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Almás Béles – Hungary’s Response to Apple Pie – with Recipe!

Adrienn Vass 2021.12.10.

Pie is like distilled fruit: every nation has its own, but each variation involves different fruits and has a different name. When, as a child visiting my grandmother, I would sit in front of my apple pie starving for it to cool down enough to be edible, I never would have imagined that any other apple pie existed on earth. When, watching American movies (not American Pie!) I saw pie slices on little plates cooling by the window (no doubt about to be stolen) I did not even realize that what I was seeing was pie. But yes, all desserts of various shapes and tastes that are enclosed in short dough are pies.

Translation by Tamás Vaski

Pie dates back to around 9,500 B.C.E., at least that is the earliest period from where clear proof has been found of our ancestors using the correct tools to prepare pastries from grains. These are considered the predecessors of modern pies and pastries. The pie shape we know today dates back to the times of ancient Greece and Rome. This was when cooked or baked meats and vegetables met pies kneaded from grain, water, and fats. Thanks to the Romans, pies made from salted dough were spread all throughout Europe. Apicius’ renowned Roman cookbook contains pie recipes, showing that even the name of the dish may have likely come from that time.

The next stop in the development of pies came after sugarcane arrived in Europe in the 18th century, which lead to the development of what we know today as sweet dough. Fruits were a natural addition to this new generation of pastries. But according to certain sources, the English were already putting apples in pies back in the 14th century. In Hungary, the most popular home recipe is called almás béles (apple filling), which is perhaps a more dough-focused version than the typical apple pie. But I, like my grandmother, prepare it with thinner dough layers.

Almás Béles


For the dough:

  • 300 g flour
  • 150 g butter
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 pinch of salt

For the filling:

  • 100 g sugar
  • 1.5 kg apples
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 6 tablespoons breadcrumbs

Peel and grate the apples. Add the sugar and cinnamon, then cook in a skillet until the mix falls apart and its juice is cooked.

Put the apples aside and let them cool down.

Knead together the ingredients for the dough, cut the mix in half, and place the two pieces of dough in the refrigerator for at least half an hour.

Stretch the dough to the dimensions of the baking sheet, line the baking sheet with baking paper, and place one piece of dough in the baking sheet. Use a fork to poke holes in it, and then cover it in breadcrumbs.

Pour the cooled apple filling on the dough, add some more breadcrumbs, then place the second layer of dough on top, poking holes in it with a fork.

whisk the egg then rub it on the top of the dough. Bake the pie in an oven preheated to 180 degrees Celsius until it is golden-brown.

The Queen of Leftovers – Hungarian Bread Pudding - with Recipe!
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In English, máglyarakás is known as Hungarian bread pudding, but the dish has thousands of different names depending on where it is made.Continue reading

Photos and featured photo by Péter Csákvári/Hungary Today

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