Dutch traditional apple pie/Oma’s klassieke appeltaart – Susanne’s way

Dutch appeltaart

This recipe is one of the most common home-made traditional cakes in The Netherlands. The recipe is a family tradition passed on from one generation to the next one. Probably each family has its own version…and they are all nice! This is Tim’s sister Susanne’s own version. It is served mainly with coffee during weekends as a ‘Sunday treat’ for the greedy ones among them.

Difficulty:Difficult  Time: Very long

INGREDIENTS (x 12 persons)

For the dough

  • - 300 g notnon-raising plain flour (‘00’)
  • - 175 g unsalted cold butter, diced
  • - 150 g caster sugar
  • - 1/2 egg
  • - 1/2 organic lemon zest
  • - 1 pinch salt

For the filling

  • - 3 ‘Granny Smith’ apples
  • - 4 ‘Braeburn’ apples
  • - 50 g raisins (optional)
  • - 1 teaspoon ‘Speculaas’ spices (or cinnamon only)
  • - 50 g of caster sugar
  • - 4 tablespoons ‘Griesmeel pudding –Vanille’


For the dough

  • 1. Wisk the egg with a fork in a small bowl.
  • 2. In a Kitchen Aid mix the flour with a pinch of salt, the sugar, the cold-diced butter and ½ egg. Keep the rest of the egg for later. Mix until the dough turns into a uniform mix.
  • 3. Finish working the dough with your hands on a flat, clean surface.
  • 4. Then make a ball out of the dough and wrap it in a foil paper to rest into the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
  • 5. In the meanwhile get ready for the filling.

For the filling

  • 1. Peel the apples and cut in small pieces.
  • 2. In a large bowl, mix the apples with the raisins, the spices, the sugar and 2 tablespoons of the vanilla pudding.
  • 3. Pre-heat the oven at 180°C, not ventilated.

For the pie

  • 1. Take the pastry dough out of the fridge.
  • 2. With a rolling pin, stretch out 2/3 of the dough on a 26 cm baking pan, making high borders in order to cover up the entire pan.
  • 3. Sprinkle the bottom with 2 tablespoons of vanilla pudding and pour the apples mix.
  • 4. Cover the pie with dough stripes you can make out from the remaining 1/3 of the dough. Cross the stripes to make a kind of a grid.
  • 5. With the left over egg glow the stripes using a brush for cooking.
  • 6. Let it bake for 1h and 15 minutes in the pre-heated oven. Enjoy! (eet smakelijk!)


  • - This recipe comes out very nicely by mixing the two different types of apples in this proportion. Granny Smith apples are firm with strong tartness resembling that of a lemon. Braeburn apples have a robust spicy-sweet flavour with a hint of nutmeg and cinnamon — they are excellent for apple pies. If not available in your area, try to have a quality that resembles these two different apples


  • - The ‘Speculaas’ spices are very popular in the north of Europe to make cakes, biscuits or traditional pastries for winter celebrations, such as Santa Claus. If not available where you live, use cinnamon only. If you wish to make your own home made powder, you can mix (Dutch recipe):

- 20g cinnamon
- 10g nutmeg
- 5g cloves
- 1 pinch cardamom

  • -  The ‘Griesmeel pudding –Vanille’ is a ready-made pudding powder, commercially available everywhere in the Netherlands. In other countries, you can substitute it with another similar pudding or with the powder to make the custard cream. If not found with the Vanille flavour, add to the filling mix a bag of vanilla extract in powder.
  • - This pie can be served warm together with whipped cream or vanilla ice-cream.

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Stuffed cherry tomatoes

stuffed cherry tomato

Difficulty:Very easy  Time:Quick

INGREDIENTS (x 4 persons):

  • - 10 cherry tomatoes
  • - 1 small handful of grated Parmesan
  • - 50 g of robiola cheese or creamy soft goat cheese
  • - extra virgin olive oil
  • - salt, ground pepper (optional)
  • - thyme or oregano


  • 1. Cut the cherry tomatoes in halves and take the seeds out. Place the two halves on a cheese platter or a small serving tray.
  • 2. In a large bowl, mix the cheese with thyme or oregano, salt/pepper, and Parmesan.
  • 3. Stuff the cherry tomatoes with the mix. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil and ground pepper (optional).
  • 4. Keep them in the fridge for at least 1/2 hour and serve it cold.


