Growing up in South Africa with Dutch parents meant we were accustom to Dutch cuisine as well. The Dutch side included boterham met kaas or pindekaas, (bread with cheese or peanut butter) stamppot (vegetable and potato mash), erwtensoep (pea soup) but also treats such as speculaas, hagelslag (chocolate sprinkles), kruidkoek and then off course appeltaart, scrumptious apple tart with a crumble streusel-like topping.
The Dutch almost invented the apple tart. Maybe not in historical terms, but whenever we visited Dutch friends or they came to visit us, apple tart – not pie – was the standard treat, the go-to delicacy with your coffee.
With Autumn comes apple season in Ireland. These days we get a wide variety of apples to choose from in the supermarkets throughout the year, so you almost forget there is actually an apple season. But since we’ve planted apple trees in our garden, I am so much more aware of when the apple season starts. And it is fabulous.
I wrote a previous blog about Apples in Autumn where I added a recipe by Jamie Oliver, called Amazing Apple Pie. This recipe, however, is for a tart, or appeltaart, (not a pie) where the crust is sweeter, more biscuit-like. And usually with more spices as well as raisins or fruit mix.
I think in the end all apple tarts are yummy, but everyone has his or her own version of this. Having baked quite a few apple tarts, here are a few pointers that will help with a delicious version.
- use different types of apples, for example cooking apples and eating apples,
- cut the apple pieces in chunks and in slices for variety when you eat,
- use dark brown sugar opposed to white sugar with the apples, this will add to an intense flavour,
- add cinnamon, cloves and/or a bit of nutmeg,
- use raisins and/or cake fruit mix.
Recipe : Crumble apple tart
10ml baking powder
about 500g or 1kg apples, depending on the size of your tart dish
100g brown sugar
75g raisins/cake fruit mix
1ml ground cloves
pinch of salt
- Sift the flour, salt and baking powder together in a large mixing bowl. Add the sugar.
- Rub in the butter using your fingertips until it comes together. The dough comes together like a shortbread dough. Let it rest a bit.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F), Gas mark 4.
- Grease an ovenproof tart dish (about 30cm) and press about half of the dough onto the bottom and sides of the dish. Make sure it is spread out evenly and there are no holes. If you want to blind bake you can do that, although it is not necessary. I only do if time allows for it.
- Peel and core the apples. Cut half into rough chunks and quarters and the other half into 1cm chunks, then squeeze over some lemon juice to prevent them from turning brown. (I really like the idea of cutting the apples in different sizes, it makes the eating part really exciting).
- Cook the bigger ones first and then add the smaller pieces. Be careful to only cook the apples till soft. Let the cooked apples cool down.
- Add the sugar, raisins, cinnamon, cloves and salt.
- Spoon mixture in the tart case on top of the crust.
- Grate the rest of the dough mixture roughly on top of the apples.
- Bake for about 20 minutes until golden brown.
- Enjoy when it has cooled down with ice-cream, cream or custard or just like it is!
“Eet smakelijk” as they say in Dutch.