GF DF Dill & Cheese Pie (Placinta cu branza si marar)

Placinta cu branza si marar is traditional to Romania and the Republic of Moldova, a country where I spent a year as a Peace Corps Volunteer.  With talk of a reunion trip amongst the Moldova5 RPCVs (Returned PC Volunteers from the 5th tour to Moldova), I was feeling a little nostalgic for some of their food.  I could have made mamaliga, a cornmeal based dish like polenta that would have been just fine for my gluten and dairy-free diet, but cheese and dill pie sounded so much better.  So, I made some modifications and wound up with a dish I’m quite pleased with, which also tasted pretty darn close to the original.


The whole thing came together when I drove past a health food market on the way to somewhere else.  I stopped, looked around, and found fresh dill, mozzarella-flavored rice-milk cheese alternative, and a package of Chebe’s gluten-free pizza crust mix.  Perfect!

Placinta cu marar has a very strong dill flavor.  When I first tried it, it was a little overpowering.  But, after eating it at the local market and in people’s homes often enough, it became a regular part of my diet.  The way I make the placinta here is different from the pan-friend hand pies I ate in Moldova, but has the same flavor with fewer calories.  I’ve had bad-luck with gluten-free hand pies in the past, so I didn’t even want to go down that road.

I made the pizza crust as per the package’s instructions, but I left out the optional cheese.  I know some of you might like cheese-covered pizza with cheese embedded in the crust, as well, but I’m not one of them.  So, pizza mix + 2 eggs + oil + rice milk.  Chebe is made from tapioca flour and starch and so it has a pretty sticky and stretchy consistency.  If you coat your fingers in more tapioca flour, it makes the dough very easy to handle.

For the filling, I referred to a recipe on Gourmandine, home to Romanian blogger Iulia.  Using her recipe as a base, I used eggs, some Tofutti Sour Supreme, the cheese alternative mentioned above, corn meal, fresh dill, S&P, and a little cayenne, as well as some garlic and onion for good measure.  I figured that the cheese alternative would probably need a kick.


Dill and Cheese Pie (Placinta cu branza si marar) Recipe

For crust

  • 1 package Chebe’s gluten-free pizza crust mix

For Filling

  • 1 8-oz package of Mozzarella-flavored non-dairy cheese alternative, shredded
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 Tablespoons dairy-free sour cream alternative
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons corn meal
  • 2 Tablespoons minced green onion
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 bunch fresh dill, chopped
  • Salt, pepper and cayenne, to taste


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Lightly grease an 8×8″ baking pan with olive oil and set aside.

To make dough, follow instruction on pizza crust mix package, leaving out cheese.  Divide dough into 2 equal size balls.  Dust a clean surface with tapioca or corn starch for best results and, using your hands, pat each dough ball out into an 8×8″ square.

In a medium bowl, mix together all filling ingredients until well blended.

Place one dough square into the 8×8″ pan and pat it down evenly across the bottom.  Pour filling into pan and spread evenly, leaving 1/4″ of dough exposed around edges.  Place second layer of dough on top of filling and lightly press down around the edges to seal the pie.

Bake pie for 35-40 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and has pulled away from the pan’s sides.

Cut into squares and serve.

This picture was taken the next day.  I just tossed a piece in the oven at 325 degrees for about 10 minutes and it came out with a crispy crust and melted inside.

By the way, if you ever run across a foreign website that you wish you could read, just install the Google Toolbar.  I happen to speak some Romanian, but I like to use the Google translation feature to double-check my understanding.  They offer translation in about 60 languages; it’s not always correct, but it’s close and it’s better than nothing.

4 Comments on GF DF Dill & Cheese Pie (Placinta cu branza si marar)

  1. Rich
    October 28, 2010 at 7:31 am (4 years ago)

    This looks like a fantastic appetizer or side dish! I love cheese pies of any origin, really, but the dill and onion and garlic … yes, please.

  2. La Maoomba
    October 28, 2010 at 8:41 am (4 years ago)

    HI Rich – thanks for stopping by. It is a good dish – especially if you can branch out into other ingredients (i.e., real cheese). My tip: add as much dill, garlic and onion as you like; they make the dish.

  3. Toby
    December 20, 2010 at 7:13 am (4 years ago)

    This looks delish! I’ve several friends that are Celiac and I am always looking for things to share with them to make their lives a little less dull. Thanks for sharing!


    • La Maoomba
      December 20, 2010 at 10:56 am (4 years ago)

      HI Toby,
      thanks for checking out my blog. I love to eat, and giving up wheat was tough. I try to share recipes that don’t use grains at all, or that can be made with the gluten-free baking products that are more and more available these days. Hopefully, you’ll find some that are helpful.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comment *