Lenja Pita / Lazy Apple Pie
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 somewhat 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.
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 quiet often.
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 there are different variations or takes on traditional recipes. And so, I share with you a version that I love and am familiar with.
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 the apples to be cooked 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. Alternatively you can work the butter into the flour by hand. 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 a deep 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:
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. If you have any questions or get stuck you can find me over on Instagram.
|For the dough|
|450g all purpose flour|
|1tsp baking powder|
|150g caster sugar|
|2 whole eggs|
|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|
|1 whole egg, for brushing|
|powdered sugar, for decorating|