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.
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.
A Dutch Apple Tart is different than an American Apple pie. It 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.
As with 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.
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.
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”!
- 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
- grated zest from 1 lemon
- 2 1/2 sticks (10 oz, 280g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 1 large egg, whisked
- 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
- 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
- Combine the flour, sugars, 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.
- 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
Assemble the Tart
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- To unmold the tart, run a knife around the edge to make sure the crust isn't sticking and then release the pan.
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".
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