Monday, 4 October 2010
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:
150g plain flour
35g soft brown sugar
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...