Apple Crumble

Who doesn’t love a good crumble? Ages ago, I posted a recipe for a crumble with pear and berries, but today I’ve got a true classic for you all: an apple crumble! As with any apple dish, I also added a splash of almond liqueur because that’s just smart thinking.

I made this one last week for my birthday dinner with my family, and everyone loved it. The crumble was gone in its entirety before I knew it! I served it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, which made it even more delicious. It was the perfect dessert for a wonderful evening!

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Spiced Apple Crumble

And just like that, Christmas is over again. I hope everyone had a good one! I spent Christmas with my family, eating delicious food and having fun together. As always, I was in charge of making dessert, and I decided to make two crumbles: one with pear and raspberry, and this one, a spiced apple crumble with raisins.

It’s basically a deconstructed apple pie and tastes absolutely delicious. So delicious, in fact, that I made both crumbles again for the Christmas dinner I’m having with a bunch of my friends today. It doesn’t hurt that this crumble is extremely easy to make. It’s the perfect dessert to whip up when you don’t have much time but want something really good anyway. It’s even better with some vanilla ice cream or whipped cream (or both!) on the side.

Either way, my family really enjoyed it! What did you have for dessert at Christmas? Was it any good?

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Walnut Apple Cake

About a week ago I was feeling a bit stressed and anxious (it happens sometimes), so I figured I’d do something that pretty much always helps me relax: I baked something. The weather has been changing quite rapidly for the past two weeks, and I think it’s pretty safe to say autumn has come. That’s probably why I felt like baking a nutty, cinnamon-y cake – which is what I did!

This walnut and apple cake was a spur of the moment experiment and isn’t it funny how those often turn out the best? Let me tell you, this cake is good. It’s incredibly simple to make and incredibly delicious. A new favourite? Definitely!

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Apple Cake

My semester is almost over, as I’ve mentioned in previous posts, so these days I’m mostly busy with studying for my last exam and going over the final draft of my essay one last time. But when my friend Fooke invited me over to her place last week to bake a cake together, I was hardly going to say no!

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Drinking tea is a crucial part of the baking process!

We made some tea, blasted some Queen, and baked an absolutely delicious apple cake. Seriously, it was divine, and so easy to make! We also had so much fun, which was nice, since we hadn’t been able to hang out for a while because of all the study stress. After the cake was done we were very impatient to taste it, so it was still quite warm when we had our first piece. And our second.

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You’ll need…

– 5 normal sized apples (about 650 g)

– 1 lemon (you need both the zest and the juice)

– 4 eggs P1010132

– 115 g butter, melted

– 100 g sugar

– 50 light brown caster sugar

– 150 whole wheat flour (you can use plain flour as well)

– 1 teaspoon baking powder

– a pinch of salt

For garnishing purposes: some icing sugar and some additional (very thin) strips of lemon peel

– a spring form tin — I actually have no clue how big this one was, but I think a 22 cm is the best option

– parchment paper

– and an oven, of course! This cake needs to be baked at 180 °C (don’t forget to preheat your oven!)

So, let’s get baking!

1. Prepare the apples First off, peel and core the apples, and then slice them into, well, slices. Then, you just put them in a bowl, and squeeze your lemon above it, so the slices of apple get drenched in the lemon juice. Tip: grate your lemon (for the zest) before cutting it into halves. Now, put this bowl to the side.

2. Mix everything together Put the eggs, the sugar and the lemon zest in a different bowl and mix them together nicely. Then, sieve half of the flour above the bowl, and mix it together again. Next up, add the melted butter to the mixture, and (that’s right) mix again. Now it’s time to add the second half of the flour (again, sieved), the baking powder and the salt. The last ingredient you have to add is your sliced apples. Aaand mix!

3. Bake that cake! It’s time to put everything in your spring form tin, but before you do so, you have to line the base of the tin with parchment paper, and butter the entire tin. Then, spoon your delicious mixture into the tin and put it into your preheated oven. Bake the cake for 30-40 minutes. Just check after 30 minutes if the top is nicely golden brown, and insert a skewer to check if it’s baked alright. It’s okay if it’s still a little soft and moist, that’s what makes this cake so delicious!

Let the cake cool for about 10 minutes before taking it out of the tin. You can garnish it with some icing sugar and strips of lemon peel, but you don’t have to — it’s delicious (and gorgeous) either way!

