Pita od Jabuka is a traditional Apple cake from Croatia. Teta Mitcica gave me her recipe!
You have no idea what a big deal that is. Its just like a flat apple pie that is cut in traditional diamond shapes. This cake is almost always at her house if you just drop in for a coffee. The coffee will be sweet Turkish coffee and you will get your fortune read after drinking it.
Jabucka-pronounced YA-boo-KA means apple in Croatian.
You can make it with slices of apples- which in how Mitcica makes it and in my opinion is better.
You can make it with chunks of apple which makes it more like a slab of apple pie. I made it with chunks when I didn’t translate the recipe properly the first time I made it. When she saw the blog she corrected me and then I did it again. The slices makes the filling more like a smooth apple paste and is perfect with the small diamond shapes.
This is how it looks with the chunks of apple and is more like a large slab apple pie rather than the delicate cake that she makes. You make it the way you like it.
You will Need:
- 350 grams all purpose flour or 2 1/2 cups
- 1/2 pound butter/ 2 sticks
- 2 heaping tablespoons of sugar
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 pkg baking powder/2 tsp
- pinch salt
- 1 pkg vanilla sugar/2 tbsp
- 2-3 tbsp sour cream
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 6-7 medium apples (some sour/tart)-I used pink lady, ambrosia, granny smith (sliced or chopped =7 cups of slices or chunks once all peeled and cut up)
- 5 tbsp sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 cup water
- 3 quart Pyrex rectangular dish/2.8L or you can even use the next larger sized pan for a thinner crust. Her recipe just said a large glass dish.
Note: in the original recipe there is no lemon juice in the crust but, I made it both ways and I really think it is better with the small bit of lemon.
(the glass dish is great because you can slice right on the glass where if you use a baking pan I would never cut slices in the pan because it will ruin your pan.) You could of course make this in a large glass pie plate since it really is very similar to a pie only larger.
Step 1: peel and remove skin from apples. I use a mandolin to slice the apples very thin. This is a good way to slice one side, then turn the apple and keep slicing until you get the the core each time. In the end you have only the core left which you just throw away. I like this method because I don’t have to peel and core the apples just peel and slice.
Step 1: If you want chunks: peel and core apples. I used a variety of apples. I used Ambrosia, Granny Smith and Pink Lady. I core my apples with a melon baller. Chop into small chunks.
Step 2: place your apple slices in a large pan (which helps the water evaporate quicker) and add your sugar, cinnamon and only 1/4 cup of water to get the apples sweating. I then cook them for 10 minutes to evaporate some of the water but, you still need to leave some so the cake stays moist. Let cool completely before filling cake.
Step 2: In a saucepan add apples, sugar, cinnamon and water. Cook until softened but still with some structure to them approx 20 minutes.
Step 3: Mitcica prepares the crust by hand and I tried it by hand and also in the food processor and I find the food processor is easier. Add dry ingredients first: flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, vanilla sugar (which I make by sticking split vanilla beans in sugar and leaving it a few weeks) I pulse the machine 4-5 times. Add cold butter cubes and pulse 7-8 times.
Step 4: mix egg yolk with sour cream and lemon, and add to the food processor. Pulse 7-8 times. it should look like wet sand. I dump contents of food processor onto counter and just bring together until it forms a ball. Do not over work this dough so it stays nice and flaky.
Step 5: wrap dough and let rest in fridge for 30 minutes -1 hour.
Step 6: divide into 2 balls and roll out into a rectangle that with fit into the base of the Pyrex dish. You can smooth with a measuring cup or the back of a spoon.
I like to keep the dough in a rectangle as I am rolling it out. I can use the plate as a guide to determine if my dough is large enough to fit the bottom.
Step 7: for the top layer roll out carefully forming a rectangle that will fit on the top. When I get it almost the size I want I put between plastic wrap and continue to roll. The plastic makes it easy to flop on top of apples and makes it easy to estimate size, you can trim edges as necessary. I like to freeze both crusts for 15 minutes before filling and baking. This keeps the crust nice and flaky.
I prefer to use a glass pyrex dish or in this example something you can slice on without damaging the pan. I have made 2 smaller cake with the slices and then frozen one for future. Mitcica would never freeze it but then she always has lots of people to eat it. This way is good for smaller groups.
Step 7: put cooled apples on top of bottom layer of crust. This is how I would make one large Pita od Jabuka but, you can use the chunks or slices here.
Step 8: put top crust on top of apples and trim edges.
Bake at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes or until lightly browned.
Dust with icing sugar and slice in diamond shapes. The slices make such a nice paste like thin apple interior with the flaky crust. It is excellent warm and cold the next day.
Wait until cooled and slice in rows and then cut the slices on the diagonal to make a traditional diamond shape. If you want to cut into squares the cuts are more uniform and there are less half cuts from the corners. Squares are easier diamonds are traditional.
Sprinkle with lots of powdered sugar.