The Main Difference Between Dutch And American Apple Pie

These days, it seems like there is a pie for every kind of person in the world. Simply fill a basic pie crust with whatever your heart desires and boom — the perfect treat awaits you. Seriously, there are hundreds of different types for you to choose from, like peach pie and lemon meringue – just to name a few. The baked dish can be made sweet or savory, warm or room temperature, bake or no-bake, and the list goes on and on... It's amazing and delicious.

Instacart shared the most popular pie flavor for each state based on sales between February 2021 and January 2022. Among the most-named varieties were blueberry, pecan, pumpkin, and cherry. But when looking at the total demand from all the states, the company revealed that the flavor Americans wanted most was apple, which made up over 27% of the grocery delivery service's pie sales.

It should not be a surprise that apple pie is the top pick. After all, apples are an American favorite, with over 10 billion pounds of the produce expected to be harvested between October 2022 and September 2023 alone (via Fruit Growers News). But when it comes to baking the fruit in a pie, Americans aren't the only ones bringing the heat.

The history of Dutch and American apple pies

The Dutch apple pie, also known as appeltaart, has a shorter history in comparison to other European baked goods, but it does still predate the American invention. The earliest written record of the apple pie actually comes from a 14th-century English recipe book. The Dutch version appeared later, likely in 1514, and initially featured apples and crumbled cookies flavored with honey and spices — all baked under a thick pastry layer (via La Douce Vie). Today, Dutch people usually add cinnamon to their apple pie filling and serve the finished bake with a side of whipped cream or cold vanilla ice cream, per Travel Gourmet.

The U.S. take on the dessert didn't exist until much later because the apple, native to Asia, only made its way to American soil through people settling into the Jamestown colony (via Smithsonian Magazine). Even after orchards were up and running, there were no sweeter types of the fruit suitable for pie-making until 1800.

Dutch vs. American apple pie

According to Betty Crocker, the major difference between Dutch and American apple pies is that the former is topped with golden brown and sugary crumbs called "streusel." This topping is made out of butter, brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon (via Baking Mischief). An American apple pie, on the other hand, typically features a flaky pie crust on the bottom, a second layer on the top, and a sweet apple filling, per MasterClass. When done baking, the pie should be golden brown and served warm with whipped cream or ice cream – much like the Dutch variety.

According to Bob's Red Mill, there are certain kinds of apples best for pie-making, including familiar ones, like Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, and Golden Delicious, and rarer types such as Braeburn and Northern Spy. Each of these lend different flavors and textures, so be sure to do your research before settling on an apple choice.