Sweet Sunday – Traditional Dutch Apple Pie

Birthday means cake. Birthday means choosing your own cake. In my family, birthday means choosing what cake Lisa has to make. This week it was my sister’s turn. Her choice has been the same for many years: Apple Pie. 

 I always make the traditional Dutch Apple Pie, which is almost always served with whipped cream, and if you really want to go overboard, you add a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Although, this is actually best when your pie is fresh out of the oven, so the ice oozes all over the pie… 

 Honestly, I am not a big fan of apple pie, for no particular reason. It just doesn’t do it for me. This is different for the rest of The Netherlands though, you’ll see people eating the pie with their coffee at around 11 in the morning . And you’ll find it on almost every menu.

There are two Dutch apple pie varieties: the lattice pie (which is the one I make, and which is most popular) and the crumb pie. They are basically made in the same way, and taste the same way. The difference lies in the texture of the pastry. 

 I believe the main distinction between the Dutch apple pies and the American or British ones, is the fact that these pies are always double-crusted, so pastry at the bottom and on top. Also, the Dutch pie is never covered all the way with pastry.

However, I bet apple pie lovers will find all these various varieties to be delicious. I would like to state that the Dutch one is probably the best though (you know, national pride and all that). Enjoy!!

Traditional Dutch Apple Pie

  • Servings: 10-12
  • Time: 2 hr and 15 min
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 300 grams plain flour
  • 125 grams white caster sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 175 grams butter
  • 1 egg
  • 750 grams apples (Dutch varieties: Elstar and Goudrenet)
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 60 grams sugar
  • Optional: handful of raisins

Used kitchen appliances

  • Oven
  • Springform
  • 2 Mixing bowls
  • Sieve
  • Rolling pin
  • Cling foil

Preparation

  1. Sieve the flour, sugar and salt over the mixing bowl. Dice the butter and add to the bowl. Rub the butter in the flour with your fingertips until a crumbly dough is formed. Add the egg and knead into a ball with cold hands.
  2. Cover 1/3 of the dough in cling foil. Grease the springform with butter. Cover the bottom and sides of the springform with the rest of the dough. Place the form and the ball of dough in the fridge and let rest for 30 minutes.
  3. In the meantime, peel the apples and slice. Place in the mixing bowls and add the cinnamon, sugar and lemon juice (optional: add raisins). Stir the mixture, place in the form and return it to the fridge.

  4. Preheat the oven to 175C. On a dusted surface, roll out the dough ball and form about 8 thin slices. Place them on the apple mixture in a braiding method (one slice should first go above one slice and then underneath another one and so on) – or you could just lay them out on the pie as you want.
  5. Bake in the oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Take out of the oven and leave to cool in the form.

If you’d like another amazing Apple Pie recipe, try Bustrengo! An Italian apple pie made with polenta!

Sweet Sunday – Classic French Madeleines

For the first time since 1,5 month, there’s a Sweet Sunday post! And it’s a good one if I may say so myself.

I always deemed Madeleines as impossible to make, because 1. I did not have a madeleine tin, and 2. I did not know how to get that soft texture of the cookies, and 3. I was afraid to try.classic french madeleines

However, turns out that it actually is incredibly easy to make these beautiful small cakes, especially when you finally do have a tin! The main thing to keep in mind though, is to ensure that there is a lot of air in the batter. First step is to whisk eggs, sugar, and vanilla extract together, at which point you will need to keep beating until the mixture is thick yet fluffy.classic french madeleinesWith an electric whisk, it will probably take you about 5-7 minutes. If you use the traditional good ole’ manual whisk, like myself, it’ll take about 10-15 minutes. Just put on an episode of your favourite show (it was Family Guy for me this time) and keep whisking! You’ll even get some great toned arms in the process, win-win!classic french madeleinesAfter beating the crap out of those eggs and sugar, a more delicate step follows. Sieving the flour is in this case of high importance, as you want to prevent any lumps forming in your batter. Furthermore, the melted butter is added by pouring it against the sides of your mixing bowl. Why do this? To not let out all the air of the egg/sugar mixture that you just so formidably made.classic french madeleines

All that succeeds this, is baking the Madeleines for just 10 minutes. After which you can indulge in the soft, springy cakes that have a wonderfully elegant aroma of vanilla. Bon appétit!

French Madeleines

  • Servings: 10 madeleines
  • Time: 30 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 60 grams (1/2 cup) butter
  • 60 grams (1/2 cup) white caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 60 grams (1/2 cup) self rising flour

Used kitchen appliances

  • Oven
  • Small pan
  • Madeleine tin
  • Brush
  • Mixing bowl
  • Whisk
  • Sieve.

