Romanian Apple Pie – My Mother’s Recipe

Two square slices of apple pie on a wooden board. There is a lot of filling between the two layers of dough

I grew up with this Romanian apple pie. In our household my mom made it for us often, especially during winter time when apples were one of the very few fruits available. I still remember how every year in late autumn we used to get a couple of trays of apples, which would keep us going through the cold season, we always stored them on the balcony. 

Back then we didn’t have access to fruits which were not in season as during communism times, even after the revolution, there were no exotic imports coming to Romania. You had apples in autumn and winter because they last for long if kept cold, strawberries and cherries in May and June, watermelons in July and August, grapes in September. You couldn’t get strawberries or grapes in December or watermelon in January, for example.

That was unheard of! To this day, I associate the smell of a freshly opened orange to Christmas, as that was the only time when these fruits were available in Romania. Of course, these days you can find anything, no matter the time of the year, which is a little bittersweet, as they never taste the same. Strawberries in winter, for example, are hard, taste watery and have no flavour. Strawberries in late May however are soft, sweet and juicy.  

Back to this wonderful apple pie now. This is the recipe that my mom makes, which I last tried a couple of months ago, when I was visiting Romania.

Ingredients for the Romanian Apple Pie Recipe

A stainless steel pot filled with grated apples which have been cooked

You don’t need many ingredients to make this apple pie. You can also use whichever apples you like best for this Romanian pie. I love crisp apples that are not very sweet, such as Cox, which actually I grow in my garden. As you need to grate the apples, I would go for the ones that are firmer in texture.

The filling of this pie is as simple as cooking the apples with sugar and cinnamon.

When it comes to the dough, it’s like shortbread but without the sugar. You don’t want it to be too sweet as there is already sugar in the apples.

How to Make Romanian Apple Pie

A baking tray with dough on it, topped with the grated apples. On top, there is cinnamon and semolina sprinkled

This Romanian apple pie recipe is very easy to make, but it does require a bit of time. It’s best to make the dough either in the morning, or late in the evening, as it needs to rest for 12 hours in the fridge. This is a crucial step that will make the dough soft, with a melt in your mouth texture.

The filling of this pie couldn’t be simpler: apples, sugar, and cinnamon. A perfect combination of flavours that never fails. You can also add extras, such as lemon zest or raisins, if you want an extra layer or flavour and texture. I think the most difficult part of this recipe is actually grating the apples. Am I the only one who managed to grate the fingers as well?

Recipe Notes and Tips

The pie with the top put on. A hand is holding a fork and making marks in the dough with it
  • It is important to let the dough rest in the fridge. This makes it soft and tender.
  • I like a lot of filling in an apple pie, but I know there are people who prefer a little less. If you are one of them, feel free to reduce the quantity of apples. If you do, make sure to reduce the quantity of sugar as well.
Two square slices of apple pie on a wooden board. There is a lot of filling between the two layers of dough

Romanian Apple Pie Recipe

This Romanian apple pie recipe is all you need for a cheeky easy dessert. It is very easy to make and only requires a few ingredients which you already have around the house.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Dough resting time 12 hours
Course Dessert
Cuisine Romanian
Servings 6 people


For the dough:

  • 1 pack butter or margarine
  • 350 gr flour
  • 6 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp apple cider or wine vinegar
  • 1 pinch salt

For the filling:

  • 1 kg apples
  • 6 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • semolina optional
  • icing sugar to decorate


  • Make the dough by mixing together all the wet ingredients. Integrate the flour, bit by bit. Add the salt. Form a dough, then wrap it in clingfilm and put it in the fridge.
  • Leave the dough to rest in the fridge for 12 hours, or overnight.
  • Grate the apples on the large section of the grater and put them in a pan.
  • Add 6 tablespoons of sugar and mix together until the liquid that forms in the pan reduces.
  • Turn the heat off and let it cool down completely.
  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius or gas mark 4.
  • Divide the dough into two equal parts and roll them out.
  • Cover a baking pan with baking paper, and put the first dough at the bottom, making sure to cover the edges as well. Sprinkle a little bit of semolina over the dough, to help absorb the moisture and avoid a soggy bottom.
  • Put the apple filling inside and sprinkle the cinnamon on top. Sprinkle a bit more semolina on top. Add  the second layer of dough, and prick it with a fork.
  • Bake for one hour, or until the pie lid starts to brown.
  • Decorate with icing sugar and let it cool down completely before cutting it into squares.


The cooked pie, out of the oven. The top is decorated with icing sugar

Can you make the Romanian Apple Pie in advance?

Yes. My mom used to make the apple pie on a Sunday, to be enjoyed from Monday on. As kids though, we couldn’t wait and we would cut into it on the Sunday evening.

How do you store the Romanian Apple Pie?

You can store the Romanian apple pie in a Tupperware container with a lid, at room temperature, in a place with no direct sunlight. I usually keep it inside the oven. Just don’t forget about it if you need to use the oven.

How long does the Romanian Apple Pie last for?

The Apple pie is best eaten in the first two days after it has been cooked. From the third day the apples will dry out and it won’t be nice to eat. You can extend the life of the pie with a day or two if you keep it in the fridge, but that will modify the taste and texture.  

For more traditional Romanian desserts recipes see below:

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