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Romanian Apple Pie Recipe (Placinta cu mere)

Apple Pie

In my family, apple pie (“Placinta cu mere”) was a grandma’s dessert specialty. I don’t even remember eating the traditional apple pie on another occasion other than when my grandmother (mamaie) would bake it on a fall day after she returned home from the market with bags full of apples and other seasonal fruits and vegetables.

My mother also had her own apple pie recipe, but that one was something else, and the pastry was often bought from the store. Don’t get me wrong, I loved my mother’s cooking, but it was like I was told a story every time I ate something cooked by grandma. Her apple pies told me the stories of faraway orchards, where I longed to run and pick myself the apples, the air was crisp, and the fall surrounded me with dancing leaves and enchanted winds. This was the apple pie I could eat over and over again!

READ MORE: Romanian Sweet Cheese Pie (Placinta cu branza)

Last week, I tried to recreate this recipe after we went to a beautiful apple orchard in Sonoma and got to pick some fresh apples.

The recipe is straightforward; you can easily bake it in less than 2 hours. So go to your farmers market (or an apple orchard), bring home 4 pounds of lovely apples, and let’s bake together this traditional Romanian apple pie:


For the Pastry:

  • 4 cups (500 g) flour;
  • 1 3/4 sticks (200 g) butter;
  • 3/4 cups (150g) sugar;
  • 3 egg yolks;
  • 1 tbsp baking powder;
  • 1 cup (250g) sour cream

For the apple filling:

  • 4 pounds (2 kg) apples;
  • Cinnamon;
  • 1/2 cup (120 g) sugar;
  • ½ stick (60g) butter.
  • Optional:
  • Maple syrup
  • Nutmeg
  • Cardamon


Make the pastry:

  1. Mix the room-temperature butter with the flour.
  2. Add the egg yolks, sugar, baking powder, and sour cream. Knead until you get an elastic dough.
  3. Divide the dough into two equal parts. Wrap each piece individually in plastic foil and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

READ MORE: Plum Dumplings Recipe

Make the apple filling:

  1. Peel the apples. Using a grate (or a food processor), grate the apples (on the part with the larger holes).
  2. If there’s too much liquid left in the bowl where you grated the apples, you can squeeze them before starting the next step.
  3. In a large saucepan, melt the butter and add the shredded apples. Add the sugar, cinnamon (and the maple syrup, cardamon, and nutmeg if you go for my apple pie with a twist). Saute the apples and spices for approximately 10 minutes. Let them cool.

Put together the pie:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Roll one part of the dough on a floured work surface, then put it on a baking tray lined with butter and flour. 
  3. Add the apple filling and distribute evenly. Roll the second dough and add it on top of the apple filling.
  4. Pierce the dough with a fork from place to place. Bake it until slightly golden (30 – 45 minutes). Let it cool down and powder with vanilla sugar. 

Pofta buna (Bon appetite!)

Recipe extra tips:

  1. You can use what types of apples you like. Last weekend, we went to an apple orchard in Sonoma, and I picked some beautiful Gala, Honeycrisp, McIntosh, and Gravensteins.
  2. I used a 13/9 inches (33/23 centimeters) baking tray for this recipe.
  3. The butter for the pastry should be at room temperature because it will be easier for you to mix the dough. So let it out from the fridge for at least 20 minutes before making the pastry dough.
  4. The original apple filling only calls for apples, sugar, and cinnamon. Keep it simple for the traditional recipe, or add extra flavors like I did – maple syrup and spices – I prefer Cardamon and Nutmeg. But if you add more maple syrup, remember to minimize the sugar quantity!


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