several years ago, my husband and i backpacked through europe for several weeks and one of the cities that we visited was amsterdam. i should say now, i wasn’t really expecting to like amsterdam as i’m not much into… well, all of the things the city is known for. which meant, of course, that amsterdam ended up being one of my three favorites from the trip.
it turns out that amsterdam is actually adorable: full of lovely canals lined with charming old houses and storefronts and bicycles zipping around everywhere instead of cars. there are open-air markets to leisurely browse, great museums (which, honestly, i don’t even usually like but enjoyed here), and great little cafes serving delicious food at outdoor tables.
when we picked up the key for our airbnb-style room from the proprietor of a gentleman’s clothing shop in the ubercute jordaan neighborhood, he asked if we liked apple pie. he said that the country is famous for their apple pie and he was clearly excited about it so, not wanting to be rude, we said, “sure, we like apple pie” (when in fact we’re both pretty meh on apple pie and would not choose it given a choice between it and… basically any other dessert. i know, i know; i’m pretty sure our US citizenship just got revoked. alas…). he gave us the name of a café, winkel 43, just a few blocks away and told us how to get there, promising that they had the best dutch apple pie in all of amsterdam.
we were hungry for a snack and to start exploring a little bit so we dropped our bags in our room and set off in the direction he indicated. we arrived shortly at a cute, nondescript café with tables and benches set out in the patchy shade under a large tree. nondescript save for one thing: though all of the food and drinks were coming out of the indoor kitchen, there was an apple pie serving station set up outside, with several gigantic pies in the process of disappearing. and nearly every table outside had a slice (or several) of pie on it, surrounded by a group digging in.
noting that the slices were large (as you can see in the photos, it’s more like a cross between an american apple pie and a taller cake) and still wary of how good this basic dessert could possibly be, my husband and i ordered a slice to share. aaaaand then proceeded to absolutely DEVOUR it. every. last. crumb. it was delicious! so. good.
though it shares a similar name and ingredient list, dutch apple pie is somehow basically nothing like american apple pie, which is to say, it’s way better. the crust is more like a delicious crumb topping pressed into service as a crust, the filling is not gloopy, and the spices are far more complex and delicious than cinnamon alone (without being overpowering).
in the name of absorbing local culture and supporting the local economy, my husband and i proceeded to make dutch apple pie at winkel 43 (or “winkle cake”, as we affectionately refer to it) a daily habit for the duration of our stay in amsterdam. i don’t think we ever succumbed twice in one day but it was a few years ago, so i can’t say for certain…
needless to say, daily flights to amsterdam being a bit impractical, i was determined to make this cake at home. the café doesn’t share their recipe but luckily, i am not the only one bent on recreating the recipe so i was able to find several versions online, and judged this one to reproduce most faithfully the winkel 43 version. after reading through instructions and looking at pictures of how theirs turned out compared to the picture we miraculously took before our slice disappeared and some trial and error on my part, i’ve finally landed on a recipe that recreates the “winkle cake” that we remember. but maybe we should take another trip to amsterdam, you know, for research purposes, just to be sure i’ve got it right…
did you make this recipe? i’d love to know what you think of it! leave a comment below and share a picture on instagram with the hashtag #tastyseasons.
dutch apple pie has it all: a delicious (and easy!) crust, an awesome blend of spices, and apples with the perfect texture. no gloppy filling here - this pie is hearty and perfect for the holidays! enjoy this family favorite recipe!
- 12 oz. (360 g. / 1½ cups) unsalted butter, cubed, at room temperature (see notes)
- 8 3/8 oz. (240 g. / 1 1/3 cups) dark brown sugar, firmly packed
- 2 eggs, beaten slightly
- 21 oz. (600 g. / 5 cups) self-rising flour OR 21 oz. (600 g. / 5 cups) all purpose flour + 7.5 teaspoons baking powder, sifted together twice (i used 21 oz. of whole wheat pastry flour + the baking powder)
- 6 firm apples (i used royal gala, others such as braeburn would work)
- 2 soft apples (i used cortland, others such as golden delicious or pink lady would work)
- finely grated zest from half of an orange
- finely grated zest from half of a lemon
- juice from half of a lemon
- 2 ½ oz. (71 g. / 1/3 cup) dark brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons speculaaskruiden (dutch spice mix: i strongly recommend that you take the time to make this (recipe below), but cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice can be substituted)
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- combine the following in a small airtight jar and shake well to mix thoroughly:
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- ½ teaspoon ground mace
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/8 teaspoon white pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/8 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
- 1/8 teaspoon ground anise seeds
- 1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg
- 12 oz. (1 ½ cups) heavy whipping cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 – 2 tablespoons powdered sugar, or to taste
- combine the butter and 8 3/8 oz. brown sugar in the bowl of a food processor, and mix until creamed. add the eggs and pulse until the eggs are well combined. add the flour in thirds, mixing well after each addition and stopping to scrape the sides and bottom edge of the bowl, as necessary. after the last addition of flour, pulse just until the dough forms a ball. put the dough in a bowl, cover it (a plate works well as a lid, or you can use plastic wrap), and then set the dough aside at room temperature.
