall I order them in bulk through our farm share and they keep through the winter. Gold Rush have a firm texture and a good balance of tart and sweet flavor with lovely floral overtones.
  • Granny Smith would probably be the best option from the supermarket, or use your favorite baking apple from a local orchard.
  • You may need 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 shortbread dough. It will look crumbly at first but you can knead it into a dough that can be rolled.
  • If you’re not comfortable rolling a soft dough, you can sprinkle the loose crumbs into the pan and then press them onto bottom and sides of the form. Either way, just be sure the dough is evenly thick all around and there are no gaps or holes in the crust.

crumbly Tart Dough in a mixing bowl

If you do roll the dough it will probably break up a bit as you line the pan. It’s no big deal, just piece it together.

lining a tart pan with crumbly dough

an oven ready dutch apple tart

After the excess dough is trimmed, brush the tart with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar for a nice crunchy top

an overhead shot of a perfect Dutch Apple Tart

a slice of juicy dutch apple tart

The tart keeps well for several days at room temperature. 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”!

Dutch Apple Tart (Appeltaart)

Dutch Apple Tart (Appeltaart)

Yield: 12 slices
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes

A Dutch Apple Tart is different than an American Apple pie. It has a sweet 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.

Ingredients

Tart Dough

  • 3 cups (15 oz, 420g) all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (4 oz, 112g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (4 oz, 112g) light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • finely grated zest from 1 lemon
  • 2 1/2 sticks (10 oz, 280g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 large egg, whisked

Filling/Assembly

  • 3 Pounds (5 large, 1.36kg) tart apples, peeled and cored
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (5 oz, 140g) granulated sugar (or to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup (1 oz, 28g) dry bread crumbs
  • 1 large egg, whisked for egg wash

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. (I don't use convection for this because it tends to brown too much). Liberally butter a 9" spring form pan.

Make the Dough

  1. Combine the flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, salt and lemon zest in a mixing bowl. With the mixer running, toss in the butter and mix until thoroughly combined. With the mixer running, add the egg and mix just until it forms wet crumbs.
  2. Dump the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead together. Reserve 1/3 of the dough for the top of the tart. Roll the remaining 2/3 of the dough into a 16" round. Lift the dough onto the rolling pin and unroll over the pan. The dough will probably break apart but just piece it together to line the pan. If you find rolling this soft dough too difficult you can sprinkle the crumbs into the pan and press into place.

Assemble the Tart

  1. Cut each apple into quarters and slice each quarter into 1/4 thick slices. Toss the sliced apples with the granulated sugar and the cinnamon. Sprinkle the bread crumbs into the bottom of the tart shell and then pour the apples over the bread crumbs. The pan will be about 2/3 - 3/4 full.
  2. Brush the inside of the tart shell from the apples up with egg wash. Roll the remaining dough into a 10" round. 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 (see how to weave a lattice here). Trim the excess dough from the tart and brush the top of the crust with egg wash. Sprinkle the top of the tart with granulated sugar.
  3. Bake for about 1 1/4 hours until the apples in the middle are tender and the juices are bubbling. Cool completely in the pan.
  4. To unmold the tart, run a knife around the edge to make sure the crust isn't sticking and then release the pan.

Notes

The tart keeps for several days at room temperature. If you find rolling this soft dough too difficult you can sprinkle the crumbs into the pan and press into place. Taste the apples and adjust the amount of sugar to your taste. I used "Gold Rush" apples which are a little less tart than "Granny Smith".

Did you make this recipe?

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Kim Siekerman

Monday 30th of August 2021

Hi there, this recipe is from the Margriet cookbook if I remember it right. My mom had it on the inside of the kitchen cabinet door - imagine how often we ate it. One thing: you're using nearly double the amount of flour than in the original recipe, 420 grams is way too much! Not sure if something went awry in the conversion. It's meant to be quite sweet, not shortcrust pastry-like, so you use plenty of butter and sugar too, and don't mix! Chop the butter with two knives through the rest of the dry ingredients and then knead with a cool hand, for as short as possible, as overkneading makes it bready. We never used beschuit, I don't think you need them and breadcrumbs don't quite do the same thing im afraid. Nice adaptation though. For a real Dutch twist: add a teaspoon of speculaas spice!

Kate

Tuesday 10th of November 2020

Hi Eileen! If I'm making this a day ahead in preparation for Thanksgiving, how should I re-heat the whole tart? Thanks!

Eileen Gray

Tuesday 10th of November 2020

You can put it back into the springform pan and warm it in a low oven.

Christine

Friday 11th of October 2019

Hi Eileen, I'm going to try this recipe tomorrow. We told our friends we'd be bringing dessert for (Canadian) Thanksgiving, which is this weekend. Something about basterdsuiker: I usually use light brown sugar to replace it. The thing with Dutch basterdsuiker is that it contains something called invert sugar, an mixture of glucose and fructose that slows crystallization and smooths out the texture of baked goods.. But I'm going to try your mixture of regular and brown sugar, it sounds great.. My mother taught me to grate the apples rather than slice them (she used goudreinetten, over here I like Cortlands). You have to press some juice out before you mix in the sugar and cinnamon, but it's a lovely rich apple flavour and I find it helps with the doneness of the apples in the middle of the taart. Looking forward to it!

Eileen Gray

Friday 11th of October 2019

Thanks for the added info. Brown sugar has molasses in it, which has some invert sugar. I like a mix of white and brown sugar because the white sugar lets the crust crisp up a bit and the brown sugar adds flavor and some of the keeping qualities from the molasses. You can use a mix of dark brown and white sugar to get more of the molasses.

Julie

Tuesday 4th of June 2019

Hello Eileen and thank you for sharing this recipe. I have been trying different recipes for Dutch appeltaart ever since trying my first slice in Amsterdam last year. Your recipe looks amazing but it is the only recipe I have found that uses all purpose rather than self raising flour in the dough. I’m assuming you intend all purpose flour to be used but does it still have a cakey soft texture? Thank you

Eileen Gray

Tuesday 4th of June 2019

Yes, I use all purpose flour intentionally. The crust has more of a cookie texture than a cakey texture.

Morgan

Sunday 25th of November 2018

I've made this twice now, once following the recipe exactly and a second time modifying the method for making the crust. The second time turned out a lot better. I went with a more traditional cookie method, where I creamed the butter, sugar and lemon zest; added the eggs; then added the flour and salt (combined) in three parts. Then I chilled the dough overnight. This resulted in a much more sumptuous and tender crust. The method in the recipe requires you to beat the dickens out of the flour which really overactivates the gluten and makes it tough. I recommend you treat the dough like a cookie!

Eileen

Monday 26th of November 2018

Hi Morgan. I'm glad you adapted the recipe to suit your taste. You don't really need to "beat the dickens" out of the flour, just mix all the ingredients with the butter until the butter is distributed. The gluten is not activated until the liquid (in this case the egg) is added. Up until that point the gluten isn't being developed. This is why most of the mixing happens before the egg goes in and the dough is mixed just until moistened once the egg is added. This method of mixing the dough is the traditional way that sweet dough is made. Creaming the butter and sugar will incorporate air into the dough and change the texture of the tart. If you prefer that texture, great. I'm glad you got a method that works for you, but just wanted to clarify about how the gluten is developed.

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