Szarlotka (Polish Apple Pie)

A traditional apple pie the Polish way. This is a very warm and wintery dish and, in comparison to its American cousin, the dough is also made in a different way. First you make the base, then you scatter it with apple slices and then, and here comes the funny part, you grate the rest of the dough on top. Yes, you read correctly. This ensures the lid of the pie, if you wish, is very crunchy and has a squiggly look as well, which I find very appealing. The recipe is by Polish home cook and food blogger Ren Behan and was featured in the January issue of the BBC Good Food magazine.

There’s something so homely and warming about Polish cooking which reminds me of the Italian culinary tradition. The kitchen really is put at the heart of the family and this is evident even in the food itself. Plenty is an option here, as this makes a huge cake. Also be careful to stick to the advised chilling time (if not to prolong them), otherwise you will end up with a big mush on top. This cake is best enjoyed with some whipped cream, but I bet it still tastes amazing even if paired with some vanilla ice-cream. Must try!

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Ingredients

  • 6 large Bramley apples
  • 4 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 a lemon
  • 450g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 200g unsalted butter, chilled and cut into pieces
  • 225g golden caster sugar
  • 3 medium egg yolks
  • 1 medium egg
  • 1 tbsp Greek yogurt
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest (optional)
  • 1 tsb vanilla extract

Method

  1. Grease and line a 20 x 30cm rectangular tin (or equivalent). Pre-heat the oven to 180C.
  2. Start with the filling. Zest the half lemon and put it aside for the dough. Peel, core and thinly slice the apples, then drizzle them with the lemon juice to prevent them from turning brown. Add to a large pan, then tumble in the sugar, cinnamon and 200ml water. Cook for about 5-7 minutes, then take off the heat and leave to cool in the liquid.
  3. To make the dough, you can either use the food processor (easier and faster) or do it by hand. If you’re doing it by hand, crush the butter pieces in the flour, then add the rest of the ingredients. Otherwise, put the flour and baking powder in a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the butter and mix again until the mixture is sandy. Add the sugar, lemon zest, egg yolks and egg, yogurt and vanilla extract, then mix to combine again. Tip it onto a lightly floured surface, then bring together to form a ball.
  4. Cut the dough in half. Wrap one half in cling film and put it in the freezer for at least 1 hour. Use the other half to cover the base of the previously lined baking tin, using your hands to squish it into place and cover any cracks which form in the dough. Try to ensure the surface is smooth, then cover with clingfilm and chill in the fridge for a good 40 minutes.
  5. When you’re ready to bake it, remove from the fridge, prick the base with a fork and bake for 15 minutes. Remove and set aside to cool.
  6. Remove the dough half from the freezer, then grate it coarsely (much in the same way as you would do with cheese). Sppon the filling and half of its cooking liquid onto the cooled base, then top with the grated dough. Try not to press it in place but, rather, scatter it. Bake it for 40-45 minutes, until golden and cooked through. Remove from the oven, then leave to cool completely on a wire rack before unmoulding. Enjoy!

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3 thoughts on “Szarlotka (Polish Apple Pie)

    • afoodiea

      Haha I have to say it looked impressive on a chopping board, but you’ll be interested to know I don’t actually use that as such and use it as a tray instead hehe

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