Looking for an alternative to apple pie this holiday season? My fiancé and I recently went apple-picking in Charlottesville—in fact we picked about 25 pounds of granny smiths and fujis. We made the obligatory apple crisp and caramel apples, but I wanted to try something new to use more up.
While apple strudel, or “apfelstrudel” as it is called in German, has been around for several hundred years, this treat was a first for me! According to my Grandma Betty, her mother made strudel, and grandma remembers the process involved in stretching the dough paper thin across the family’s table.
Strudel became especially popular Strudel is actually related to baklava, a delicacy that spread through the Ottoman Empire. The Turks brought baklava to Austria in around 1453 C.E., inspiring Austrians to make their own variation with chopped apples and nuts. Over the next several centuries, many variations of strudel were developed, including cherry, berry, and poppyseed varieties.
Did you know “strudel” actually means “whirlpool” in German (because it is rolled over so many times)?
For further reading
2 1/2 cups flour
2 tablespoons canola oil
13 tablespoons lukewarm water
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 cups chopped apples (I leave peels on so that I can pretend I’m being healthy)
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon cloves
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup raisins
4 tablespoons rum
1 cup bread crumbs
1 stick melted butter
1) Make the dough: Combine ingredients. Knead the dough on a floured surface with floured hands until smooth, about 5-10 minutes. Allow to rest in a warm place for at least 2 hours.
2) Prepare apple filling: Soak raisins in rum for 20 minutes. You may drain and dispose of the rum after this, or you can save it to add to a nice cup of hot tea or coffee. Combine apples, spices, sugar, and raisins in a large bowl and set aside.
3) Prepare bread crumbs: Combine with melted butter and set aside. Pretty easy one.
4) Stretch the dough: Place rested dough on a large table with a tablecloth. Start by rolling the dough as thin as you can with a rolling pin.
Once the dough really starts the get thin, you may use the back of your hands and fingertips to stretch the dough even thinner. You need to do this until you can read a newspaper through the dough, so get comfy. And if the dough tears, that’s ok, you can pinch the dough back together later.
5) Fill the strudel: Spread melted butter over dough surface. Spread bread crumb filling across the entire dough, excluding the edges. Line the apple filling along one of the narrow edges, occupying no more than 1/6 of the entire dough surface.
6) The fun part:Time to roll up the strudel! Gently fold the edge closest to the apple filling over the apples. Pick up the two corners of the tablecloth closest to the apple filling and gently lift. The table cloth will do the rolling work for you! Just don’t let the strudel roll all the way off the other side of the table!
7) Very gently pick up the strudel (it will be heavy) and lift it onto a greased pan or cookie sheet. If you’d like, melt another 1/4 stick butter and brush over the strudel prior to baking.
8) Bake the strudel at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, then reduce temperature to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 40 minutes.
9) Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before slicing. Enjoy on its own or with whipped cream or ice cream!