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Romanian Traditional Pie /Placinta Dobrogeana

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Romanian Traditional Pie /Placinta Dobrogeana

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Ingredients

For the dough:
300 gr Flour
160 ml Water
1 small egg
1 tablespoon Oil sunflower or olive
1 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon vinegar not malt
For the filling:
500 gr soft fresh cheese cottage cheese
3 Eggs
1 tbsp. sour cream
salt and sesame
100 gr Butter melted or oil (sunflower/vegetable)
1 large eggs
3 good tablespoons yoghurt or sour cream
For the apple stuffing:
750 gr apples
200 gr Sugar
50 gr Butter
1 cinnamon bar
1 egg
1 tbsp sour cream
brown butter to be sprinkled on top
  • Medium

Ingredients

  • For the dough:

  • For the filling:

  • For the apple stuffing:

Directions

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This is a recipe for a traditional Romanian pie, probably one of the most famous pies or pastries in Romania – so popular is it, it can be found in good pastry shops all around the country. This is a savory version of the pie, but a sweet version also exists, using sweetened cheeses and sometimes mixed with raisins or apples.

Servings: 8 slices
Time: 90 minutes

How to Make Traditional Romanian Pie:

  1. Pour the flour into a mixing bowl, make a well in the center, and add the egg, oil, water, salt, and vinegar.
  2. Combine the ingredients in the well and slowly draw in the flour, mixing with your fingers until a dough starts to form.
  3. Form the dough into a ball and turn out onto a floured work surface. Knead the dough until you achieve a soft, elastic dough which is no longer sticky.
  4. Put the dough back in the bowl and cover with a damp tea towel and rest on the sideboard for 30 minutes. Alternatively, flour the ball a little and drop it into a plastic freezer bag, give it a twist to get rid of the air, and leave it to rest for 30 minutes.
  5. While the dough is resting, preheat the oven to about 200-210°C (medium heat).
  6. Now it’s time to start making the cheese filling. You should use about 500g of cheese but you can add more if you like a thicker layer of cheese in your pie (or indeed less, if you like it less cheesy). I use a mixture of ewe’s milk cheese, something like feta, a soft fresh cow’s milk cheese and a soft but slightly mature tasting sheep’s milk cheese, but you can use any good fresh or semi-fresh cheeses (such as chevre, feta, Neuchâtel, paneer, queso fresco).
  7. Combine the cheeses well, and break up the harder ones with a fork, then add sour cream or eggs, little by little, until you reach a nice sloppy consistency. I recommend adding the eggs/cream gradually: the amount you need will depend on the initial consistency of the cheese and the size of the eggs. The consistency you want is quite thick, certainly not ‘pourable’, but something like a thick cake batter or bricklaying mortar (if that helps you at all!). Taste it when you’ve done combining it and add salt if necessary.
  8. You’ll need to brush the sheets of dough with a little butter or oil. If you intend to use butter, now is the time to melt it in a pan over a very low heat.
  9. Once the dough is sufficiently rested, it’s time to roll it out. First of all, roll the dough into a sausage and cut into six equal parts. Form each sixth into a ball and then roll it out until it is the size and shape of the baking tray you intend to use (mine was a 25 cm diameter circular tray, about 3 cm deep).
  10. Butter or oil the bottom of the tray well, then put in the first sheet of dough. Brush it with butter/oil, then put in the second sheet, then half the cheese, spreading it out to about 1 cm from the edge of the tray. Then add another two sheets of dough (the first, again, brushed with butter/oil). Now add the rest of the cheese, again spreading it out until it’s about 1 cm shy of the edge of the tray. Finally, add the last two sheets of dough, brush each with butter/oil.
  11. What I do now is to gently run the back of a knife over the top to mark the portions, dividing it into eight wedges (as I use a circular tray). I don’t actually cut through the dough, I just depress it so that the cutting point will be more clearly defined at the end of the baking process.
  12. Now, put the pie into the preheated oven and cook for about 20-30 minutes until the top has started to brown. At this point, make a mixture of one egg and three tablespoons of  sour cream or yogurt, according to preference. Spread this mixture over the top of the pie and return it to the oven for another 15-20 minutes, or until once again brown. An egg beaten with one tablespoon of sour cream will help make the pie crust moist but still appealing and the sesame seeds work fine with the cheese.
  13. Once it’s nice and brown all over (but not burnt!) take it out of the oven, let it cool down for a few minutes, and then cut into portions using the lines you scored in it earlier. All I can (further) add is that is absolutely delish.
  14. The apple filling starts with grated apples, sautéed in a frying pan with some butter, sugar, and cinnamon stick. The apples are ready when the apple juice is all evaporated; the point here is not to have any apple juice pouring around in the baking tray.

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