The first things I baked were “butter cookies” from my mom’s copy of Joy of Cooking, which she bought at a garage sale in the ’70s. So probably that battered, well-loved, dog-eared copy (which I have somewhere in my house) is from the ’60s. That’s where I learned to make my famous Jello parfaits (my parents even bought me an ice-cream parlour style old fashioned parfait glasses set for Christmas one year), as well as Dutch apple pie. The “Dutch” part, in my mind, just means using an awesome streusel topping instead of a second pie crust as the top crust, as all fruit pies should.
Man, remember that amazing kringle from a few months ago? Mmmm can’t wait for next Christmas season so I can buy another O&H kringle from Trader Joe’s. I realize that Dutch and Danish come from two very different places but they sound sorta similar and it’s only an 8 hour drive between random points in the countries: that’s the distance between Austin and Wichita. Though Austin food is very different from Wichita. (Mmmm breakfast tacos! And… Kansas foods?)
Whenever I see my mom I try to bake her a Dutch apple pie, and she often eats the whole thing. My mom is 4’11” and tiny so imagine a tiny Vietnamese woman eating an entire apple pie. It’s just as cute and impressive as it sounds. Hence I usually make two, one for her and one for everyone else. It’s about 3 large Granny Smith apples per pie, so my pies were light on the apple this time.
First thing: cut up your applies. I peel, core (cut into eights by making a tictactoe grid around the middle), and slice thinly. Others cut in quarters, ignoring the tictactoe, and then chop out the seeds/stem and then slice. Whatever works for you.
Put the sliced up apples in a bowl, squeeze a lemon over them, and toss with sugar and cinnamon. The sugar macerates the apples and they get nice and juicy while you prepare the crust (if you want; I used store-bought) and streusel.
Every time I make a Dutch apple pie my streusel is a little different. It’s the same general principle: brown sugar/white sugar, oats/flour, and butter. You use two knives or a pastry blender to cut the butter into the sugar mixture, until the mixture resembles “coarse crumbs” aka the butter pieces are smaller than peas. You can also use a food processor and carefully pulse it. Food processor is nice if your butter is frozen; otherwise you’ll want to put it outside the fridge for maybe an hour so it’s just a little soft/easy to cut up.
So unwrap or make your crusts (I love this lazy crust made right in the pie tin), layer the apples prettily into them (or dump them in), and sprinkle with the streusel topping.
Then toss those pies in the oven, step back, and enjoy them after they start smelling delicious! They’re great warm with vanilla ice cream on top.
Dutch apple pie
Makes two pies (8 slices each)
5-6 large Granny Smith apples
1/4 c white sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 lemon or 1 tsp lemon juice
Two pie crusts (frozen or homemade)
1/2 c butter
1/2 c brown sugar
3/4 c total mix of oats and flour
- Peel the apples, core them, thinly slice. Preheat oven to 400.
- Sprinkle sugar, spices, and lemon juice over apples, toss them together.
- Mix oats, flour, and brown sugar. Cut butter into small pieces into the flour-sugar mixture using two knives, until coarse crumbs.
- Put the sliced apples into crusts, and sprinkle streusel evenly over the pies. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until topping is lightly browned.