Dutch Apple Pie
Our take on Dutch Apple Pie. Simply irresistible, juicy, cinnamon-filled apples wrapped in meringue-like foam. All locked in sky-high, semi-sweet and buttery shortbread crust. Ultimate apple pie with a little bit of oomph. The pie which can be a centre piece of any celebration thanks to the ease of presentation (no issues with transferring to the cake stand). Add a scoop of your favourite vanilla ice-cream or freshly whipped cream with fresh strawberries and you are in a pie heaven. Sweet indulgence!
If you are a fan of apple pies you can’t miss this one.
Sky high, buttery shortbread crust is creating cookie-like shell for moist apples. For apple filling we are using our Polish Sharlotka filling - cinnamon spiced apples are wrapped in mringue-like foam creating super juicy, moist, hard to resist, apple filling. The top is covered with meringue and laced with shortbread crust. After baking the meringue creates thin, s’more-like layer on top.
Few words about Dutch apple pies. It’s one of our favourite apple pies.
So, what’s so special about it?
Firstly - great crust. It’s buttery, sweeter than US pie crusts, slightly eggy. Shortbread cookies come to mind as this is exactly how it tastes. Secondly, the pie is packed with apples - moist, juicy, wrapped in cinnamon, quite often with addition of raisins (we have seen some options with nuts too). Thirdly, gorgeous presentation created by the crust shell and laced top.
The pie definitely has a wow effect. For this wow effect you need to have few factors which are present simultaneously:
- high, buttery and semi-sweet crust,
- crust which is easy to take our from the form - to present the pie in full,
- juicy, spiced apples,
- laced, shiny top.
Our recipe gives you just that. Shortbread crust used in this pie is one of our favourite, frequently-used shortbread crusts. It will guarantee firm and delicious shell for the rest of the pie.
Now comes the exciting bit. Apple filling or in many recipes for Dutch Apple Pie - apple failing. We know that our Polish Sharlotka pie has exactly the filling we needed for this pie - moist and juicy. We used just that. What’s so special about it? AND more importantly: how to keep apples moist, irresistibly juicy, sweet and spiced in a pie which is high and needs to be presented in almost cake-y fashion?
We love to bake with fresh apples but if you bake this pie with fresh apples you will be left with deflated pie and overly dry apples (a challenge in baking high crusted pie). So first step is to steam apples with sugar, cinnamon, a bit of potato starch and lemon juice for some 10-15 minutes. By doing this you are reducing apples - so that you know exactly how much apples to put into the tin. Otherwise, during baking apples will reduce and you will be left with pie half full. Additionally, steaming apples with small addition of corn starch, cinnamon and sugar will emulsify the juices. As a result apples will be more fragrant but you will also reduce the risk of soggy pie bottom. We are recommending to use dried breadcrumbs too. You want apples to remain fairly firm after baking hence choose apple type which is suitable for stewing and baking (use Gala, Pink Lady, Golden Delicious or Russet).
To bring this filling to another level, we are whipping egg whites (leftover after making the crust) to create stiff, meringue-like foam. After baking, on top of the pie you will get semi-firm, thin layer of s’more (meringue coat) mixed with apple juice. As you have stewed apples beforehand and mixed it with stiff meringue, the pie filling does not change its volume during baking.
This means your top crust is going to stick to apples giving you well formed apple pie.
- Crust - for this bake we recommend chilling the dough in stages, once it’s fitted into the tin. You will blind bake the base first. The sides don’t have to be blind baked but need chilling in the freezer before filling with apples. To get the best go at decorating the top we recommend freezing crust stripes for few minutes.
- Assembling - reduced filling won’t shrink during baking (if it does, then only minimally). Hence, apply the filling only up to the rim of the spring form (follow measurements but depending on apples or size of eggs you may have minimal excess). If you apply filling above the rim the pie will start bubbling up (may overflow) and will not be that easy to release after baking.
- Avoid browning - we recommend covering the pie with aluminium foil for some 20 minutes during baking to avoid excessive browning. Timings are captured in the recipe.
- Releasing the cake from spring form - once baked, let the pie cool for some 45minutes before releasing from the spring form. When ready, if there is any curst which baked on top of the tin rim, take a sharp knife and delicately shave off this part, then gently run thin knife around the edges, delicately open the spring form, slide your hand under the bottom of the tin and lift the cake up (don’t pull sides of the tin up, rather work with the bottom, lifting the pie up).
