Sure, you like to cook, but sometimes you want to bake just a single cupcake or whip up fajitas for one. Bustle’s new series, Single Serving, dishes up your favorite recipes in the perfect portions for when your speed is less “entertaining my crew” and more “watching Netflix alone on my couch.”
A pie can be an intimidating pastry to even the most experienced of bakers. The level of skill required to achieve a perfect, flaky crust seems so astronomical, it makes most mutter, "I can't bake" in premature defeat — even me! Yep: Up until my grandmother — whom I affectionately called Oma, Dutch for grandma — flattened a piece of a paper that I had just crumbled up with our family recipe for an appeltaart (Dutch apple tart, in English) on it, I too gave up in defeat during the pie-making process. But, as she taught me, it doesn't have to be hard, and you definitely should not give up. After all, the secret to good baking is repetition! That in mind, I set out to adapt my family's recipe for the masses, ensuring that even the most beginner of bakers can master making a classic Dutch appeltaart. The original recipe was for a full-sized appeltaart, but considering it's so delicious that anyone who makes it definitely won't want to share it, I adapted it into a Dutch apple tart recipe for one person.
Before following this recipe myself, my pantry was pretty much a baker's desert. Instead, I mostly just bought slices of pie from local bakeries, because I feared failure if I tried to make anything myself. But Oma's recipe required no pastry knowledge, and mastering it helped me build my baking confidence brick by brick (of butter, let's be real) until my pantry was overflowing with flour and apples and pie pans. And now, I've just released my first cookbook (featuring this recipe, of course), The Taartwork Pies Cookbook! This Dutch appeltaart recipe is straightforward and asks you to just throw everything together — so it's really low-stress. What you'll be rewarded with is a sweet crust hugging a hoard of thinly sliced, adequately spiced, sour apple slices.
Sometimes that craving for a slice of pie strikes on a random Wednesday — and that's totally appropriate. If you don't want to venture outside for one, you can easily whip up this simple appeltaart recipe for one, probably with what you already have on hand in your kitchen. If you do feel like whipping up a pie for a party of six to eight people, you can find my full appeltaart recipe in my Taartwork Pies Cookbook.
Dutch Apple Pie For One
For the appeltaart crust:
- 1/4 cup, plus 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- Very small, modest pinch of salt
- 2 1/2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
For the apple filling:
- 1/2 tart apple, peeled and thinly sliced (I use Mutsu or Granny Smith)
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- Sprinkle of sugar
- 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
For the topping:
- 1 small egg, beaten
- Raw sugar, for sprinkling
- Ice cream or whipped cream
1. Pre-heat the oven to 350F and fit a rack to the middle position.
1. Combine the flour, sugar, very tiny dash of salt, lemon zest, and butter in a small mixing bowl. If too much salt is added, the crust will be overwhelmed with saltiness, so be very careful here! Less is more.
2. Knead the ingredients together until it comes together in a ball. As you work the butter into the flour, it will first begin to crumb. Keep kneading by digging your fingers into the bowl and mashing the ingredients together with your palm. It will form into a ball in about two to three minutes.
3. Get your apple filling ready. Combine the apple slices, lemon juice, and cinnamon together, then sprinkle with a small spoonful of sugar. Mix with your hands until the slices are coated.
4. Prepare a 4-inch mini-pie tin. Grease the tin with butter. Breaking off pieces of dough, press the dough into the tin. The dough spreads easily, so only use half of the dough ball allowing yourself the other half for the lattice, or the top of the pie. Smooth the edges using your left thumb and right pointer finger, working around the tin.
5. Fill the tin with the apple slices. Any remaining slices that don't fit can just be a snack! (Being halfway there deserves a rewarding snack, after all.)
6. Press the remaining half of the pie dough on a lightly floured surface and flatten into a circle. Using a paring knife, slice six 1/2-inch strands. Arrange the strands of dough over the apples and seal around the rim by morphing the edges together. Because this pie dough is more like a cookie, it's a little less flexible. But, if a strand breaks, that's OK. Just morph it back together using your fingers and best judgment.
7. Using a pastry brush, gently paint the top of the pie with the beaten egg. (This is called a "wash.") You won't use all of the egg for the wash, so save the remaining egg for a scramble!
8. Sprinkle the lattice with raw sugar.
9. Bake the appeltaart for 40 to 45 minutes until it's golden brown and the aroma of a bakery wafts through your kitchen. Allow it to cool for 20 minutes before topping with ice cream (I'm partial to Haagen-Dazs' Vanilla Caramel White Chocolate).
How adorable is that? And the best part is, it's all for you. Sharing isn't caring when it comes to appeltaarts!