several years ago, my husband and i backpacked through europe for several weeks and one of the cities that we visited was amsterdam. i should say now, i wasn’t really expecting to like amsterdam as i’m not much into… well, all of the things the city is known for. which meant, of course, that amsterdam ended up being one of my three favorites from the trip.
it turns out that amsterdam is actually adorable: full of lovely canals lined with charming old houses and storefronts and bicycles zipping around everywhere instead of cars. there are open-air markets to leisurely browse, great museums (which, honestly, i don’t even usually like but enjoyed here), and great little cafes serving delicious food at outdoor tables.
when we picked up the key for our airbnb-style room from the proprietor of a gentleman’s clothing shop in the ubercute jordaan neighborhood, he asked if we liked apple pie. he said that the country is famous for their apple pie and he was clearly excited about it so, not wanting to be rude, we said, “sure, we like apple pie” (when in fact we’re both pretty meh on apple pie and would not choose it given a choice between it and… basically any other dessert. i know, i know; i’m pretty sure our US citizenship just got revoked. alas…). he gave us the name of a café, winkel 43, just a few blocks away and told us how to get there, promising that they had the best dutch apple pie in all of amsterdam.
we were hungry for a snack and to start exploring a little bit so we dropped our bags in our room and set off in the direction he indicated. we arrived shortly at a cute, nondescript café with tables and benches set out in the patchy shade under a large tree. nondescript save for one thing: though all of the food and drinks were coming out of the indoor kitchen, there was an apple pie serving station set up outside, with several gigantic pies in the process of disappearing. and nearly every table outside had a slice (or several) of pie on it, surrounded by a group digging in.
noting that the slices were large (as you can see in the photos, it’s more like a cross between an american apple pie and a taller cake) and still wary of how good this basic dessert could possibly be, my husband and i ordered a slice to share. aaaaand then proceeded to absolutely DEVOUR it. every. last. crumb. it was delicious! so. good.
though it shares a similar name and ingredient list, dutch apple pie is somehow basically nothing like american apple pie, which is to say, it’s way better. the crust is more like a delicious crumb topping pressed into service as a crust, the filling is not gloopy, and the spices are far more complex and delicious than cinnamon alone (without being overpowering).
in the name of absorbing local culture and supporting the local economy, my husband and i proceeded to make dutch apple pie at winkel 43 (or “winkle cake”, as we affectionately refer to it) a daily habit for the duration of our stay in amsterdam. i don’t think we ever succumbed twice in one day but it was a few years ago, so i can’t say for certain…
needless to say, daily flights to amsterdam being a bit impractical, i was determined to make this cake at home. the café doesn’t share their recipe but luckily, i am not the only one bent on recreating the recipe so i was able to find several versions online, and judged this one to reproduce most faithfully the winkel 43 version. after reading through instructions and looking at pictures of how theirs turned out compared to the picture we miraculously took before our slice disappeared and some trial and error on my part, i’ve finally landed on a recipe that recreates the “winkle cake” that we remember. but maybe we should take another trip to amsterdam, you know, for research purposes, just to be sure i’ve got it right…
did you make this recipe? i’d love to know what you think of it! leave a comment below and share a picture on instagram with the hashtag #tastyseasons.