Monday, 4 October 2010

Appelgebak (Dutch Apple Cake), First Draft



In a number of Dutch cafes, we enjoyed large slices of something known as appelgebak. We still have a lot of apples on the trees in our garden, so I thought it would be nice to try and recreate it at home.

Unfortunately, Google had other ideas: the recipes I've found online (even in Dutch) bear almost no relation to the cake/pie/crumble crossover that we enjoyed.

Still. I'm not the sort of girl to let a little thing like "no recipe" put me off, am I?

This isn't going to be a traditional recipe post, because the recipe isn't ready yet. Nevertheless, so many of you have commented that you always cook from a recipe (especially when it comes to baking), that I thought you might be interested to watch a recipe evolution in progress. With that in mind, I'm sharing my first draft - an unedited manuscript, if you will. And I'll come with updates as I work on it later.

I started by thinking about the samples we'd eaten. The three key parts were a pastry crust, an apple filling, and a crumble topping.

The pastry wasn't quite like any I'd had before - it was actually somewhere between pastry and cake in texture. This was going to be the challenge to reproduce.

The apple filling was quite simple: apples, raisins, cinnamon. And crumble topping is always straightforward.

How to make the pastry, though...?

I started with regular shortcut pastry proportions of butter and flour (2 parts flour to one part butter), and added a little soft brown sugar. Then, to make it more cake-like, I beat up an egg and threw that in before adding the water. I made a wet mixture - softer than pastry, gloopy but not sloppy - and pressed it into the dish. Then I layered in the sliced apples (using the apple pieces to build a wall, to stop the sides of the not-quite-pastry from falling down) with sugar and cinnamon, and added the crumble topping. I baked it for about half an hour at 170°C.

The ingredient proportions were:
75g butter
150g plain flour
35g soft brown sugar
1 egg
100ml water

3 apples
3tsp soft brown sugar
lots of cinnamon

More butter, flour, sugar and cinnamon to make the crumble topping (I didn't measure these, but I will next time, if I feel I'm getting close to the final recipe).


The result was tasty, but I want to try and make it more authentic for next time. I should have used a deeper dish, and the crumble layer could have been about four times thicker. I need to remember the raisins, add more cinnamon, and probably pre-cook the apple mixture. And I have to edge my experimental cake-pastry slightly more towards the pastry end of the spectrum.

This is a work in progress. Watch this space...

21 comments:

Rachel said...

This sounds lovely just as it stands, but I will be fascinated to see the recipe evolve!

lakeviewer said...

Brilliant! Breaking down a dish and recreating it is a skill we all should have! I'm impressed!

lostinsophistication said...

This is going to be quite the adventure, and I'm eager to see what comes next!

ladyfi said...

Sounds delicious - and looks it too.

MJ said...

I find this genuinely fascinating as someone who has put tin foil in the microwave hundreds of times and still considers that her highest culinary achievement!

The Blonde Duck said...

I can't wait until you finish it. I'm dying to make it myself!

Louiz said...

sounds lovely, and I look forward to watching the evolution:)

Stephanie V said...

An interesting post Loved watching how you came up with the recipe. And the draft result looks pretty tasty.

Bibliomama said...

Never mind making it -- I'm just going to walk around saying it. :)

cornflakegirl74 said...

I love the idea of a work in progress...sometimes it just takes a while to get the recipes just right so I applaud your resilience!

Your version of the appelgebak (I like saying this word, too) looks delish :)

Elisabeth said...

I know this cake from my childhood. It's delicious. I can taste it in my memory even now.

Lily Johnson said...

Wow! Looks yummy

Dave King said...

Looks good. I will definitely bring it to Doreen's attention!

Jamie said...

Yum...regardless of whether it's authentic yet, I want some right now!

You are very creative, aren't you?

Thanks for sharing and I am anxiously waiting for the final recipe. :)

The Blonde Duck said...

I'm so sad. I came back for part two..alas, nothing.

Mademoiselle Poirot said...

Ha! Apple cake/crumble/tart etc must be "so now" ;-) I've posted my baking result from the weekend today :-D Your cake looks delicious, I'm sure it will be fantastic by the time you've worked out the recipe. Have a great week, Love from London x

Chef E said...

Oh Rach! This looks freakin great! I want apple anything now!

classycareergirl said...

I am a fan of cooking off a recipe too. Good luck with the future drafts! It looks yummy!

elianefilho said...

yummy that looks so good gotta try it sometime :)

Jerri said...

What a yummy looking cake! I posted some apple recipes on my blog this week too!

Amy said...

I lived in Amsterdam for a year and have been trying to recreate appelgebak since returning (in 2009). No recipe I've found (google, cookbooks) has been quite right -- not enough cake-y-ness in the center part. I'm so looking forward to your continued experiments with this one.

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