Preparation

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C or 360F. In the small pan, melt the butter on a low heat. Let cool once melted.
  2. Use a brush to lightly grease the madeleine tin.
  3. In the mixing bowl, add the eggs, sugar, and vanilla extract. Whisk until the mixture is pale, thick, and has doubled in size.
  4. Gently sieve the flour over the mixture. Pour in the melted butter via the sides of the mixing bowl. Do not pour it in the middle of the mixture!
  5. Fill the madeleine tin with the batter, and bake in the oven for 10 minutes or until golden.

The madeleines will keep in an airtight container for about 1 day.

 

Dutch White Asparagus with Ham, Eggs, & Melted Butter

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Time for the White Gold, the Dutch pride; the white asparagus.white asparagus

These wonderful stalks of deliciousness are best somewhere between the beginning of April and the end of June. When exactly can the asparagus be harvested, completely depends on the temperature of the ground. Harsh winters make for a late harvest, sometimes at the end of May. Luckily, this winter was quite warm, meaning that the asparagus harvest began at the end of April!white asparagus
Via friends of my father, we were able to get the true Dutch asparagus, all the way from the southern province of Limburg. This region is best suited for asparagus cultivation due to the sandy ground and the relatively regular climate.white asparagus

Personally, I find that asparagus -especially the white variety- should be eaten as they are. I’m a purist when it comes to this stunning vegetable. The flavour of the asparagus is so extraordinary and significant, that it should only be accompanied by softer ingredients.white asparagus

My favourite recipe ever is one with white asparagus, diced ham, hard boiled eggs, and melted butter. What’s your preferred way of eating asparagus? Do you prefer the green or the white sort?

Dutch White Asparagus with Ham, Eggs, & Melted Butter

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 30 minutes
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Ingredients

  • 12 white asparagus
  • 300 grams ham
  • 8 eggs
  • 60 grams butter
  • Optionalsmall potatoes

Used kitchen appliances

  • Asparagus pan (if you don’t have this, take a pan with a large diameter)
  • Vegetable peeler
  • Small pan

Preparation

  1. Remove the bottoms of the asparagus. Peel the outer skin of the stalks. Place the skin and bottom in the pan (for even more flavour), as well as the stalks. Pour in enough water for the asparagus to be covered. Bring to the boil, and let boil for about 15 minutes (depending on the thickness of the stalks)
  2. In the meantime, dice the ham and hard boil the eggs for 8 minutes.
  3. Test to see if the asparagus are done by pricking a fork in the stalk, which should be soft yet firm. Drain the water.
  4. Roughly chop the eggs.
  5. In the small pan, heat the butter on a low heat until melted. Place the asparagus on a plate, with the ham and eggs, and pour over the butter.

Serve with bread or small potatoes.

Z is for Zabaglione

This dessert has been a revelation to me. It always amazes me how 6 (!) egg yolks can turn into something as divine as this Zabaglione. Zabaglione

The dessert is incredibly quick and easy to make, but stunningly flavourful. It looks creamy, but it actually isn’t at all! However, it is incredibly sweet and you have the lovely taste of alcohol from the marsala, but both flavours do not overpower each other. Perfect balance.Zabaglione

You could play around with the drink you use, I imagine it would be amazing with Amaretto as well. Or go extremely luxurious and try Champagne!Zabaglione

It’s the perfect dessert to end an Italian dinner with. And also the perfect ending to this month of posts about Italian cuisine.

I thoroughly enjoyed the A-Z Challenge, although it sometimes was quite hard to juggle work, thesis writing, sleep and the blog all at the same time. I hope that I’ve made you happy with all these Italian food posts, and I expect some lovely Italian dinners to be happening all over the world!

Thanks for reading, following, liking, and commenting on all 30 posts (wow.)! I love you all.

Zabaglione

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 5 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 6 egg yolks (you can store the whites in the freezer and use them for a pavlova for instance!)
  • 100 ml marsala
  • 100 gr cane sugar
  • Handful of berries (I used blueberries)
  • Fresh mint leaves

Used kitchen appliances

  • Small pan
  • Bowl that can rest on top of the pan (au-bain-marie)
  • (electric) Whisk

Preparation

  1. Place the pan on a medium heat with water. The bowl needs to be able to rest on top of the pan so the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. Bring to the boil.
  2. Turn to a low heat. Add the yolks, marsala, and cane sugar to the bowl. Whisk until the substance turns stiff.
  3. Serve warm with berries and fresh mint, or make biscotti to dip.

Y is for Your Italian Food Travel List

So, there’s been 28 posts about Italian cuisine so far. Some are recipes made throughout the country, and some are recipes specific to a certain region. It’s easy to get lost in what is made where and such, so I’ve created an overview of the recipes that have been on the blog, which let you see where you need to travel to in order for you to try the classics in their homeland! If you don’t have the money and time to do so, make them yourselves and you’ll dream away to those beautiful places easily.

