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”!
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