Dutch Apple Pie with Rosewater

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A very favorite way with apple pie: dutch apple pie with rosewater. The nutty crumb topping and a combo of apples make a perfectly balanced pie.

Dutch apple pie, Maureen Abood

I know why you don’t make this.

That’s what my sister said when we had just put the finishing touches on a fresh fruit trifle this summer.

It’s too messy for you, she said.

Too messy? What the? I started in on how I had sawed the leg off of a 300-pound pig in culinary school, how I love to get my hands into a big mess of dough. How I this and how I that.

She didn’t buy any of it. You like precision, she said. You like things neatly arranged and, frankly, perfect.

Dutch apple rope edge, Maureen Abood

I just love having siblings, a sister especially. One can learn so much about oneself, don’t you think?

It’s like your hair, she said. You have curly hair, but you feel like you can’t control it that way, so you straighten it.

Okay. True. I do love a good boar-bristle brush.

Perfect Michigan apple

Honeycrisp apples, Maureen Abood

I suppose it was the way I kept describing our bowls of trifle as delicious . . . despite how homely it all looked. Homely may have been a strong word; Peg seemed offended. The trifle tasted very, very good.

I was on a plane recently with Dan and paging through one of my food magazines. He saw a photo of apple crumble, a cobbler scooped into bowls with spiced ice cream melting over the top. I thought he was sleeping until I heard: Now that’s what I’m talkin’ ‘bout.

Even though I promised to make exactly that dessert when we got home, I knew it wouldn’t be a crumble or a cobbler. I do have a cobbler recipe I love, but I still, I knew this was going to be a pie. I hadn’t rolled a crust since summer (a long time around here). The urge to crimp edges could not be ignored.

Dutch apple crumbs, Maureen Abood

Besides, this seemed the best way to usher in apple season. I have a strict rule about apples—a coalition more than a rule: No Apples In Summer. The juicy-fruit bearing season up here is just too short to make room for a crisp apple until the others are spent.

So maybe I do take certain inclinations a little far.

How about this: Feel free–even though I clearly don’t feel free–to turn our Dutch apple pie into a cobbler by leaving off the bottom crust. But do (here I go again) leave in the rosewater. I have found it’s the perfect way to pull out even more apple flavor. And you know how I feel about perfect.

Dutch apple crust, Maureen Abood

Dutch apple pie on a cooling rack, Maureen Abood
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Dutch Apple Pie

Use a combination of apples toget both tartness and sweetness into the pie. I always use a couple of GrannySmith, mixed with Gala, Honeycrisp, Golden Delicious, or Macintosh. Read more about My Mom’s Best PieCrust here.
Servings: 8


For the filling:

  • 6 cups peeled, sliced apples (from 6 – 8 apples of different varieties)
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 teaspoons rosewater

For the crust:

  • 1 3/4 cup unbleached, all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 teaspoon neutral oil, such as vegetable, safflower or canola
  • 4 tablespoons ice water

For the topping:

  • 1 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
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  • Preheat the oven to 375°F. Position a rack in the center of the oven and place a piece of foil on the bottom of the oven to catch any drips.
  • In a medium bowl, combine the apples with the flour, sugar, lemon juice, and rose water.
  • In another medium bowl, whisk the flour and salt. Slowly stir in the oil with a spoon until pea-sized crumbs form. Stirin the ice water 1 tablespoon at a time. On a damp work surface, roll out half of the dough between two sheets of waxed paper to a circle 2 inches larger than a 10-inch pie plate. Remove the top sheet of paper and invert the crust, still on the other sheet of waxed paper, over the pie plate. Ease the dough down into the plate and slowly peel the paper off. Tuck the overhang of dough under the edge of the crust to form a thick edge. If there are thin areas, cut some of the overhang from elsewhere and tuck it under the thin spot to make it thicker. Crimp the edge decoratively.
  • Pour the sugared apples into the crust.
  • Make the topping by combining the flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl. Rub the butter in with you rfingers, then add the walnuts. Press the mixture into small clumps and top the pie evenly with the streusel.
  • Cover the edges of the pie with a pie guard or pieces of foil, crunching the foil well so it stays in place. Lay another piece of foil lightly over the top of the pie to prevent the topping from browning too much before the pie is done.
  • Bake the pie for about 1 hour and 10 minutes, removing the foil from the top toward the end of the baking time ifthe streusel needs more browning. The apples should be bubbling vigorously for the last 15 minutes or so of baking time. Remove the pie from the oven and cool for at least 4 hours so that the filling sets up. The pie will keep on the kitchen counter for a couple of days, loosely covered with waxed paper or foil.

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Author: Maureen Abood
Servings: 8
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  1. Carol Gross says:

    My grandparents came to the US from Lebanon in the late 1800’s or early 1900’s. Your recipes bring fond memories of them. My sitto and Jiddo had a farm just outside Lansing, MI. My sitto made all her pie crusts with butter since they had cows. She made all her food from memory since neither she or jiddo could read or write. Do you have a a cake recipe using rose water or orange blossom water? I didn’t find one in your cookbook.

  2. Susan Berger says:

    Any chance I can skip the crust part and bake it in a casserole dish? Thoughts?

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      Absolutely this will be delicious without the crust and will bake fine in a greased dish. Servings will look different than pie, as without the crust you won’t have distinct slices, but more of a crumble-style.

  3. Arika M. says:

    I have never done apple with rose water before. This is on my recipe list. Thanks.

  4. Kati B ~ FurnishMyWay says:

    I am not a huge pie person, but this sounds pretty delicious. I would have never thought to use rosewater in something like this! I just might have to try it–thanks for sharing!

  5. Kevin | keviniscooking says:

    I just got orange and rose water yesterday, perfect timing. I smell a Dutch Apple pie coming this weekend. Can’t wait to see how this tastes, thanks!

  6. Margaret e. Curtin says:

    Love to read your stuff..my daughter went to school with u..margaret Anne curtin..

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      Hello and thank you for your kind words, and for sharing our connection through your daughter Margaret! Please tell her hello for me!

  7. Diane Nassir (my maternal grandmother was an Abowd from Ammun, Leb.) says:

    Yes! to all the comments above!!

  8. Elizabeth Wholey says:

    Love the sisterly conversation, and I wish I had a piece of that trifle right now!

  9. Ksenia @ At the Immigrant's Table says:

    Hmm, rose water and apple? Interesting combination. I love the crimping!

  10. hester says:


    1. Lisa Dye says:

      Can’t wait to try this after our trip to Uncle John’s next week. As for messy; that’s my comfort zone.
      My sister’s and I like to bring up each other’s idiosyncrasies too. Aah family, they keep us grounded.