And that’s it! I hope you enjoy this wonderful apple cake!

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Apple Cinnamon Muffins

As I’ve mentioned before, baking has a therapeutic effect on me; it calms me down and destresses me. When I need that kind of baking therapy I usually go for a muffin recipe, and that is what happened last week. I don’t know what it is about muffins, but I find them very calming. That sounds kinda weird, but it’s true. I guess it’s because I’ve baked so many muffins during my “baking career”; it doesn’t involve a lot of thinking anymore since I’m familiar with the general process. I mean, those meringues I tried to make were a huge failure mainly because I was too stressed out to try something new.

For these muffins I didn’t feel like leaving the house to go and buy ingredients, so I had to make do with what I’d still got left at home. I had the main ingredients, and some apples — and after that realisation I had a huge craving for apple cinnamon muffins! There was just one tiny problem, being I didn’t have any milk (I don’t drink milk on a regular basis) and in most of my muffin recipe milk is a required ingredient.

I made these muffins without any milk, which made the batter a lot more dough-like than my muffin batters normally are. I was a tiny bit worried, but oh my god did they turn out good! This recipe is definitely going to be the base for my future muffin recipes..!

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You’ll need… (for 12 muffins)

– 250 g plain flour

– 1,5 teaspoon baking powder

– 0,5 teaspoon salt

– 1 teaspoon cinnamon (and some more to sprinkle the muffins with)

– 200 g sugar

– 115 g butter

– 2 eggs

– 1 teaspoon vanilla flavouring

– 2 apples, chopped (and perhaps a bit of lemon juice to sprinkle them with)

– a bit of light brown sugar to sprinkle the muffins with

– a muffin tin (for 12 muffins)

– and an oven, of course! These muffins need to be baked at 180 °C (don’t forget to preheat your oven!)

So, let’s get baking!

1. Mix together flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon The first thing you need to do is to mix together the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a bowl. Now put it to the side while you get messy with the wet ingredients (well, not that messy).

P10008222. Mix together wet ingredients Next up, you mix together the sugar and the butter with a whisk. As always, I recommend melting the butter. It makes this job so much easier! After the butter and sugar are nicely mixed, add the eggs and whisk until the mixture is nice and smooth. Then, add the vanilla and mix again. The only thing left to add now are the chopped up apples. Mix it all together.

3. Put it all together Now, you need to gradually add the dry mixture to the wet one and mix it all together with a spoon until it’s blended. As always, don’t over stir the muffin mixture!

4. Divide your batter over 12 paper cases The next step is to divide the batter over the muffin tin. Put a little paper case in every hole of the muffin tin or grease the holes of the tin with some butter. Now divide the batter evenly over the 12 paper cases. I completely filled all of the paper cases, even though “they” say you only need to fill it 3/4 if you want your muffins to rise, and they came out beautifully anyway!

5. Sprinkle, sprinkle, little star Sprinkle some light brown sugar and cinnamon over the top of the muffins. The sugar will give the muffins a nice crunch, and it looks cool!

6. Bake the muffins! Put the muffin tin in your preheated oven (180 °C) and bake them for about 25 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. They’ll have a nice golden brown colour. When they’re done, take the muffin tin out of the oven and let the muffins cool inside the tin for about 5 minutes. Then take them out of the tin and let them cool completely. Or eat them while they’re still warm. That last one takes my preference!

And that’s it! Enjoy your apple cinnamon muffins!

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Apple Turnovers

I thought apple turnovers were a Dutch delicacy, until I Googled them this morning. Turns out, they’re quite international! I didn’t do any extensive research on them or anything, but Wikipedia didn’t mention any specific origin, and Google gave lots of non-Dutch recipes, so that made things kinda clear.

The reason I thought they were specifically Dutch is because apple turnovers are a traditional snack for New Year’s Eve in the Netherlands (along with oliebollen, which actually are typically Dutch — and delicious). You can get apple turnovers throughout the entire year, but I think most Dutch people only eat them on New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day, probably.

On the 31st December my mother buys the oliebollen and apple turnovers at a stall in town. She has to do this in the morning, before work, because in the afternoon there’ll be an enormous queue in front of the stall. That’s the same every year — everyone needs to get some last minute oliebollen.

This year I told my mother she didn’t have to get any apple turnovers because I would make them myself. I’d never made them before, but they turned out really tasty, although I did tweak the recipe below a bit from the one I used. Apple turnovers are incredibly easy to make, so give it a go!