  • - This is a summer recipe which is super easy and super quick! You can eat it as a starter or as a party snack.
  • - If you go for goat’s cheese, try to avoid the dry, crumble version.
  • - In place of the aromatic herbs, you could also use fresh basil leaves, finely chopped.

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Ricotta mousse, strawberries and mint

DolciAug 14 20137 Comments

strawberry mousse

Difficulty:Very easy  Time:Quick

INGREDIENTS (x 6 persons):

  • - 100 g powdered caster sugar
  • - 300 g soft ricotta cheese
  • - 100 g double cream
  • - 2 tablespoons light and mild acacia honey
  • - 1 handful fresh mint leaves
  • - 500 g strawberries, sliced


  • 1. In a large bowl, mix the ricotta cheese with the caster sugar and the honey. Thoroughly mix it until all soft and creamy.
  • 2. In a separate bowl whip the double cream up until it resembles a fluffy cloud then add it to the mix, stirring everything carefully.
  • 3. You can serve the mousse just as it is by pouring a generous amount of it in a small serving cup. Decorate it with roughly cut strawberries and fresh mint leaves. Finish with a dust of caster sugar on top, if you like.


  • - This recipe comes very nicely with any kind of fresh berries or other types of seasonal summer fruits you like, such as peaches.
  • - You can give an extra sweet flavour to your mousse by adding a teaspoon of mild honey on top in place of the caster sugar dust.
  • - In terms of flavour, I would suggest to use a double cream you can whip up instead of a ready-to-use whipped cream.

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Schiacciatine (a hamburger version from the South of Italy)


Difficulty:Difficult  Time: Long

INGREDIENTS (x 12 small burgers):

  • - 500 g lean minced beef meat
  • - 2 big slices sourdough bread (about 150 g)
  • - 250 ml milk
  • - 1 egg
  • - 1 garlic clove, thinly chopped (optional)
  • - 1 handful of grated parmesan
  • - 30 g grated mature English Cheddar cheese
  • - 80 g plain breadcrumbs
  • - 1 large handful of parsley, finely chopped
  • - salt/pepper
  • - extra-virgin olive oil


  • 1. Tear apart the bread slices with your hands and let them soak up the milk in a large cup. After few minutes squeeze the milk out of the bread.
  • 2. In a large bowl, thoroughly mix the minced meat with the egg, the squeezed bread chunks, salt, pepper, parmesan and cheddar, parsley and garlic (optional). It is best to mix it with your hands, but a fork can do too.
  • schiacciatine3. When finally uniform, take about 50 g of the mix and roll it into a ball shape. Press each ball between your hands in order to shape it like a hamburger (schiacciatina).
  • 4. Then carefully roll each side of the burger in breadcrumbs and place it on a separate plate.
  • 5. In the meanwhile pre-heat a non-sticky grilling pan or your barbeque. When hot, grill the burgers at medium heat until they are crusty and properly grilled on both sides.
  • 6. Serve them warm with a drizzle of olive oil on top.


  • - For this recipe I have selected an ‘English Vintage Reserve’ Cheddar cheese, which I thought could be similar to what I normally use in Italy. If you can find it in a local store, try to use Italian ‘latteria’ cheese, such as Montasio or Asiago DOP cheeses. If not, choose any other savoury cheese you like, according to your preferences.
  • - This recipe is the base to prepare other dishes such as “schiacciatine in the oven with potatoes” and  “polpette al sugo” (meatballs in tomato sauce).


