Lazy Apple Cake - Lenja Pita - Weekend at the Cottage

Lazy Apple Cake – Lenja Pita

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Prepare the dough: Sift flour and salt together. Rub in butter, forming pea-sized crumbs. Add sugar, egg, egg yolks, milk, vanilla extract and grated lemon zest. Stir together, then knead with your hands to make a rich dough that crumbs. Divide into 2 parts, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  2. Prepare the filling: Place apples, walnuts, breadcrumbs, sugar and cinnamon into a large bowl and mix together. If your apples are very sweet, add a bit of lemon juice for tartness.
  3. Preheat oven to 325°F.
  4. Assemble the cake: With a rolling pin, roll out the dough to the size of your 9x13” baking pan. Place dough into the bottom of the pan and press down around the edges to create a uniform bottom crust. Lay out the apple mixture on top, pressing the apples down. Roll out the second half of the dough and place it into the pan on top of the apple mixture. Trim the edges neat.
  5. Add meringue topping: Whip the two egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Spread the egg whites on top of the dough and dust with ground walnuts. Before placing into the oven, score the top layer of the cake into 24 squares.
  6. Bake for an hour until the meringue begins to brown. Leave it in the pan to cool before cutting. Dust with icing sugar and serve.
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Lazy Apple Cake – Lenja Pita

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A buttery, lemon flavoured pastry filled with apples and a walnut-dusted meringue topping…

  • clock icon
    75 MIN
  • 24 SERVINGS
Lazy Apple Cake

This LENJA PITA or LAZY APPLE CAKE is just the thing to serve whenever friends gather!

This post is for an old-school cake recipe known as “LENJA PITA” or Lazy Apple Cake. There are so many things that make this recipe so wonderful. If you’re one who likes to cut to the chase, feel free to skip this recipe’s origin story and just get on with the making of this tasty dessert. Watch the video, then head to the bottom of this page for the full recipe.

A few months back, I received a message from my friend Kris Yovanovich Myers; she and her family – brother Bob and sister Sandy – had found a cookbook and wanted to send it to me. I said, send away!

Kris, Bob and Sandy grew up in Windsor, Ontario, hanging out with my sisters and I. Our parents were friends and many wonderful life memories were made when the Yovanovich and Manojlovich families got together.

A photo of the antique cookbook

A few weeks ago the package arrived – an obviously well-read book called “KUVAR – Jugoslovenskih Jela” (translation: Cookbook of Yugoslav dishes). The vintage cookbook contained recipes from the various regions of the former Yugoslavia and was written in Serbo-Croatian. Flipping through the book, I saw something truly amazing – on the really good recipes, I noticed my beloved Auntie Angie’s handwriting – amazing!

Handwritten instructions from a family friend in the cookbook

As we started making this LENJA PITA or LAZY APPLE CAKE recipe, I looked to Auntie Angie’s handwriting and it was like having her right next to me in the kitchen, instructing and showing me the key steps.

Here are a few tips when you go to make it at home:

Ingredients for the dough used to make the lazy apple cake

PASTRY DOUGH

The pastry used for both the bottom and top of this lazy cake is fantastic. It’s rich and buttery but adding a bit of lemon zest to the dough gives it a lovely citrus flavour profile

Ingredients for the middle layer of the lenja pita

MIDDLE GROUND

Think of this cake as a sweet sandwich. There’s a layer of pastry dough, a middle layer of apple and then a repeat of the pastry dough as a top. That middle layer is a tasty mix of apple and breadcrumbs plus sugar and spices. It’s all really tasty!

Ingredients for the whipped egg topping

WHIPPED TOPPING

So often, we simply top a dessert with a dollop of whipped cream. Here’s an interesting twist where whipped egg whites and ground walnuts the top spot. Baking them is a nod to a classic meringue application. Love it.

Tart apples ready to be peeled, cored and sliced for the recipe

PART TART

This recipe is especially memorable is you can find and use tart apples. Head HERE for a list of potential apple varieties you can use. Remember to slice the apples into small bits as directed. They’ll then get wonderfully soft when baked.

The cake assembles in the pan ready for the oven

LAYER IT ON

Assembling this scrumptious treat is a joy. Adding the various layers into the baking dish is forgiving so just go with it. The final flourish of those egg whites is a nice send off before the cake heads off to be baked.

Lenja Pita or Lazy Apple Cake just out of the oven

I’ve realized a recipe such as this isn’t about the dough, or the apples or the meringue topper – it’s all about the recipe we create to live a full and meaningful life, surrounded with great friends.

The lazy apple cake cut and served

When you go to make LENJA PITA – SERBIAN FRIENDSHIP CAKE, serve it up to the people that mean the world to you and make sure to give hugs all around!

Lazy Apple Cake or Lenja Pita

This recipe is from Kuvar – Jugoslovenskih Jela, printed in Pennsylvania in 1946. It is prepared exactly as written with original handwritten translation by Angie Yovanovich and supplementary translation by my sister Dana – yay! It is a super easy recipe and the results are sweet and satisfying.

I’d like to express my most sincere and heartfelt thanks to Angie’s husband, Uncle Mel, and to their incredible children, Bob, Sandy and Kris. Thank you for this gift!

LENJA PITA – LAZY APPLE CAKE is one delicious and tasty treat!

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Lazy Apple Cake – Lenja Pita

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Lazy Apple Cake – Lenja Pita

Ingredients

  • For the dough:
  • 5 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 pound butter, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 whole egg and 2 egg yolks (reserve egg whites for topping)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • For the filling:
  • 2 pounds tart apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup ground walnuts
  • ½ cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • lemon juice, optional
  • For the top:
  • 2 egg whites, whipped
  • ¼ cup ground walnuts
  • a dusting of icing sugar for garnish

Directions

  1. Prepare the dough: Sift flour and salt together. Rub in butter, forming pea-sized crumbs. Add sugar, egg, egg yolks, milk, vanilla extract and grated lemon zest. Stir together, then knead with your hands to make a rich dough that crumbs. Divide into 2 parts, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  2. Prepare the filling: Place apples, walnuts, breadcrumbs, sugar and cinnamon into a large bowl and mix together. If your apples are very sweet, add a bit of lemon juice for tartness.
  3. Preheat oven to 325°F.
  4. Assemble the cake: With a rolling pin, roll out the dough to the size of your 9x13” baking pan. Place dough into the bottom of the pan and press down around the edges to create a uniform bottom crust. Lay out the apple mixture on top, pressing the apples down. Roll out the second half of the dough and place it into the pan on top of the apple mixture. Trim the edges neat.
  5. Add meringue topping: Whip the two egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Spread the egg whites on top of the dough and dust with ground walnuts. Before placing into the oven, score the top layer of the cake into 24 squares.
  6. Bake for an hour until the meringue begins to brown. Leave it in the pan to cool before cutting. Dust with icing sugar and serve.

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