- adjust the oven racks so that there is one rack in the lower middle slot and one in the lower slot. put a large piece of aluminum foil on the lower rack to catch drips. preheat the oven to 375°F.
- thoroughly grease a 9” springform pan, and cut out a circle of parchment paper to place in the bottom of the pan. (a standard pie dish is way too small for this pie.)
- in a small bowl, mix the orange and lemon zests, lemon juice, brown sugar, spices, and cornstarch. stir to combine.
- peel and core the apples. cut them into roughly-uniform bite-size pieces. in a very large dutch oven or deep, oven safe casserole dish, mix the apple chunks with the zest/sugar/spices mixture and stir well to combine. bake the apples for 20 minutes at 375°F. prebaking the apples allows them to reach ideal softness at the same time the crust reaches ideal doneness, rather than half an hour into burnt crust territory.
- while the apples are prebaking, press about 2/3 of the dough into the prepared springform pan. don’t worry about neatness, just press the dough firmly so that it stays in place and make sure there aren’t any cracks/holes. for reference, my crust ended up about ½” thick on the top and ¼” thick on the sides. carefully add the apples to the pan with the crust and use something flat to press the apples in and flatten out the top. if the apples just came out of the oven, take care not to burn your hand, especially on any molten hot apple juice that erupts out of the crevices between the apples.
- here’s the part where if you’re really into things like “presentation” and “aesthetics”, you may be tempted to get out your rolling pin but, please, in the name of delicious crumb texture, grab handfuls of dough, press them into disks between your hands, and lay them across the top of the pie, eventually tiling the entire top of the pie with a top crust. try to avoid putting the dough too close to the edges as it will puff up and over the edge a bit while it cooks. you should end up with between ¼” and ½” of top crust.
- center your springform pan over the foil in the oven and bake for about 45 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and the apples are softened to your liking (use a sharp paring knife to test). 45 minutes yields my favorite kind of apples, which are definitely softened, but not so much that they are total mush. if you prefer your apples softer (more like traditional apple pie), then bake the pie a bit longer, keeping a close eye on the crust from here on out. you may need to cover it loosely with foil to prevent the top of the pie from getting too dark.
- once the apples and crust are to your desired level of doneness, remove the pie from the oven and place on a rack to cool. you’re not out of the woods yet with regards to drips so keep something other than grandma’s antique lace tablecloth under the cooling rack. leave the ring latched on until the pie is completely cool. this will take several hours and you may be tempted to release the sides so that it cools faster but i promise this is not a good idea, unless you want to serve your pie with a spoon instead of a knife. while the pie is cooling, put a deep mixing bowl and beaters for the whipped cream in the freezer, if you have the space.
- when the pie is cool and you are about to serve it, shake the heavy whipping cream and then pour it into a deep (chilled, if possible) bowl. whip the cream, starting on a low speed and increasing the speed as the cream becomes less prone to splattering (or just throw a kitchen towel over the bowl and mixer) until soft peaks form. stop as soon as soft peaks form and add in the vanilla and powdered sugar. turn the mixer on low for just a moment longer to mix in the sugar and vanilla completely but don’t leave the mixer on too long or your risk having your cream start to clump up as it heads towards butter territory.
- once the pie is finally cool, you can release the sides of the pan. slide one hand under the bottom of the pan and lift the pie up out of the collar, rather than trying to rip the sides up over the top edge. use a thin spatula or two to transfer the pie from the pan base to a cutting board. remove the parchment paper as well. use a serrated bread knife to cut slices. serve warm or at room temperature with whipped cream.
if you need the butter to come to room temperature quickly, cut it into tablespoon sized pieces, spread the pieces out on a plate, and leave at room temperature until the butter is still firm but cracks develop when you press on the slice with your finger. please don’t be tempted to get the microwave or another heat source involved as it will inevitably result in melted butter, which will make the crust too soft.
the pie only uses half of the spice mix. store the other half in an airtight jar and use it in/on anything you want to make delicious, such as yogurt with granola, vanilla ice cream, waffle/pancake batter, sugar cookies, etc.
store leftover pie in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to four days.
the top crust shown in the pictures had a lightly beaten egg brushed over it before baking but in subsequent tests, i determined i preferred the pie without it, so that’s how the recipe is written.
adapted from food nouveau's deep-dish apple pie, amsterdam style