Bite My Kitchen by Gordana

Lenja Pita / Lazy Apple Pie

20 min

medium

10-12 slices

A delightful Serbian version of the popular Lenja Pita / Lazy Apple Pie. This is a very traditional recipe, and common across the Balkan region. The literal translation from Lenja Pita is – lazy pie, and you may be wondering why lazy? Well, perhaps because it is low effort for such a delicious result. Made with a delicious sweet, butter pie crust and filled with shredded apples in the middle, this Lenja Pita is divine. Just imagine the aroma of those warm apples filling up the kitchen. This pie is so delicious, especially when eaten warm.

Lenja Pita

I think it’s safe to say that we all love the familiar, comforting desserts from our childhood, right? They bring back so many memories or feelings of love and family. Across the Balkans, Lenja Pita / Lazy Apple Pie is one of the most popular desserts, one which brings back feelings of comfort. Most of us can remember our mothers or grandmothers who have at some point made this delicious pie. For me, lenja pita was a dessert that we enjoyed at home, at a celebration or gathering.

The lenja pita / lazy apple pie implies the simplicity in making this dessert with the result being a delicious, warm, and comforting apple pie. Traditionally, the butter crust is not always rolled, but pressed into the bottom layer of the baking dish. The filling comes next and then lastly the top layer of the dough is pressed on top. This is the true lazy version of this pie making process. However, at the risk of sounding like a broken record, across all regions we all have our own variations or takes on traditional recipes. And so, I share with you a version that I love and am familiar with.

The recipe

There are two parts to making this recipe, the butter pie crust, and the apple filling. You can absolutely make the butter pie crust by hand. As long as your butter is at room temperature you should have no problem. The apple filling is also pretty basic, you need to shred the apples, mix in the lemon juice, sugar and cinnamon.

A slightly unusual method in comparison to the traditional way of making the filling is that this recipe requires the cooking of the apples in a pan. This is so that the juices thicken and evaporate. Normally, the apples are set aside, and once the juice seeps out, the juice is removed completely. However, I have found that once cooked, the texture thickens up, giving the pie a voluminous filling.

Making the butter crust

To make the butter crust, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Using the paddle attachment, give this a quick whisk. Then add in the softened unsalted butter and combine. At this stage, the texture will resemble breadcrumbs, and this is what you want! This means that the butter has broken down and combined with the flour. Next, swap to a dough hook and add in one egg at a time and mix. Lastly add in the milk. Keep mixing with a dough hook until you get a nice, soft dough.

Divide the dough into two equal parts, shape into disks, cover and rest in the fridge for twenty minutes. Once the dough is ready to be used, roll out each layer according to the size of your baking dish.

The apple filling

Now for the part of the recipe that will make your kitchen smell divine! Peel the skin of the apples and shred them on a chopping board or directly into a bowl. Once the apples are in a bowl, add the lemon juice, sugar, cinnamon and mix. Cover and let sit for 20 minutes.
Then, add the apples, including juice content, into a large pan and cook on medium heat until all the juices have evaporated. 

Putting the pie together

To assemble, brush the baking dish with butter and layer with baking paper. The butter helps the baking paper stick nicely.

Layer the first butter crust on the bottom of the pan. Then, on top, layer all the apple filling. Lastly, cover with the second layer of the dough and press the edges and sides in slightly. Using a fork, poke air vents across the top layer. This helps the pie let out steam during the baking process. Glaze the top of the lenja pita with one beaten egg. Bake in the oven at 180°C for 35-45 minutes or until golden brown.

Looking for more recipes?

If you are in need of more inspiration, maybe give one of these recipes a try:

Walnut & Chocolate Squares

Chocolate & Mascarpone Cake

Serbian Cheese Pita / Pie

I hope you give this Lenja Pita / Lazy Apple Pie a try. With so many versions of apple pies all across the world, this apple pie gives you a peak into the Balkan tradition of pie making. If you do – please leave a comment below or if you have a moment leave a rating for this recipe. You can also tag me over on Instagram.

Reviews

Ingredients:

Adjust Servings
For the dough
450g all purpose flour
1tsp baking powder
1/2tsp salt
150g caster sugar
2 whole eggs
50ml milk
200g unsalted butter, room temperature
For the apple filling
1kg grated apples the weight of the apples is, 1kg of peeled apples.
juice of one lemon
100 g caster sugar
1tsp cinnamon
For decoration
1 whole egg, for brushing
powdered sugar, for decorating

Directions

1.
the butter crust
Prepare a rectangular baking dish (28 x 18 x 5 cm), greased with butter and lined with baking paper on top (greasing the pan with butter helps the baking paper stick nicely to all of the edges). In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Give this a quick mix. Using the paddle attachment, add in the softened unsalted butter and mix until the mixture resemble bread crumbs. Next, swap to a dough hook attachment and add in one egg at a time. Lastly add in the milk. Keep mixing with a dough hook until you get a nice, soft dough.
Divide the dough into two equal parts, shape into disks, cover and let rest in the fridge for twenty minutes. Once the dough is ready to be used, roll out each layer according to the size of the baking dish.
Mark as complete
2.
the apple filling
Peel the skin of the apples, and shred them on a chopping board or directly into a bowl. Once the apples are in a bowl, add the lemon juice, sugar, cinnamon, and mix. Cover and let sit for 20 minutes.
Then, add the apples, including all of the juice content, into a large pan, and cook on medium heat until all of the juices have evaporated. Stir the apples regularly to avoid any burning. Let this cool for 15 minutes, before assembling the apple pie.
Mark as complete
3.
assembling the lenja pita
Preheat the oven to 180°C. If you have not already rolled out the crust, roll out each butter crust to the dimension of the baking dish. Into the already prepared baking dish, layer the first butter crust on the bottom of the baking dish. Then, on top, layer all of the apple filling. Lastly, cover with the second layer of dough, press the edges and sides in slightly. Using a fork, poke air vents across the top layer.
Glaze the top of the lenja pita with one beaten egg. Bake in the oven at 180°C for 35-45 minutes or until golden brown.
Mark as complete
4.
to decorate
Lenja pita is always served with a layer of powdered sugar. Once the pie has cooled down, cut into square slices and sprinkle a desired amount of powdered sugar over each slice. Alternatively, you can dust the entire lenja pita with powdered sugar prior to slicing.
Mark as complete
Notes
If you are making the dough by hand, follow the same steps. Use a whisk to initially combine the dry ingredients and then use your hands to incorporate the butter until you get a texture that resembles bread crumbs. Add in the eggs one at a time, the milk and continue kneading the dough until you get a nice smooth ball. This process may take longer, but it is entirely possible to make the curst in this way!
The weight of the apples is 1kg of peeled apples.
The butter should be room temperature.
Use a rectangular baking dish (28 x 18 x 5 cm). Or any rectangular baking dish that is as close to those dimensions as possible.

4 Comments

  • monika

    what size is the pan?

    • Gordana

      Hi Monika! The baking dish that I used was a rectangular dish 28 x 18 x 5 cm. Use any baking dish that is rectangular and as close to those measurements as possible and you should be able to stretch the butter crust out nicely :). I hope that helps.

      • monika

        The most common rectangular pan is 9 x 13 inches. Will that work?
        Thanks!

        • Gordana

          Hi Monika! Maybe the pan sizes that I have purchased in NZ are a little different in measurements. I think your pan may be a little too big. If you have a smaller rectangular baking dish, that could work too! I can send you a picture of my baking dish over on Instagram if you like, so that you get an idea 🙂

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