All over Italy
Crostini
Espresso

Gelato
Tagliatacrostini

Capri
Caprese Salad

Liguria
Focacciafocaccia

Napels
Just one word: pizza. More Neapolitan Cuisine here.

Piemonte
Vitello Tonnato
Zabaglione

Rome
Mozzarella
Where to Eat in Rome

San Marino
Bustrengo (Apple polenta cake)italian bustrengo

Sicily
Arancini
Ricotta Pie

Looking for when to serve which dish? Find out about Dining in Italy here.

X is for Xpresso

Oh man, what a title. I’m sorry for that.

Anyways, Espresso it is! That strong caffeinated drink that Italians just cannot get enough of. Perfectly understandable if you ask me. It’s a quick energy boost, and I mean, Italian espressos are the real deal. My big complaint about the espresso that I get here in The Netherlands, is that it taste so much like metal. So you can imagine that I was a very happy person when I was in Rome this month!

I’ve had some great ones at a small coffee stand in Parco del Colle Oppio, and at Caffè L’100 located on the Via di San Giovanni in Laterano.caffè l'100

Espresso is basically just a small amount of water which is forced through finely ground beans. Any type of coffee beans can be used, although the Italians from the southern regions prefer a darker blend, as opposed to the north where light blends are more popular.Throughout Italy though, espresso is served after dinner to help digestion (I’ve mentioned this before here).espresso

Cappuccino on the other hand, is a breakfast drink. My theory is that due to the amount of creaminess in the drink, it will not work well if you’ve had dessert. I’ve also read that you can’t even drink cappuccino after 10am. Anyways, these are traditional “rules”, there is no waiter that will not give you cappuccino after your dinner (it’s all about the money, it’s all about the dum dum dididumdum).cappuccino

Not only is espresso a wonderful drink on its own, it’s also used as a base for many other drinks such as caffè americano, caffè latte and cappuccino.
What is your favourite type of coffee? When do you prefer an espresso?

W is for Where to Eat in Rome

As you may have read in previous posts, I’ve visited Rome in the beginning of April. I’ve eaten loads of food, drank a lot of wine and beer, and been to some restaurants that are worth mentioning to you!

The thing with these restaurants is that you should not be put off by the interior, cause more often than not it is not that attractive. Try to stay out of the more touristy parts, to avoid the typical “tourist foods”. Read more about finding a restaurant in Rome here (or any big city for that matter).

Here’s where you should go to enjoy some authentic Italian food when in Rome:

Trattoria au Musea Vaticani
Best. Pizza. Ever. Located about two streets away from Vatican Museum, this is a typcial trattoria. Italians come here to enjoy their lunch. There’s an amazing hostess who talks to literally everyone, and makes you feel welcome. You might even get a Pizza Bianca, Pecorino cheese and some pastries for free!
Via Sebastiano Veniero 78
00100 Roma

Pizza bianca

Pizza bianca, just cheese and oregano

Ulpia
This restaurant has a magnificent view on the Foro Traiano and the Via dei Fori Imperiali, overlooking the Altare della Patria constructed in honour of King Vittorio Emmanuele I. I would advise you to sit outside on the balcony, otherwise I’d go elsewhere, cause it’s really the view that makes this place so special.
Foro Traiano 2
00187, Roma

La Taverna dei Monti
Located in Quirinale, in a side alley where you would easily walk by. Don’t. It has the most amazing food, all traditional, and home made tiramisu (which you do not get in all restaurants, don’t be fooled). The house wine is just as flavourful. The owners are sweet people, with heart for their business. Try the vongole and gnocchi al pesto when you’re there!
Via del Boschetto 41
00184 Roma

Il Giardino Roma

Il Giardino

Il Giardino Di Giulia E Fratelli
Okay, so this one is so precious to me that I kind of want to keep it a secret all for myself. On the long Via Appia Antica you’ll find an oasis of peace and calm, where you can also eat tremendously tasty food. Family owned, the mother of Giulia runs this place, and does so with so much pleasure and joy! The wine is made by the restaurant itself (they own multiple places along the Appian Road), and they did one fine job! Perfect for lunch, I suggest the antipasti platter as a starter, and the canneloni as a main.
176 Via Appia Antica
00179 Roma

Canneloni

Canneloni from Giulia

Elettra
Close to Termini station, this is a historical restaurant that’s been in service for almost 100 years. Opened by Miss Elettra back in 1923, this family owned restaurant has a special place in the menu for their risotto’s: a risotteria with 9 different kinds! You can sit outside, or inside, and are welcomed with a glass of Prosecco.
Via Principe Amadeo 72a/74
00185 Roma

What are some of your favourite restaurants in Rome if you’ve been? Which one of these would you like to visit?

