Cootje’s apple pie for Rosh HaShanah

On Rosh HaShanah, Jewish New Year in the synagogue the Shofar – the ramshorn is blown with the deep impressive sounds. Then I close my eyes because I like to keep them in my heart forever. After this service we eat apple with honey and the sweet round challa bread, honey cake, apple pie and “Apfelstrudel”.  Symbols for a good and sweet new year. Other interpretations say: to let rise our virtues above our imperfections. In my family apple pie was baked for almost every kind of party. All female adults had their own special recipe. So I developed my own apple pie recipe. I learned from Claudia Rooden to cover the bottom with ground almonds in stead of breadcrumbs or matzo flour. Ground almonds are a delicious way to absorb the surplus of liquid. In line with tradition among Rosh HaShanah I sprinkled honey over the peaces of the pie, just before serving; “lekker” (Dutch for delicious)!

Ingredients for the dough
200 gram or ¾ cup all-purpose flour
100 gram or ½ cup bearded wheat flour
175 gram or ¾ cup (fine) cane sugar
200 gram or ⅞ cup butter, plus extra for greasing
1 tsp cardamom
½ tsp salt
1 tsp kosher vanilla extract
1 whipped egg

Ingredients for the filling
1 kg or about 2 lb 4 oz (2 pounds and 4 ounces) pie cooking apples such as Bramleys or Jonagold. I like Elstars (if available)
juice of 1 small lemon
40 gram or ¼ cup cane sugar
½ tbsp. ground cinnamon
50 gram or ⅓ cup packed golden raisins
50 gram or ½ cup almonds, peeled and chopped
40 gram or ⅓ cup ground almonds (for the dough-bottom)

Cook’s advice:
If you use vegetable margarine instead of butter this pastry is pareve, which means also suitable as a dessert after a meal with meat.

Grease a 10 inch / 24 cm loose-based deep cake pan and line the base with non-stick baking parchment. Grease again. Preheat the oven to 400˚ F / 200˚ C. First mix the dough flour, sugar, salt and cardamom in a bowl. Cut with two knifes the butter into little peaces through this mixture. Add the vanilla extract and ¾ from the egg. Knead in a short time with the dough-mixer till a non sticky ball is formed. Set aside ¼ of the dough.

Then take ½ of the remaining dough and cover this steady over the bottom of the pan. Form a long roll from the other half of the dough and press this 4 cm / 1½ inch high against the raised border of the pan, well connected with the dough-bottom. Set aside on a cool place.

The filling: Pour the lemon juice in a large bowl. Rinse, peel, core and cut the apples into little peaces or slices. Stir together with the lemon juice. Combine with sugar, raisins, cinnamon and chopped almonds. Sprinkle the ground almonds over the dough-bottom. Fill the dough in the pan with the apple mixture and flatten this out with a spoon. Flatten the dough border a little with a fork. Make narrow rolls from the ¼ part of dough – that you have set apart – and shape a squared pattern over the surface. Push the ends a bit on the border dough. If there is enough dough left, finish with a little roll over the outside edge. Brush the dough rolls with the rest of the whipped egg.

Cook’s advice: Instead of rolls you can cut to ribbons after the dough is rolled out with a rolling pin.

Bake for 50-60 minutes on a wire rack on the lowest spot of the preheated oven. After this bake another 20 minutes with only bottom heat. Both on 400˚ F / 200˚ C. Transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool for 20 minutes. Run a sharp knife around the edge to loosen the pie from the side of the pan. Then remove the side. Leave to cool completely. A little warm tastes the best.

Lesjana Tova, a good and sweet New Year,
Jacoba Spijker-Kort