An All-Time Favorite for Good Reason: Beatrice Ojakangas' Swedish Apple Torte

Beatrice Ojakangas writes that the "Swedish Apple Torte" in her Great Holiday Baking Book is her "all-time favorite" apple torte. It has a butter pastry encasing a filling of apples, hazelnuts, and raisins, finished with a buttery hazelnut topping. I always keep hazelnuts and raisins on hand, so after I bought some Stayman-Winesap apples, I had everything I needed to make the recipe.

The recipe is written to be baked in a 10-inch springform pan. I have a 10-inch springform, but only one. I wanted to make a double batch, so I made one torte in the 10-inch springform and a second torte in a 9-inch square pan with a slide-out bottom, which has almost the identical volume.

While the recipe instructs you to make the crust by hand, I took a shortcut by using the food processor. I blitzed flour with cubes of cold butter; added sugar, egg, and cold water; and processed the mixture until a dough formed. I divided the dough into four equal pieces, wrapped them in plastic, and chilled them for a few hours.

After the dough was cold, I rolled out two of the pieces to fit into my parchment-lined cake tins. The dough covered the bottoms of the pans and went about an inch and a half up the sides. I sprinkled panko-style bread crumbs on top of each crust; neatly arranged apple slices on top of the crumbs (in concentric circles for the round pan, and in tidy rows for the square pan); sprinkled on a mixture of more bread crumbs, sugar, golden raisins, and chopped toasted hazelnuts; added another layer of apples; and sprinkled on more of the bread crumb-sugar-raisin-hazelnut mixture. The recipe specifies four large Granny Smith apples, or about two pounds, for one torte. I used a total of nine Stayman-Winesap apples (which are smaller than Granny Smiths) for my two tortes, and ended up with about 710 grams of fruit in each one. It seemed like plenty of fruit, and I ended up with what I thought was a generous amount of apple filling.

Then I rolled out the remaining pieces of dough so that they were slightly larger than the size of the respective cake pans; laid the rolled-out dough on top of the filling; and did my best to crimp the top crust to the bottom crust. My work looked quite messy in places, but the tortes were well sealed. Finally, I brushed a mixture of softened butter, brown sugar, and chopped hazelnuts onto the top crusts, used a fork to pierce a few vents, and put the tortes in the oven.
During baking, the messy edges of the tortes smoothed out quite a bit and you couldn't tell that I had a difficult time crimping together the top and bottom crusts. After the tortes were completely cooled, I released them from the pans, sprinkled on powdered sugar, and cut them into slices. I was relieved that the filling had not shrunk too much, and the slices kept their shape; I really don't like it when the filling of an apple pie cooks down in the oven such that there is a big gap between the top of the filling and the upper crust.

Because I used golden raisins (which are the variety specified in the recipe), it was difficult to spot them in the finished torte, but you could see lots of pieces of hazelnuts in the filling. I loved this torte. The breadcrumbs did a great job of absorbing moisture from the fruit, because the bottom crust was not soggy at all, even though it was not par-baked before adding the filling. The sweet butter-sugar-hazelnut topping was amazing. I think there are few things tastier than sweetened hazelnuts, and the crunch and flavor from the generous amount of hazelnuts in the filling and topping were fantastic. I also loved the variety of textures in this torte, including the crisp golden pastry, crunchy nuts, chewy raisins, and tender apples.

There is no cinnamon or spice (not even salt) at all in this torte, so all the flavor you get is butter, sugar, apples, raisins, and hazelnuts. The torte is a little on the sweet side, but I liked the sweetness. While I think a little bit of salt wouldn't hurt (a scoop of ice cream or some whipped cream would also be a nice addition), this torte was absolutely delicious on its own. I would absolutely make this torte again.

Recipe: "Swedish Apple Torte" from Beatrice Ojakangas' Great Holiday Baking Book.


Louise said…
I saw your photo and immediately thought "this requires vanilla sauce." I think Scandinavians always serve it with apple cake. Plus, it's so good on it's own, it would make a piece of cardboard delicious. : )
I am typically pretty lazy about making sauces (or even just whipped cream) to go along with desserts, even though my husband is always pointing out that they would taste better with some sot of accompaniment! Do you have a vanilla sauce recipe you like?