My grandmother was an old-fashioned cook. My mom still has one of her recipe books, and all the vegetable recipes in there seem to consist of instructions along the lines of: "boil the vegetable until you're sure it's dead, at least half an hour, preferably longer. Then, when all vitamins have given up, pour off the water and make up for all the taste you lost with lots of butter and a bit of nutmeg". My grandmother was a sweet woman, but she made fresh green beans taste like they came from a can. Some things she was very good at, though. Tomato soup. Pancakes. And boterkoek. Her boterkoek used to melt in your mouth, without any need for chewing. Lovely.
On my last birthday, a friend gave me a mould for boterkoek. It has lain in the cupboard since that time, because although I'd made heart-shaped cookies for Valentine's that year, I usually don't often bake stuff.
But now that I'm temporarily without a job, I have oodles of time for stuff like that. So I decided to break in my not-so-new mould. In honour of my grandma, I give you the recipe for boterkoek with nuts. If you don't like nuts, just leave out the filling and make plain boterkoek, the recipe will be the same.
For a 24 cm mould ( a boterkoek mould is ideal, but you can also use a spring mould), you need:
For the pie:
For the nut filling:
Preheat an oven to 180 degrees C, gas oven 4-5. Put the dry ingredients in a bowl and cut the butter through them, using two knives. When the butter has turned into little crumbs, add the egg. Knead the mixture until you have a smooth dough. Divide the dough into two portions, put these to the side. Or in the fridge.
For the nut filling: grind the nuts to a powder with a mortar and pestle or with a suitable kitchen appliance. Add the sugar and the egg (if possible, keep a bit of egg behind for later), and mix. You will end up with a dough-like substance.
Note: if you used only almonds for the filling, the "dough" you just made is called 'amandelspijs' and it's a traditional Dutch filling for many things, like speculaas and luxury apple pie.
Take the first half of the dough and put it on the bottom of your mould, pressing it out until it fills the bottom. Then put the nut filling on top of this and spread it out so it covers the bottom layer of dough. Finally take the second half of the dough and use it to make the top layer of the pie. Did you save a bit of egg? Good! Spread it over the top of the pie. Then use a fork to make a nice criss-cross pattern on the pie, or if you have them, sprinkle shaved almonds on top.
Put the pie in the oven and bake for 20 minutes, or until it's golden brown. Don't let it get too dark! Let it cool down in the oven and serve in small pieces.