Dutch Apple Tart, Hollandse Appeltaart. A Dutch tradition, Hollandse Appeltaart consists of a sweet, buttery, shortcrust pastry, filled with apples, currants, and sultana raisins, flavored with lemon zest and cinnamon. It is absolutely delicious and impressive, although not hard to make. Let this tart envelope you with its comforting smell of cinnamon and apples baked in pastry.
Song of the day: Jump - Van Halen
Come with us on our journey through food and culture with our Eat the world group. The Nederlands is the destination for this stop and we are sharing a traditional, popular dessert, the Dutch equivalent of the North American apple pie. It can be considered their national dessert. Every café, restaurant, pub, department store, also every house, have their version of it. Dutch apple tart recipes are more than 500 years old and they are usually passed down from generation to generation, each one with its own slight variation.
Let's Go Dutch
There is a quaint Dutch bakery, called Dutch Delicious, close by our place in Edmonton. It is a combination of a grocery store, deli, bakery, and café all in one. It reminds me so much of Italy and our Alimentari where you find a little bit of everything. Moreover, it is specialized in Dutch and other European products, so it really hits close to home to me. This past winter, when I was still stuck in Rome due to the pandemic, Loreto told me he bought something at the Dutch store that was waiting for me. Eventually, when I was able to go back home to Canada, I found that the surprise was a cookbook called "Let's Go Dutch", by Joanna (van der Zeijst) Bates.
This Dutch Apple Tart, Hollandse Appeltaart is the first thing I made, with slight adaptations, and it won't be the last.
A tart or a pie?
As a matter of fact, the Hollandse Appeltaart is something in between a cake, a pie, and a tart. It has a short pastry crust, sweet and buttery, that is very crunchy and crispy as soon as it is baked, then it softens and gets closer to a cookie/cake texture. It is baked in a springform pan instead of a pie pan or tart pan and shows the filling through a lattice top. Actually, it reminds me of our crostata which instead of being filled with jam is filled with lots of apples, currants, and raisins, scented with cinnamon and lemon zest.
It could not be simpler and yet more delicious. All you need is:
- Sultana raisins
- cane sugar
- lemon zest
I used an apple slicer to peel and slice the apples, then I halved each slice and cut it into little cubes. Into a bowl, the cubes go, together with the currants, sultana raisins, cinnamon, sugar, and lemon zest. There is no cornstarch here and yet I did not end up with the dreaded "soggy bottom". Also, there is no soaking the currants and sultanas in any liquid, they just plump up with the juice from the apples. It is the best filling I have ever had!
- Take the dough out of the fridge. Butter an 8-inch springform pan. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F.
- Place ¾ of the dough in the pan and press it onto the bottom and sides of the springform. Make sure it is thinner at the bottom and thicker on the sides. Then, pour the filling into the dough shell.
- After that, take the remaining dough, flour a work surface, and roll it into long thin ropes to create a lattice design top for the tart. If you have enough dough you can add a rope around the diameter.
- Brush the top with cream or egg-wash.
- Bake for about 40 minutes on the middle/lower part of the oven. If the top is light, turn the oven to broil for 1-2 minutes, checking carefully that it doesn't burn.
- Let cool before unmolding.
A note on the apples
Traditionally, you would use apples that are crisp and mildly tart. Better, a combination of apples, for a more complex flavor.
In the end, Dutch Apple Tart is one of those good, old-fashioned desserts that grandmas make, that smell like home and comfort, and that I love so much. Pour yourself a cup of strong coffee, add a dollop of sweetened whipped cream on your tart slice, and be transported to Amsterdam and one of its cozy cafés on the canal.
Check out all the wonderful Dutch dishes prepared by fellow Eat the World members and share with #eattheworld. Click here to find out how to join and have fun exploring a country a month in the kitchen with us!
Culinary Adventures with Camilla: Memories of Holland, Dutch Traditions, and Sailboat Speculaas
Pandemonium Noshery: Mosterdsoep - Dutch Mustard Soup
Amy’s Cooking Adventures: Dutch Farmer’s Cheese Soup (Boerenkaas Soep)
Sugarlovespices (us!): Dutch Apple Tart, Hollandse Appeltaart
Making Miracles: Hutspot met Gehaktballen (Dutch Mashed Potatoes and Carrots with Meatballs)
Sneha’s Recipe: A Small Batch Bitterballen
Chef Mireille: Ontbijtkoek - Dutch Spice Cake
Kitchen Frau: Boerenkool Stamppot (Dutch Mashed Potatoes and Kale with Sausage)
A Day in the Life on the Farm: Hachee
If you are an apple pie lover, or like me, you get excited about apple desserts from all over the world, make sure you try this Dutch Apple Tart and add it to your Fall baking repertoire. You won't be disappointed, I assure you!