Romanian Apple Pie (Placinta cu Mere)
Not quite a pie, not quite a strudel, not really a pastry, but gorgeous all the same.
This traditional Romanian dessert can be made in advance and keeps well for a day or two. It can also be gently reheated to be served as a dessert with ice cream or custard, but more often it is eaten as a snack between meals or bought from the local bakery shop to eat on the way to work or on a break.
Romanian Apple Cake/ Placinta cu mere
- 8 tbsp Butter
- 1 cup Plain greek yogurt
- ½ cup Sugar
- 2 tsp Vanilla extract
- Orange zest from 1 orange
- Orange juice from 1 orange
- 3 ½ cups All purpose flour
- 2 tsp Baking Powder
- a pinch Salt
- 4 Apples
- ½ cup Sugar
- 1 tbsp Cinnamon
- 3.5 tbsp Butter
- Icing Sugar
How to Make Placinta cu Mere:
- Leave a stick of butter out on your counter for about an hour, or until it reaches room temperature.
- In a large bowl, combine wet ingredients: butter, Greek yogurt, sugar , vanilla extract, zest and juice of one orange (if using the same orange, you’ll want to zest before cutting into the orange, and squeezing for its juice).
- In another bowl, combine dry ingredients: baking powder and salt with flour. Slowly add dry ingredient mixture to the wet ingredient mixture, kneading until dough is combined and elastic when stretched out. The dough will knead a little love to work the dry ingredients through it.
- Dough too dry? Add a splash of water. Too wet and sticky? A little more flour should do the trick.
- Divide dough into two equal parts and form into a ball. Wrap both with plastic wrap and move to the refrigerator, chilling for at least 30 minutes.
- While dough is chilling (or if you’re waiting for your butter to soften) wash and then grate apples using the coarse edge of your grater (the side with the large holes). I prefer to leave the skin on—it contains most of the apple’s nutrients, after all—but if that’s not your jam, feel free to peel the apple before you grate it.
- Using a tea towel or paper towel, squeeze as much liquid as you can from the grated apples.
- In a large bowl, combine grated apples with the cinnamon and sugar. Stir until well-combined.
- Heat 3.5 tbsp butter (or margarine) in a saucepan. Add grated apple, cinnamon and sugar mixture to the pan, and cook until tender, approximately ten minutes. The mixture will look and smell like the caramel on a caramel apple. No judgement if you taste a bit of this step, just make sure it cools off, first!
- Set aside mixture, and let cool. I return it to the same bowl I used to create the grated apple, cinnamon and sugar mixture, minimizing how many bowls I use. When you remove the dough from the refrigerator, begin by pre-heating the oven to 350°F.
- Grease or butter a 9×9″ cooking dish or baking tray. Stretch out one ball of dough so it’s pressed into the bottom of the dish, covering the dish from edge to edge. Using a fork, prick it all over. Cook for 40-50 minutes.
- Allow to cool on a cooling rack while repeating step 11 with the other ball of dough.
- Spread cooled apple mixture evenly over the bottom piece of cake while the top piece is cooking.
- Once the top piece of cake is cooked, allow it to cool and then place on top of the apple mixture that’s already spread over the bottom piece.
- Allow it to cool for about a quarter of an hour, dust it with icing sugar, and then cut it into squares (or whatever shape you prefer).
- Serve warm or cold.