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You’ll need… (for 10 turnovers)

– 2 apples

– 75 g raisins

– 1 teaspoon of cinnamon

– 3 tablespoons of sugar

– 75 g almond paste, crumbled

– 0.5 tablespoon of lemon juice

Optional: – 1 tablespoon of amaretto (almond flavoured liquer)

– 10 leaves of puff pastry (in the Netherlands puff pastry comes in the right size for these turnovers if you buy them in the supermarket)

– 1 egg

– some extra sugar for sprinkling purposes

– baking tray

– parchment paper

– and an oven, of course! These turnovers need to be baked at 200 °C (don’t forget to preheat your oven!

So, let’s get baking!

1. Prepare the filling Like I said above, this is a very easy recipe with only a few simple steps! First off you need to peel and core the apples and then slice them into little cubes. Put them in a mixing bowl and add the raisins, cinnamon, sugar, almond paste, lemon juice and amaretto to it. Mix everything together with a spoon.

appleturnoversfillingonpastry2. Put the stuff in the stuff Now, it’s time to bring in the puff pastry. Put some of the filling on one half of the pastry, but leave a little room at the edges. Brush some of the egg on these edges (it works as glue, basically). Then fold the pastry closed diagonally, like the ones in the picture. Press the edges down a bit with a fork. Do this for all ten of the pastry leaves.

3. Brush egg on the turnovers and sprinkle sugar on them You’ve got ten turnovers now, but before you put them in the oven there’s one step left! Put all of the turnovers on your baking tray (which should be lined with parchment paper) if you hadn’t done so yet. You’ve now got to brush some more of the egg onto the top sides of the turnovers, so that they’re nicely covered. Then sprinkle some sugar onto the turnovers. It’ll make them nice and crispy!

4. Bake ’em! All that’s left to do now is to put the baking tray with your turnovers into the oven and bake them for 22-25 minutes!

Enjoy your delicious apple turnovers!

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Classic Dutch Apple Pie (with a little bit of soul)

The other day I was having lunch with my mother at La Place, which is a chain of buffet type restaurants in the Netherlands. Their food is usually pretty good — albeit a bit too expensive for a poor little student like yours truly — but La Place doesn’t exactly scream “passion for food”.

"Grandmother's Apple Pie"

“Grandmother’s Apple Pie”

Anyway, I chose a banana and orange smoothie, which was delicious, and a piece of what was called “Grandmother’s Apple Pie”, which turned out to be quite disappointing. I used to think you could hardly go wrong with an apple pie, but then I realised what every apple pie needs, and what this one lacked, is a little bit of soul.

(Great, now I’ve got this Bon Jovi song stuck in my head)

You see, the thing with apple pie is that, for me at least, it’s a typical family pie. In my family, when someone’s having a birthday (aunts, uncles, cousins etc.) there’s a home made apple pie present, whether it’s made by me, my mother, one of my aunts… It doesn’t matter — it’s there. So, for me, apple pie represents family, cosiness and love.

I guess I shouldn’t have been that surprised when the apple pie from an unpersonal and overpriced restaurant chain didn’t live up to my standards, then… (Although, the Swedish apple pie you can get in the IKEA restaurant is delicious, so my theory isn’t entirely foolproof.)

Not only did this pie lack some soul, there were a few other things I missed as well. A classic Dutch apple pie includes cinnamon (which this pie actually did), but it’s also quite common to add raisins and lemon juice — which were not used here, and this resulted in it tasting a bit dull.

So, after encountering the Soulless Apple Pie I not only wanted to talk about apple pie (and any baked goods, really) requiring a bit of soul for it to be truly awesome, I also wanted to share my recipe for a decent Dutch apple pie, because this pie is a classic (seriously, it’s served on pretty much every Dutch street corner), and should be made right!

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You’ll need… For the pastry:

– 300 g plain flour

– 200 g cold butter, in cubes

– 100 g sugar

– 1 egg

– 1 table spoon of water

– a pinch of salt

For the filling:

– 6 apples (about 1 kg, which is 5 big apples, 6 regular apples or 7 small apples)

– 1 table spoon of lemon juice

– 2.5 tea spoon of cinnamon

– 75 g raisins

– 100 sugar

optional, but really nice: – 2 table spoons of amaretto (almond flavoured liquer) 

– 150 g almond paste

Also:

– plastic foil

– springform tin (22 cm)

– parchment paper

– 1 egg yolk

– and an oven, of course — this pie needs to be baked at 180 °C, don’t forget to preheat your oven!