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Goat’s cheese mousse on a courgette “pyramid”

Courgette Pyramid

Difficulty:Easy   Time: Long

INGREDIENTS: (x 4 persons)

  • - 2 long courgettes
  • - 150g fresh, soft goat’s cheese
  • - extra virgin olive oil
  • - salt/pepper
  • - 1 organic lemon
  • - 6 baby plum tomatoes
  • - few leaves of fresh basil and mint
  • - 3 slices of sourdough bread
  • - toothpicks


  • Courgette Pyramid1. Slice the courgettes lengthwise and grill the slices in a hot, griddle non-sticky pan. When ready, dress the slices with salt, olive oil, and finely chopped mint leaves.
  • 2. In the meanwhile mix the soft goat’s cheese with a pinch of salt and pepper, as well as the basil leaves that you’ve finely chopped. Add ¼ of lemon skin (try to shave off the yellow part only), and add a few drops of the lemon juice. Whip the mix into a mousse.
  • 3. Then, cut the slices of sourdough bread in small bites and grill them in the griddle pan. On each bite spread some mousse and on top lay a rolled-up slice of courgette. In the roll fit half a plum tomato. Fix everything together with a toothpick.


  • - The goat’s cheese has to be creamy. Try to avoid a hard version of goat cheese
  • - You can substitute the plum tomato with a dried tomato in oil (found in local shops).

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Bruschetta with tomatoes

Bruschetta Bruschetta

Difficulty: Very easy  Time: Quick

INGREDIENTS: (x 2 bruschette)

  • - 2 round mature and savoury tomatoes
  • - 1 small handful of basil leaves or oregano (according to your taste)
  • - 1/2 clove of garlic
  • - extra virgin olive oil
  • - salt
  • - 2 thick slices of sourdough


  • 1. Roughly chop the basil and tomatoes in small pieces.
  • 2. In a separate bowl, mix the tomatoes, salt and basil (or oregano) with abundant olive oil. Set the mix aside for at least half an hour so that the tomatoes flavour well.
  • 3. Grill the slices of bread on both sides and then gently rub one side with a peeled side of the garlic clove.
  • 4. On the same side drizzle some extra virgin olive oil and then add some of the tomato mix. Serve it warm.

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“Tagliatelle al Ragù” – Marcella’s way

PrimiAug 10 20135 Comments


Difficulty: Difficult Time:Long


For the Ragù (x 10 persons)

  • - 1 large handful of “soffritto” base (chopped onion, celery, and carrot)
  • - Extra-virgin olive oil
  • - 400 gr minced beef meat
  • - 400 gr minced pork meat
  • - 800 ml of Italian tomato sauce (“passata”)
  • - 2 glasses of red wine
  • - salt/pepper/nutmeg

For the Pasta (x 4 persons)

  • - 320 g Tagliatelle
  • - 1 large handful of grated parmesan
  • - 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter
  • - sea salt


For the Ragù

  • 1. Sweat the “soffritto” base with a fair amount of olive oil in a deep pan.
  • 2. Add the minced meat with a rich amount of freshly grinded nutmeg. Add the wine and let the wine evaporate at high temperate. Pour the tomato sauce and add some salt and pepper.
  • 3. Let it cook at low fire until the sauce is creamy for about  ½ – 1 hour.

For the Pasta

  • 1. Put a deep pan of water on a fire, cover with a lid and let it get up to boil. When boiling, bring down to a gentle boil and add a handful of sea salt. Let the water get back to boiling before adding the pasta. Check the boiling time on the packaging of the pasta, but start tasting the pasta for ‘al dente’ in the last minute or two
  • 2. When the pasta is ready, get rid of the water
  • 3. Add the sauce to the pasta. Make sure to add some butter and the parmisan. Gently mix all together…and enjoy it!


  • - Start preparing the sauce well in advance as it takes some time!
  • - The left over sauce can be frozen and used when needed other times.
  • - Use the ragù in rich quantities to dress tagliatelle or other types of short Italian pasta. One of the best combinations of pasta and ragù is with Lasagne!
  • - You can find a good “soffritto” base in your local supermarket. If not, you can use an electric chopper at home by adding an equal amount of the 3 veggies (onion, celery, carrot).
  • - The nutmeg can be found in powder (easy!) as well as in a dry nut version. You will need to grind the dry nut into powder yourself.
  • - The typical italian basic tomato sauce is called ‘passata’. Sometimes you can find it named liked this in your local shops.

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