Homesick for Holland also means homesick for grandma, who is 94 years old. So when I came across this family recipe for Dutch Apple Pie, hidden in one of her old cookbooks, I immediately started baking. Typed upon a now yellowish and crumpled paper and written in old-fashioned Dutch, it’s most likely from just after the war. My grandmother told me (we skype each other every week) that the recipe belonged to the youngest sister of my great-grandmother. At the bottom of the recipe she typed the dates of birth of her family members. It turned out to be a festive birthday pie.
Action Time: 35 minutes, plus 45 minutes baking
For the pie dough
10.5 oz/300 g all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
1½ tsp baking powder
5.2 oz/150 g sugar
12½ tbsp/175 g cold butter, cut into small cubes
1½ tsp vanilla extract
1 egg, lightly beaten
For the filling
5 tart apples (such as Granny Smith)
2-3 tbsp sugar
1-2 tsp ground cinnamon
a small handful of raisins (optional)
Extra: food processor (optional), apple corer, a lightly greased and floured tart pan (9 inch/ 24 m diameter)
1. Preheat to oven to 350°F/175°C. Put flour, baking powder, sugar, a pinch of salt, and butter in a bowl. Rub the butter in with your fingertips until it resembles fine breadcrumbs (or do it the modern way and use a food processor). Add the vanilla, 2/3 of the egg, and 1 tablespoon cold water and knead briefly to form a ball. Put in the refrigerator while making the filling.
2. Peel, core and slice the apples very thinly.
3. Dust a surface with flour and roll out the dough with a rolling pin until it’s a little less than 1/8 inch (2 mm) thick; close up any cracks that appear at the edges as you go. Cut out a circle large enough to line the tart pan; use the remaining dough (about 1/3) for the lattice crust.
4. Lay the apple slices slightly overlapping in circles upon the lined tart pan. Sprinkle the apples with some sugar, cinnamon and, if using, raisins. Make two more layers like this.
5. Roll out the remaining dough and cut into long strips. Arrange the strips across the pie to form a lattice. Trim the edges of the strips and brush the dough with the remaining beaten egg. You can use the tines of a fork to decorate the edges of the pie.
6. Bake in the oven for about 45 minutes, until golden. Serve lukewarm or cold with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.