So, let’s get baking!

1. Prepare the pastry We start with preparing the crust of the pie, by mixing the flour, the sugar and the salt together in a bowl. Next up is adding the butter cubes and the egg to the mix and making a nice dough of it. I did the mixing with my hands, which is probably the easiest way since the butter is cold and therefore difficult to mix with the help of a whisk or any other mixing tool.

2. Let the pastry rest in the fridge Now you’ve mixed all of the ingredients together, form your mixture into a nice ball, wrap it in some plastic foil and lay it to rest in the refridgerator for about 30 minutes.

The filling

The filling

3. Prepare the filling While the dough is resting, it’s time to make the filling! Here’s the tedious little bit: you need to peel and core all the apples and cut them into slices. It doesn’t really matter how big the slices are — basically do whatever you prefer, it’s your pie after all!

So, once you’ve peeled and sliced all the apples, add the lemon juice to the mix. Not only does this add an extra (awesome) layer to the taste, it also makes sure the apples don’t turn a bit brown while they’re waiting to be put in the oven with the rest of the pie.

Next up, add the raisins, sugar and cinnamon. Oh, and the amaretto if you’ve decided to put that in (again: it’s really good). You need to mix everything through — I did it with my hands again, since it was easiest, but if you don’t want to get those dirty (because this is one sticky mess, I can tell you) you can use a spoon, too.

Tip! If you don’t feel like making an entire cake (or don’t have an oven at your disposal) but you do really crave the taste of a delicious apple pie: just make the filling, and leave the crust be! It’s delicious all on its own as well!

4. Line, butter and flour the tin Now your filling is done you’ll need to line the bottom of the springform tin with parchment paper. Next up, butter and flour the tin.

5. Roll out the pastry and put it in the tin When the 30 minutes are over, take the ball of pastry out of the fridge. Don’t worry, it’s okay if it’s been in there a while longer. What you need to do now is take about one third of the pastry and put it to the side for now. Roll out the remaining two thirds of the pastry with a rolling pin on a surface you’ve first dusted with flour (so the pastry won’t stick — make sure you use enough flour!). It’s important to make sure your rolled out pastry is quite thin, since it needs to cover the entire tin. Apparently, the crust for Dutch apple pies is much thinner than those of American ones (I’ve never had an American apple pie, but that’s what I read on the interwebz).

Once you’ve rolled the pastry out wide enough so it will fit the entire tin, put a bit of flour on the pastry, and gingerly roll it around your rolling pin. Then roll it out again over your tin, and firmly press it down so that the pastry covers the bottom and sides of the tin completely.

6. Add the almond paste Remember the 150 g of almond paste from the ingredients list? No? I almost forgot about it, too, just now, but this is the moment to use it. Crumble the paste and divide it over the bottom of the tin.

7. Add the filling Now it’s time to add the filling to the tin. Don’t just pour everything in, because you don’t want all the leftover liquid to go into the tin with the filling. Make sure the tin is filled to the brim, and just press the filling down a bit to make room for more.

8. Make lattice topping out of remaining pastry So, all that’s left now is the remainder of the pastry you put to the side earlier, and one egg yolk. Use the pastry to form a lattice by arranging it in strips on top of the filling, diagonally. Now brush the lattice with the egg yolk — this will ensure the top gets a nice golden brown colour while baking.

9. Bake the pie! The only thing left to do now is to put the tin into the oven (preheated at 180 °C) and bake it for about an hour. I baked mine for precisely 60 minutes, but it probably depends on your oven when the pie is exactly done. If the pie starts leaking a bit while it’s in the oven — don’t panic, it’s not ruined. That’s just because of the juice of the apples. It’ll still be delicious! Maybe even more so!

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Once the pie is done, take it out of the oven, and let it cool for a little bit. It tastes best while it’s still warm, though, so gather round your friends and/or family and enjoy your home made Classic Dutch Apple Pie with a little bit of soul!

I’m curious to hear/read other people’s stories about apple pie, so, please, share your experiences and memories down below in the comments! Do you have a family tradition of apple pie? Have you ever had the Dutch version? And, if you’ve tried my recipe, how did it turn out?