Apple Crumble Pie (Vlaai)

Autumn is drawing nearer, as signalled by my upcoming birthday, decreasing temperatures and increasing levels of university related stress. Just a few weeks and we’ll be huddled together in front of (optimally and most cozily) fireplaces and (less optimally) gas-powered central heating. When most people around me start complaining about low temperatures and pouring rain, I know my time has finally come. Finally I’m able to layer my clothing again, finally sunscreen on my face will suffice and finally (and most importantly) it is acceptable to bake with cinnamon again. When our wood heater was blazing away, I felt it was not more than logical to bake some kind of apple pie and so this Southern Dutch style Apple Crumble Pie came into existence. For me it makes that dreary day all the more glorious and for those for whom it is less enjoyable more bearable!


Recipe Apple Crumble Pie (Vlaai)

Tools: 24cm/9.5inch pie tin (2.5cm/1 inch high) 



125    gr plain flour
2       gr salt
6       gr sugar
30     gr unsalted butter, softened plus extra for greasing
50     ml water at room temperature
1/2    egg (save the other half for the eggwash)
2.5    gr instant yeast 


+- 550  gr diced apples (about 8 small apples)
125      gr raisins, soaked
1         teaspoon vanilla extract
2         teaspoons ground cinnamon
a sneaky bit of rum (optional)


Crumble topping:

75       gr unsalted butter
75       gr sugar
125     gr plain flour

icing sugar, for dusting (optional)

1. Pre-heat the oven to 200C/390F.

2. Make the dough. Measure out flour into a bowl, add salt and sugar on one side of the bowl, yeast on the other. Mix so that everything is evenly dispersed, then add half a beaten egg, the water and the softened butter. Bring together with a wooden spoon. Turn out onto a lightly floured working surface and knead for 15 minutes by hand (5-6 minutes in a freestanding electric mixer with dough hook attachment). The dough is ready when it doesn’t stick to your hands anymore or comes away from the sides of the bowl. Transfer to a small bowl or to a clean working surface, cover with cling film and leave to rest for 15 minutes.

3. Roll your dough out to a 3mm/0.1 inch thick circle shape on a floured working surface. Line the pie tin with the dough, don’t cut the overhang off just yet. 

3. Prepare your filling, by coring, peeling and dicing the apples and mixing the diced apple with the other filling ingredients in a large bowl. 

4. Prepare the topping by mixing together the butter, sugar and flour until it has a rough crumbly texture (you could make the crumbs as fine as you want, but having “chunks” on top of the pie is particularly yummy). 

5. Cut the overhanging dough off, and brush the the borders with some of the remaining egg using a pastry brush. Fill the pastry shell with the apple filling and scatter the crumb topping on top. 

6. Bake for 50-55 minutes or until the crumble topping has a light brown color. 

Dough recipe from “Bakboek de Klassiekers”

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