Monday 25 May 2015

Dutch Apple Pie With Oat Streusal Topping 荷兰苹果派

What is your take on an ultimate apple pie? For me, a flaky crust is a must. The crust makes the pie. The filling should be slightly crunchy, packed with intense apple flavour. And finally, that ever buttery aromatic beautifully crunched top. I do not claim mastery in pie making but this Dutch apple pie that I am introducing comes pretty close.

Today, I upped the challenge. This time it is a Dutch apple pie with oat streusal topping, all from scratch. A Dutch apple pie has a crumble topping instead of the normal pie pastry. I added oats and almonds on this layer. The additional nutty smell and and crunchy texture give this Dutch apple pie another welcomed dimension. In order to give it more crunch, I used melted butter in the crumb mix instead of frozen butter. I tell you, this is one tip you have to really heed if you want that super crunch.

Making pie from scratch, has never been an easy affair to me. I always wonder why there is an idiom "easy as pie". Your kitchen would get greasy and dusty, you would struggle with the rolling and shaping of the dough and there are tons of washing afterwards. But let me assure you, the taste is far far superior. After all the hard work, I was doubly happy when my pie turned out beyond my expectations. Oh yes, the best I have had in a very long time. I unashamely self-praise myself here. The crust was flaky, the apple filling wholesome with a slight crunch and the crumb topping super crunchy and nutty. It smelled so good when it came out of the oven that I can't help but ate a pinch of the crumb topping. The only little damper to my bubble was the slightly under-cooked bottom crust, which I have rectified by increasing the cooking time in my recipe below.

You definitely have to give it a go to know what am I rambling about. Happy cooking!

Dutch Apple Pie With Oat Streusal Topping 荷兰苹果派

The crust

235 g plain flour
1 1/2 tbsp castor sugar
1/2 tsp salt
180 g butter, frozen
4 tbsp cold water

Add flour, castor sugar and salt into a mixing bowl. Put bowl into the freezer for 15 mins. Remove from freezer and grate butter into the flour. Mix flour and butter together. Add cold water. Pinch a bit of the dough and press with your fingers. If it sticks together to form a dough then is ok. If it still doesn't stick, add a little water until it forms a dough. Form dough into a disk. Do not overwork that dough or else you wouldn't get that flaky crust. Wrap the dough with cling wrap and chill it for at least 1 hour.

Note: Alternatively, you could put everything into the food processor and pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. But that would give you a more crumbly crust.

The filling

1.2 kg apples, peeled and cut into chunks (I used Granny Smith this time)
75 g castor sugar
75 g brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup cornstarch

While waiting for your dough, you could prepare the filling. Heat a skillet and add in apples. In very slow fire, par cook the apples. Add in all other ingredients and stir until the juice thickens. It is ok if the sauce looks very thick because the apples would release more water when baking. Do not over-cook the apples as it would turn soggy and mushy. Remove apples quickly as liquid starts to thicken and set aside. 

The topping

90 g flour
75 g oats
75 g slice or slivered almonds
100 g brown sugar.
165 g butter

Melt butter in microwave and drizzle over other ingredients. Mix thoroughly. 

Assembling the Pie

1. Preheat oven to 220C.

2. Remove dough from fridge. Dust worktop and top layer of dough. Roll dough into a circle approximately 13 inches in diameter. Transfer to a 8 or 9-inch pie plate. Trim off excess and crimp the edges. Using the excess, patch the crust if necesary. If the dough turns too soft, put it into the freezer for a couple of minutes and continue. 

3. Add in prepared filling. 

4. Put into the lower rack (but not the lowest) of oven and bake for 15 minutes. 

5. Remove from oven and add crumb topping. Reduce heat to 200C and bake for another 25 - 35 mins. If the top of the pie becomes too brown, cover loosely with aluminium foil and continue to bake. Remove foil at the last 5 mins to crisp up the topping.

6. Remove from oven and let cool completely before cutting. Serve with desired sauce or ice-cream.

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