Romania joined the EU in 2007, one of the more recent entrants. It’s home to the world’s heaviest building, the Palace of the Parliament, and world’s longest sausage (39 miles, no, really). It’s one of the countries where European bison have been reintroduced, and also houses Europe’s largest population of brown bears.
Baking Romanian desserts has been a total joy. This apple pie is an absolute revelation. It’s more of a cross between pie and cake, as it has a middle layer of pastry that turns into more of a sponge layer once cooked. It’s beautiful. It was a tad more labour-intensive than your average apple pie, with the apples being grated, and the pastry was incredibly crumbly, which made for some interesting assembly times. All the layers fell apart as soon as I picked them up to lay them out in the tray, which then meant I had to sort of jigsaw-piece them back together. I figured this didn’t matter too much for the bottom and middle layers, but the top layer would have looked such a mess, so I rolled it into two smaller pieces and then joined them once they were in the tray. It looks passable, and tastes amazing.
pinch of salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1.5-2kg cooking apples
1 tbsp vanilla sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
cinnamon sugar or icing sugar to dust the top with
- Sift the flour into a bowl with the baking powder. Cut the butter into cubes and rub into the flour, until the mixture is like breadcrumbs.
- Add the eggs one by one, mixing into the dough until fully incorporated.
- Add sugar, salt and vanilla extract, and knead together until the sugar is incorporated. Leave the dough to rest for an hour or so.
- Wash and peel the apples, then grate into a bowl. Squeeze off some of the juice (depending on the apples you have, mine were super juicy so needed some draining to avoid soggy pastry).
- Put the grated apples in a saucepan with sugar, cinnamon, vanilla sugar, and cook for about 10-15 mins on a low heat until they soften and release more juice. Leave to cool.
- Grease and line a large, deep baking tray (approx. 12 x 16 x 3″). Divide the dough into three equal parts. Roll the first ball of dough in a large rectangle big enough to cover the base of the tray.
- Place the pastry into the tray. Cover the pastry with half the cooked apple. Roll out the second ball of dough and cover the filling, then put the rest of the apple on top of the pastry and top with the third and final bit of rolled out dough. If you find that your dough is super crumbly, I recommend doing this in two halves and then joining together in the tray.
- Prick the top with a fork, and then bake for around 50 mins. I covered mine with foil about halfway through to avoid it getting too brown on top before it was cooked through.
- Leave to cool, and serve with icing sugar on top (or cinnamon sugar if you prefer).