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Monday, September 27, 2010

As American as Dutch apple pie

Things you didn't know about Germany #059:

They don't have pie. 

Things you didn't know about Germany #182 (irrelevant, but interesting):

German chocolate cake is not from Germany, but rather from an English guy named Sam German. 

Things you didn't know about Germany #059 (revised):

They didn't have pie, until I created pie.

Pie. I created pie.

Guys, it turns out pie isn't actually that difficult to make! I managed to make delicious Dutch apple pie even while overcoming the following challenges:
  • Germans don't have pie pans.
  • Germans don't have brown sugar.
  • My recipe was all Fahrenheity (not a huge challenge, but inconvenient). 
  • I am a man, and thus my brain is wired for eating pie rather than creating it.
I know you guys can find recipes for pie crust and apple pie all over the internet, so I'm going to offer some pro-tips for creating a pie without flaws.

Crust (double):
  • Substituting 1/2 cup of hazelnuts for 1/2 cup of flour is an excellent idea.
  • Refrigerating the crust before rolling it is absolutely necessary.
  • Rolling between two sheets of wax paper minimises the need for flour (does anyone else hate the texture of flour? Seriously, it makes my skin crawl.)
  • If you use a real pie pan, it has a lip on the edge for your crust to rest on. If you don't have such a pan, there is no such lip, and your crust will look bad at the edges. It will also drop down into the oven, unless you have a cookie sheet under your pie pan.
  • Big pieces of apple are really good in pie, but giant pieces of apple make your top crust really really uneven. The high parts get a little burned. Don't make giant pieces of apple.
  • Cut up 2 T of butter into tiny pieces and put it on top of your apples before adding the top crust. 
  • Dark brown sugar is tastier. I had to bring brown sugar all the way from America.
  • If you pour 1/2 cup of cream into the centre after about 30 minutes of baking, you have Dutch apple pie. 

I think Jill enjoyed the pie. The pieces held together better after the pie cooled.

Photo credits Halyna Mishchanyn, who also enjoyed the pie.


  1. OH, you know I did! Helllooo...I was the only fatty who drizzled the two, huge pie pieces I had with more cream.

  2. I was exceedingly curious about this German lack of pie, and decided to ask one of the German grad students in my lab about it. Indeed, there appears to be no pie in Germany.

    In response to my question, the grad student smirked and said "No, Germans don't really have pie. We have real cakes."

    I briefly considered listing some of pie's redeeming factors, but then he continued, "I don't really care for pie. It's too gooey and sweet and *insert displeased face and hand-waving*. Cakes are just, you know, light and airy. I suppose that's the way I was brought up, but pie... Also, none of that frosting stuff."

    I have to agree with him on this last point: frosting is gross.

    I finally mentioned, Dustin, that you had therefore made a pie from scratch, and he kind of smirked again. "Well, yes, I suppose if we Germans wanted pie, we would make it ourselves, which is the right way to do it, anyway." He's right, but the upshot is that not only do the Germans reject pie, they also reject anything that might make the pie-making process easier.

    I thought you might want to know.