We love apple pies and cakes. Browse around to check it out:
Dutch Apple Pie Recipe
Yield: 16 servings
Time: 1 hour prep + 60-65 minutes baking
Tin: 23cm spring form
- 3 cups* (450g) all-purpose flour
- 300g unsalted butter, straight from the fridge or freezer, diced or grated
- 2/3 cup (80g) confectioners' sugar
- 2 egg yolks, straight from the fridge
- 10 (1.5kg) medium apples
- 1 Tablespoon cinnamon
- 2/3 cup (140g) white or light brown sugar
- 2 Tablespoons (20g) corn or potato starch
- juice from 1/2 lemon (2 Tablespoons, 30ml)
- 2 egg whites, leftover
- 3 Tablespoons (45g) sugar
- 1 Tablespoon (10g) corn or potato starch
- 1 Tablespoon (15ml) lemon juice
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
+ 1 Tablespoon of breadcrumbs (optional but recommended)
*cup = 250ml cup
1. Prepare apples: peel and core apples, coarsely chop. In a large pot mix coarsely chopped apples with cinnamon, sugar, corn (or potato) starch, freshly squeezed juice from 1/2 lemon. Cook on medium heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. After 10-15 minutes you should see apples reducing (half of the initial volume) and the rest of ingredients creating cinnamon jelly around them. Set aside to cool.
2. In a meantime prepare shortbread crust: Sift flour with confectioners’ sugar. Add diced butter. Using pastry cutter create crumbly texture. If you don’t have pastry cutter: take flour/butter mixture in-between your hands and make same move you make when your hands are cold (work with palms of your hands to create buttery streaks in flour). Then using your finger tips rub butter in flour (as if you were snapping fingers). Once the mixture resembles crumbles (pea-sized chunks of butter are ok), add two egg yolks and with few swift moves combine the dough (shouldn’t take longer than 30s-1 minute of gentle kneading). Refrigerate 2/3rd of the dough. Line the bottom of spring form with parchment paper and fill in the base with 1/3rd of the shortbread dough. You can roll out the dough or opt to divide into smaller pieces and patch it up (you can then use tablespoon to smooth the surface). Place the tin in the freezer and preheat the oven to 175C. Once ready, take out the tin and bake the base at 175C for 15 minutes until light golden. Set aside to cool.
3. Prepare meringue-like foam: On low speed beat egg whites for 1 minute until fluffy, then increase the speed to medium-high and add 3 Tablespoons of sugar - one at a time, make sure sugar is well incorporated in-between. Once done, decrease the speed to medium and add 1 Tablespoon of corn (or potato) starch, mix until incorporated and at the end add lemon juice.
4. Assemble the pie: Once the shortbread base is cooled patch the walls of the tin with 1/3rd of the dough all the way up. Move the tin to the freezer and in the meantime roll out the remaining 1/3rd of the dough (0.3cm thin), cut into stripes. You may opt to transfer the stripes to the freezer (it will be easier to decorate the pie later on). Preheat the oven to 175C. Take out the tin from the freezer, spread 1 Tablespoon of dried breadcrumbs on the crust (optional but recommended), place 1/3rd of apples, cover with 1/2 of meringue-like foam, place 1/3rd of apples on top, cover with remaining part of meringue and then top it up with leftover apples (mix top cover of apples with meringue slightly so that you have parts of meringue on top - this will create s'more layer - see pictures above). Cover the pie with pie stripes and brush with egg wash.
5. Bake at 175C for 60-65 minutes. After 30 minutes, cover the pie with aluminium foil for 20 minutes, then take the foil off for the last 10-15 minutes of baking. You know the pie is ready when stripes are golden in colour and well baked (no sign of gooeyness) and the filling is semi-set (will have semi-set meringue foam or thin and soft s’more layer). Once baked, take out to cool in the spring form for 30-45 minutes before serving. When ready, if there is any curst which baked on top of the rim, take a sharp knife and delicately shave off this part, then gently run thin knife around the edges (or press sides of the top to gently release), open the spring form, slide your hand under the bottom of the tin and lift the cake up (don’t pull sides of the tin up, rather work with the bottom, lifting the pie up).
Jazz it up:
1. Keep it Dutch-style - add 100g of raisins to the filling (pour two cups of hot water before cooking with apples to soften skins). In some versions we saw addition of almonds/hazelnuts or pecan nuts (100g toasted before adding to the pie filling).
2. Fruit - you can bake any fruit pie using same technique - plum and cherry pies are really suitable for high pie crust. You may opt to mix fruit - apples&strawberries, strawberries&rhubarb, apple&pear, apple&peach, cheery&blackberry.
3. Spices - depending on fruit used you may opt to add cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, cardamom, vanilla.
4. Crust - this can be jazzed up in many ways. For chocolate shortbread crust sift 2 Tablespoons of Dutch Cocoa together with flour and confectioners’ sugar (plums and cherry pies!). Add citrusy zest from 1 citrus (lemon, orange, grapefruit, blood orange). Add spices for spiced crust (start with 1/2 teaspoon of spices used in gingerbread spice of chai spice).