This delicious ‘Appeltaart’ recipe is a traditional Dutch recipe which I grew up with. It’s the perfect treat to come home to after a long winter walk or day out, and makes the whole house smell cinnamonny and lovely. It’s incredibly easy to make; line a cake tin with pastry, top with a mixture of apples, raisins, cinnamon and sugar, then criss-cross pastry strips over the top to create a lattice pattern. For minimal effort you’ll have a pretty big cake that can easily feed 10 – 12 people! Got some leftover filling? Fold pastry squares into triangles to create quick and easy apple turnovers – also lovely at breakfast time.
You will need:
- 300g self-raising flour (about 2 1⁄4 cups), plus more for the surface
- 180g butter (about 3⁄4 cup), plus more for greasing the cake tin
- 150g brown sugar (about 1⁄2 cup)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla essence (or a 8g packet of vanilla sugar)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1kg of apples, peeled, cored and chopped into small cubes
- 100g raisins (about 3 ⁄4 cup)
- 40g sugar (about 1⁄4 cup)
- 3 teaspoons cinnamon (or more to taste)
- juice of 1 1⁄2 lemons
- 1 egg
- whipped cream, to serve
1. To make the dough, mix together the flour, salt and brown sugar in a large bowl. Cut the butter into small cubes and add these to the flour mixture, rubbing it together with the flour using your fingers. Beat the egg and add 3 ⁄4 of it to the flour mixture – you will need the rest for the top, and add the vanilla essence. Knead the mixture to form a dough. Once kneaded, form into a ball, wrap in clingfilm and place in the fridge to chill.
2. Place the chopped apple in a bowl together with the raisins, cinnamon and granulated sugar, and add the lemon juice. Mix well.
3. Pre-heat the oven to 175°C. Grease a cake tin, then line the bottom and sides with about 3 ⁄4 of the dough – as long as the tin is completely covered, it doesn’t need to be very thick.
4. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the apple mixture, taking care not to transfer any of the juices (this will cause a soggy bottom otherwise).
5. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the remaining dough until it’s less than 1⁄2 cm thick. Cut the dough into long strips and layer them over the apple topping to form a lattice, sticking the edges together with the outer pastry. Use the remaining egg to brush over the top.
6. Bake the cake just below the middle of your oven for an hour. In some ovens it may take less, so check on it after 45 minutes to see whether it has turned a dark golden brown. and the edges are crisp. Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes before you take the cake out of the tin.
7. Serve warm (reheat in oven or microwave) or cold, with whipped or ice cream, or freeze.