Week 4 of the A to Z Challenge

Here’s what happened in week 4 of Italian Cuisine!

Q is for Quattro Staggioni

Pizza Quatro Staggioni

Pizza Quatro Staggioni

R is for Ricotta Pie 

ricotta pie with raisins and pine nuts

Ricotta pie with Raisins and Pine nuts

S is for Sicily

italian gelato in sicily

Choosing my first Italian gelato in Taormina, Sicily

T is for Tagliata

tagliata

Thinly sliced beef marinated in olive oil with balsamic vinegar and Parmesan cheese

U is for Uva a.k.a Italian Wine

chianti sangiovese

A Chianti as served in Trastevere, Roma.

V is for Vitello Tonnato

vitello tonnato

Thinly sliced veal with tuna mayonnaise and capers

 

V is for Vitello Tonnato

Vitello Tonnato is just as classic as a carpaccio. It resembles it only in that both feature thinly sliced meat. This dish however uses veal, and is smothered in a deliciously creamy tune mayonnaise. To be honest, I know it’s not how it it supposed to be, but I normally serve the sauce along with spaghetti. It is one our family’s favourite dishes.  

 The recipe originates form Piedmont, a northwest region of Italy. It begins with you basically making a broth, and boiling the meat along with some vegetables to enhance the flavour. In the meantime you make your very own tuna mayonnaise, which is ridiculously easy (as you can also find out in my Club Sandwich recipe). All you need is either a food processor, or a really strong arm. I would advise you to use the processor for this one though, as you’ll need to incorporate some vast ingredients. Also, don’t forget to cool the sauce in the fridge, this makes the flavours come out even more!  

  If you’re a lover of anchovies or want to follow the traditional recipe, add a can of the little fishes! I am not too fond of them myself, so I leave them out of any recipe I make. But they do add a certain Mediterranean saltiness that you cannot get from regular salt.

Vitello Tonnato is a perfect dish to serve during an Italian buffet, or as a secondo. Enjoy it with a chilled glass of Fiano or Pinot Grigio

Vitello Tonnato

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Time: 45 min
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 750 gr veal
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 1 carrot
  • 2 liter water
  • 1 egg
  • Salt
  • 300 ml olive oil
  • 1 can of tuna
  • Optional: capers, anchovies, parsley

Used kitchen appliances

  • Food processor
  • Large pan

Preparation

  1. Roughly chop the celery and carrot. Add it to the pan along with the water and bring to the boil. Once boiling, add the meat. Let boil for about 25 minutes or until cooked through.
  2. Drain the tuna. In the food processor, beat the egg with some freshly ground salt. Gradually add the olive oil while mixing after each addition. Finally, add the tuna (you could also add some anchovies and capers at this point). Season to taste.
  3. Finely slice the meat. Place on a plate, cover with the tuna sauce, capers and fresh parsley.

U is for Uva a.k.a Wine

I’m a big sucker for wine. You can pour any white, red, rose, or sparkling wine in my glass and I’ll drink it. As long as it tastes nice, I’ll be happy. Ofcourse, I do have some preferences. For instance, I am not a big fan of French wines. I don’t know why, but they just don’t work for me. I adore wines from South America and Australia.

And I am absolutely in love with Italian wines (how surprising). As one of the oldest wine-producing regions in the world, the Italians have learned to make the best of the best.

Here are my favourites:

Pinot Grigio
A white wine which, due to its freshness, is perfect for hot summer nights. One of the most popular white wines, also known as Pinot Gris in France. It’s delicious with a pizza or past, or just as a chilled drink while soaking up the sun.

chianti sangiovese

A Chianti as drank my myself in Trastevere, Roma.

Sangiovese
The red Sangiovese grape is grown in Emilia-Romagna and Tuscany. Typical for this wine is a spicy, powerful flavour and can contain quite some tannins. It is often used in a blend with other red wine grapes, such as Cabernet Sauvignon to make Tuscany’s most famous wine: Chianti.

Fiano
This wine is relatively unknown, but my favourite. The Fiano grape is cultivated in the Campania region of Italy and in Sicily. The dry white wine has a strong flavour with notes of tropical fruits. I love to drink this wine with grilled fish or with a salad, as it is quite light.

Lambrusco

My dad is pouring me a glass of red Lambrusco.

Lambrusco
This sparkling wine comes in white, rose, and red, but I would definitely recommend trying the red variety which is less sweet. White Lambrusco is amazing when served chilled during a picknick or light meal, although it can accompany a heavy dish just as perfectly. The grape originates from Emilia-Romagna and Lumbardy.

What are your favourite wines? Do you prefer the Old World over the New? Rather drink a white than a red? Let me know in the comments!