Kuchen de Manzana: Chilean Apple Pie

Apple pie in a cast iron pan.
Verdina Anna / Getty Images
  • Total: 80 mins
  • Prep: 40 mins
  • Cook: 40 mins
  • Yield: 1 9-inch tart (8 servings)

German immigrants began to settle in Chile during the mid 19th century, bringing their recipes from home along with them. Many of these German dishes have taken hold in Chilean cuisine, with local adaptions of course, such as pan de Pascua (a Christmas cake similar to stollen) and berlines (German-style doughnuts filled with dulce de leche).

The German word for cake, kuchen, is commonly used to describe cakes in Chile. The same phenomenon occurred in Southern Brazil, where many Germans also settled, though the word kuchen changed slightly to ​cuca in Portuguese.

Chilean-style kuchen de manzanas can be quite similar to the traditional German apfelkuchen, with a shortcrust filled with a custard-like batter and sliced apples, and a crumb topping. Another kind of Chilean-style apple kuchen is more like an apple tart. This kuchen also has a short cookie-like crust and an applesauce filling. It's quite elegant and tasty.


  • For the Crust:
  • 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 stick cold butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • For the Apple Filling:
  • 5 apples (3 sweet red apples and 2 tart green apples)
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • For the Glaze:
  • 1/4 cup apricot jelly OR
  • Sugar Glaze:
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon corn syrup
  • 1 egg (for egg wash)

Steps to Make It

  1. Prepare the crust: Place the flour, salt, and sugar in a medium bowl and whisk together briefly. Cut the cold butter into small pieces. Use a pastry cutter or two knives to cut the butter into the flour until you have a crumbly mixture (you can use a food processor for this - with short, quick pulses). In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolk together with 1 tablespoon cold water then add mixture to the flour/butter mixture. Stir lightly with a fork, adding 2-3 tablespoons of cold water as need until mixture comes together as a shaggy dough. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill thoroughly.

  2. Peel and remove cores from the apples. Finely chop or grate the red apples, and place them in a medium saucepan. Add 4 tablespoons sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, a pinch of salt, and 1/3 cup water.

  3. Finely chop or grate the green apples and place them in a bowl. Toss with the lime juice, the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, and a pinch of salt. Set aside.

  4. Bring the red apples to a gentle simmer over medium-low heat. Cook for 15 minutes, until the apples are very soft and most of the liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat, pass the cooked apples through a food mill or a strainer, then add them back to the saucepan along with the green apple mixture. Cook for several minutes more, stirring, until most of the liquid is evaporated and the mixture is very thick. Remove from heat and let cool.

  5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9-inch tart pan. On a lightly floured surface, roll out 2/3 of the pastry into a 10-11 inch diameter circle. Let the crust rest for a few minutes, then place the crust into the tart pan, pressing it gently into the bottom and sides of the pan. Roll over the top of the tart pan with a rolling pin to trim off the excess dough.

  6. Fill the tart shell with the cooled apple mixture. Roll out the remaining dough into a circle. Use a pizza cutter or sharp knife to cut thin strips of pastry. Overlap the pastry strips in a basket weave fashion over the apple filling, and join pastry edges together, trimming any excess pastry as needed.

  7. Whisk an egg with 1 tablespoon water and lightly brush the top of the pastry with the egg wash. Bake pastry for 30-40 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove from the oven. Brush tart with pastry glaze or melted apricot jam while still warm. (To make pastry glaze, bring 1/4 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water to a boil. Dissolve 1 tablespoon cornstarch in 1/2 cup water and add to sugar/water mixture. Bring to a boil again and simmer until mixture becomes translucent. Add the corn syrup and simmer for 1 more minute. Remove from heat and let cool). Serve tart warm or at room temperature.