Anna’s Apple pie
Did you know: Did you know that Anna Ancher, the Danish painter, was the only one in the first generation of Skagen painters who was born and raised in Skagen? Anna Ancher was born in Skagen in 1859 and lived there until her death in 1935. In Ancher’s House, there was apple pie on the menu. It was probably baked several times in the years around the 1930s. One of the housemaids has written down the recipe for Anna’s Apple Pie, which is made in three stages: apple compote, almond paste and collection. It is a real ‘Nordic’ cake and here you have the recipe.
6-8 large apples, a little wine, 25 quints crushed powdered sugar, 25 quint finely chopped scalded almonds, 4 egg yolks, finely chopped lemon peel, 5 egg whites.
(A quint corresponds to 5 grams)
Start by making the apple compote. It can advantageously be made well in advance, possibly several days before it is to be used, but it can also be made just before you collect the pie.
First, peel the apples and remove the core. Then they are cut into smaller pieces and set to simmer in a suitable pan. Feel free to use some good food apples with lots of flavours. In the original recipe found in Ancher’s House, no sugar was used, which fits really well with the final result. The apples should be boiled with a little wine.
Be sure to stir the apples often so they do not burn. The apples should not be boiled out completely but should retain some of their shape and firmness so that they give a little bite to the pie when served.
Almond top: When the apple compote is done, make the almond mass, which should be on top of the pie. Then whip the egg whites stiff and set them aside. In another bowl, mix the finely chopped almonds, crushed powdered sugar and the finely chopped lemon peel.
In this, mix the egg yolks and stir well to a cohesive mass.
The beaten egg whites are gently turned into the almond mass. This is done with a dough scraper without the air going out of your whites. Turn it all over well. Now the mass should be distributed on top of the apple compote. The pie is collected.
In the original recipe, the apple compote is placed in a greased gratin dish with the fluffy almond top on top, after which it is baked and eaten directly from the dish with sugar on top. You can also put a puff pastry in the bottom of the dish and spread the apple compote on it and top with the almond mass.
Baking time: In Anna Ancher’s time, there were no modern stoves with hot air as we know them today. Bake the cake at 175 degrees in a convection oven. The cake should bake for about an hour or until the almond top is firm when touched. Finally, do not be afraid that the cake will be a little dark, because it tastes great anyway.