Hollandse Appeltaart

This Friday E. turned 34 years old, to celebrate I made him two cakes. One chocolate cake, filled with chocolate cuttercream, both made from mix. I covered the cake with chocolate fondant and decorated it with a World of Warcraft logo made from marzipan.

The other cake I made was Hollandse Appeltaart, a.k.a. Dutch Apple Pie. It differs from apple pies from other countries, because the filling contains raisins, cinnamon and lemon juice and the crust is not a tart crust but something between pâte brisée and cake. Traditionally, this apple pie is made with a Dutch variety of apples called Goudrenet, which is a tart (but not too much) apple. If you can’t find those use any other kind of tart apple, but don’t use apples that are too tart, otherwise you’ll end up with a sour-tasting apple pie. I like to add some dried cranberries to the apple pie and I usually use more cinnamon than the recipe says ’cause I love cinnamon!

Holandse Appeltaart

1 kg tart apples, like Goudrenet (which I used) or Granny Smith
Juice of 1 medium-sized lemon, freshly squeezed
70 g caster sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
50 g raisins
50 g raisins

250 g unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for greasing the pan
250 g all-purpose flour
250 g self-raising flour
250 g caster sugar
2 large eggs
½ tsp lemon zest, freshly grated
1 Tbsp water
Pinch of salt

1 Tbsp dried breadcrumbs

70 g apricot jam
30 ml (2 Tbsp) white rum (or water)

Put the raisins in a small bowl along with a splash of cinnamon liquor and let them soak for 15 minutes.

Prepare the filling
In the meantime, in a large bowl, add the lemon juice. Start peeling, coring and cutting the apples into small pieces, placing them in the bowl as you go. Stir them around in the lemon juice every once in a while, so that they don’t discolor. Add the raisins to the bowl along with the sugar and cinnamon. Mix well with a wooden spoon or spatula. Set bowl aside.

Butter the bottom and sides of your spring-form pan generously and preheat your oven to 180-185 degrees Celsius.

Prepare the dough
In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large bowl), beat the butter on medium speed with the paddle attachment (or with your hand-held mixer), until softened and creamy, for 1-2 minutes. Sift all-purpose and self-raising flour directly into the bowl and add the sugar, salt, lemon zest, water and the egg. Mix all the ingredients with your hands and knead until you have a smooth, shiny, soft yet pliable dough that’s not sticking to your hands. It will come together very quickly and easily. If it’s too dry, add a teaspoon of water and if it’s sticky, add a little bit of all-purpose flour. Cut off a third of the dough and leave it aside.

Take the rest of the dough, shape it into a ball and place it in the middle of the spring-form pan. Using the back of your hand, press the dough over the bottom and up the sides of the pan. The dough should come up to 2/3 of the height of the pan. Try to spread the dough as evenly as possible.
Sprinkle the base of the pastry case with the dried breadcrumbs, which are used to soak up the juices from the apples, so that the base doesn’t become soggy.

Mix the filling once more with a spoon or spatula and empty it into the pan. It should fill the whole pastry case.

Take the piece of dough you left aside and divide it into smaller pieces. Roll each piece into long, thin round strips and use them to decorate the tart, lattice style.

Place the pan on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 45-50 minutes, until the crust takes on a golden-brown color.

Prepare apricot glaze
Ten minutes before the pie is ready, prepare the glaze by putting the apricot jam and the rum (or water) in a small saucepan. Heat the jam over medium heat, until it comes to the boil and then immediately remove from the heat.

When the apple pie is ready, take it out of the oven and immediately glaze it, using a pastry brush. Allow the pie to slightly cool inside the pan and then remove the sides of the pan. Allow to cool completely and if you want, move the pie onto a platter or cake stand.

The pie is eaten either warm or at room temperature. It is best eaten the day you make it, as well as the following day.
It can be kept at room temperature, covered, for 2 days and as the days pass, the crust will become softer and more cake-like.


>My big 30th Birthday High Tea Party


This was it, Sunday I finally turned 30 and had a wonderfull party outside my apartmentbuilding with lots of my friends and family.
Hours of preparation went into this party searching the Internet for great recipes to make just for this occasion, I even had a give-away back in April to inquire what other bloggers thought I should serve. Some of the suggestions made it and some didn’t….

These strawberry cupcakes were made by me earlier this month for Taste & Create, only without the original topping, recipe to be found here. I had run out of butter so I had to come up with my own version, here’s what I did:
Creamcheese frosting
200 grams cream cheese at room temperature
2 tablespoons raspberry-flavoured liqueur
1 cup powdered sugar
17 strawberries
Place cream cheese, liqueur in a medium bowl and powdered sugar in a bowl and beat just until blended. Cut thestrawberries in half. Top each cupcake with a dollop of creamcheese frosting and garnish cake with strawberry halves.
The miniature tiramisu cupcakes were such a huge succes at work back in May, that I instantly knew I had to make them again.
Shelby of The Life and Loves of Grumpy’s Honeybunch suggested that I make Cucumber Sandwiches. Instead of going for the traditional sandwiches I opted for these cuties, here’s what I did:
Open-faced Cucumber Sandwiches
2 packs of party bread (I found these presliced at my supermarket, of course you could use rolls or baguette)
200 grams cream cheese at room temperature
1 clove of garlic, very finely chopped
1 tbsp Rosa Maria Dipper (herb mixture from Oil & Vinegar, also available in U.S.A. and other countries!!)
salt and pepper to taste
1 cucumber
dill, chopped
Mix the cream cheese with the garlic and Rosa Maria Dipper, add salt and pepper to taste. Slice the cucumber into thin slices. Divide the cream cheese mixture over the slices of bread, put one slice of cucumber on each sandwich and sprinkle some dill on top.

Chicken and Salmon wraps, easily made and gone in 60 seconds.
These Cranberry Scones were amazing, my mom actually made them after the recipe suggested by Steph from Obsessed with Baking. They were quite easily put together, we left out the orange glaze and served them with orange marmalade, strawberry jam and Clotted Cream from Devonshire. Delicious!!
I also served two fruit salads: one with red fruits and one with green/yellow fruits, but I forgot to take pictures!!!
As the following pictures show we had a lovely afternoon with great weather!
I hope all my birthdays to come will be equally wonderful!!

>Happy Birthday to me!


Today was my best birthday so far: I entered zone 30 and celebrated this wonderful age with lots of friends and family, although some could not be here… (I miss all of you, my dear Canadian friends!!)

Here’s what we enjoyed today, the recipes will follow tomorrow as I’m terribly tired now and really want to go to bed…..