For many of us, when we think of wholesomeness the phrase "as American as apple pie" comes to mind. The thought of a shiny crust, bubbling apples and a scoop of vanilla ice cream can be quite intoxicating. Even though apples originated in Asia, based on two particularly comforting iterations of pie – Dutch and French – it is clear that the fruit is appreciated all over. While a Dutch apple pie and a French apple pie share some similarities, they also have distinct differences that appeal to different tastes.

The History of Dutch Apple Pie

Recipes for Dutch apple pie can be found all the way back to 1514, listed in the cookbook, "A Notable Little Cookery Book.” It was a simple and straightforward way to make something that has so many variations today. The original recipe called for a regular pie crust, apple slices with skin and seeds removed, topped with crust and then baked. The pies are available in two versions: a lattice pie or a crumb-style pie, which are often flavored with cinnamon and have ingredients like full-cream butter. Enjoy Dutch apple pie hot or cold.

Easy Dutch Apple Pie Recipe

Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes | Prep Time: 30 minutes | Serves: 6 to 8

Ingredients for Pie:

  • 1 (9-inch) unbaked flour pie crust

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

  • 3 pounds peeled, sliced and cored baking apples
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 turbinado sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces

Ingredients for Topping:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup quick cooking oats

Directions:

  1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

  2. Add lemon juice, apples, sugar and spices to a medium bowl and toss. 

  3. Place prepared pie crust in a baking dish per directions on package. Add apple mixture to pie crust and dot with butter.

  4. For streusel topping: Whisk the flour, sugar and salt together in a medium bowl. Add the butter and massage it into the flour mixture until absorbed, then mix in the oats. Sprinkle streusel on top of apple mixture until apples are completely covered. 

  5. Place a baking sheet on the oven rack. Place pie on top of baking sheet to catch any juices. Bake until juices are bubbling, 45 to 60 minutes. Cool for an hour before serving.

The History of French Apple Pie

The French apple pie, or tarte tatin, was reportedly created accidentally at the Hotel Tatin in France in the 1880s. The oft-repeated story claims that Stephanie Tatin – who did the majority of the hotel's cooking – was supposed to make a traditional apple pie, but she let the apples cook in the butter too long. Upon realizing that they were burning, she became creative and placed the base of the pastry on top of the apples, then put the pan with the apples in the oven to finish cooking. When it was complete, she flipped the pie to serve it, and much to her surprise, the hotel guests loved it. It eventually became the hotel’s signature dish.

Easy to Make Classic French Apple Pie

Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes | Prep Time: 30 minutes | Serves: 8

Ingredients:

  • 1 sheet all-butter puff pastry, about 8 ounces
  • 6 tart apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons of unsalted butter

Directions:

  1. Heat the over to 425 F.

  2. Coat the bottom of a 10-inch heavy ovenproof skillet with butter. Sprinkle sugar evenly on top.

  3. Arrange as many apple slices as will fit vertically in the bottom of the skillet in concentric circles. Place them together as tightly as possible.

  4. Place the skillet on the stovetop over medium heat, undisturbed, until the juices are deep golden and bubbling, 15 to 20 minutes.

  5. Put the skillet in the center of the oven over a piece of foil to catch any drips. Bake for 20 minutes, then remove from oven and lay pastry round over apples.

  6. Bake until pastry is browned and hard, 20 to 25 minutes.

  7. Let cool 10 minutes, then use potholders to carefully invert onto a round serving plate. 

About the Author

Cheryl S. Grant

Cheryl S. Grant has reported & written for Crain’s, Glamour, Reader's Digest, Cosmo, Brides, Latina, Yoga Journal, MSN, USA Today, Family Circle, Taste of Home, Spa Weekly, You Beauty, Spice Island, and Health Daily. She investigates trends and targets profiles subjects using a combination of deep background research (database, periodicals, preliminary interviews, social media), write and edit compelling stories in a variety of beats including beauty, health, travel, nutrition, diet, law, medicine, advocacy, and entertainment.