Crisp apple strudel is on the list of everyone’s favorite things, up there with raindrops on roses and schnitzel with noodles. A Viennese classic that is popular all over Austria and in much of central and eastern Europe, “Apfelstrudel” is a classic dessert that is not too sweet and thus well suited for teatime or even breakfast.
Like many traditional recipes, apple strudel takes a while to make. If you are short on time, skip making your own dough and buy frozen sheets of puff pastry dough at the grocery store (see the note that follows the recipe).
1 1/3 cups unbleached flour
2 tablespoon vegetable oil
7 tablespoon water + more if needed
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon melted butter (for brushing on the dough)
3 large tart apples (such as Granny Smith)
2 tablespoon melted butter
2 tablespoon crushed shortbread cookies
½ cup light brown sugar
5 tablespoon golden raisins
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/5 cup finely chopped walnuts
½ teaspoon lemon zest
¼ cup rum (optional)
Preheat oven to 400° F.
Peel and core apples and cut into thin slices, then gently brown the crushed cookies in 1 tablespoon butter. Combine all the ingredients for the filling together except for the crushed cookies.
Mix flour, salt, oil and lukewarm water and knead together with your hands or with your mixer’s kneading hook for approximately 10 minutes, or until the dough has become smooth and elastic. Roll the dough into a ball and brush with butter. Using a sharp knife, cut a cross at the top of the ball of dough and then leave to rest at room temperature for 2 hours, covered in plastic wrap.
Sprinkle a clean tablecloth or flat kitchen towel evenly with flour. Roll the dough out as thinly as possible into a rectangle on the cloth. Place your hands, stretched out flat, under the dough and draw the dough over the back of your hand so that it becomes thinner and thinner. You will know the dough is ready when the pattern on the cloth is recognizable through the dough, or when you could read a newspaper through it. Seal up any tears in the dough, which should be about 14” x 17”.
Lightly brush dough with melted butter, and sprinkle with browned cookie crumbs. Add filling mixture in the center of the dough, leaving a 1” margin on all sides. Fold in 1” along three sides of the dough, leaving one long side unfolded. Moisten all folded edges and the remaining flat edge lightly with water.
Using the cloth to assist you, roll the dough toward the unfolded edge, enclosing the filling – try to let the strudel roll itself. Press firmly but gently on the sides and bottom seam to seal. Use the cloth again to transfer the strudel seam-side down to a cookie sheet, then gently remove cloth.
Brush strudel lightly with the remaining melted butter, and prick sparingly along the top. Bake 30 minutes or until golden brown. Cut crosswise, sprinkle top with cinnamon and serve with vanilla ice cream or a vanilla custard sauce.
Quick alternative: Instead of making your own dough, just purchase a box of frozen puff pastry dough. Thaw one sheet of dough and roll out into a 14” x 17” rectangle. Skip to Step #4 and proceed with the rest of the directions!