Every birthday that comes around in my family I always offer to make a birthday cake or dessert. This month both my brother in law and my mother-in-law were celebrating their birthdays. Their birthdays are one day apart so I usually end up making one dessert for both events. This year Dan (my brother in law) asked if I could make an Apple Strudel. He and his mother just came home from a 10 day vacation to Prague, Budapest, and Vienna where they tasted many varieties of apple strudel. I had never made an apple strudel before so, like always, I excitedly agreed! When I started looking for apple strudel recipes I found many different varieties. I chose this recipe because it is from a cookbook entitled Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafes of Vienna, Budapest, and Prague-perfect right!? Well I was in for quite a treat to see how much work went into making an apple strudel from scratch…but I am always up for a challenge. The final results were absolutely amazing-a flaky, buttery crust stuffed with tart apples, walnuts, and raisins.
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Apple Strudel Ingredients:
- 2 tablespoons golden rum
- 3 tablespoons raisins
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted, divided
- 1 1/2 cups fresh bread crumbs
- strudel dough (recipe below)
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
- 2 pounds golden delicious or granny smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into ¼ inch-thick slices
Strudel Dough Ingredients:
- 1 1/3 cups unbleached flour
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 7 tablespoons water, plus more if needed
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus additional for coating the dough
- 1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar
Combine the flour and salt in a stand-mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix the water, oil and vinegar in a measuring cup. Add the water/oil mixture to the flour with the mixer on low speed. You will get a soft dough. Make sure it is not too dry, add a little more water if necessary.
Take the dough out of the mixer. Change to the dough hook. Put the dough ball back in the mixer. Let the dough knead on medium until you get a soft dough ball with a somewhat rough surface.
Take the dough out of the mixer and continue kneading by hand on an unfloured work surface. Knead for about 2 minutes. Pick up the dough and throw it down hard onto your working surface occasionally.
Shape the dough into a ball and transfer it to a plate. Oil the top of the dough ball lightly. Cover the ball tightly with plastic wrap. Allow to stand for 60-90 minutes.
Mix the rum and raisins in a bowl. Mix the cinnamon and sugar in a separate bowl; set aside.
Heat 3 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet over medium-high. Add breadcrumbs and cook while stirring until golden and toasted. This will take about 3 minutes. Set aside to cool completely.
Put the rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
Have a work area that you can walk around on all sides with a work surface of at least 23 x 38 inches. Cover your working area with table cloth, dust it with flour and rub it into the fabric. Put your dough ball in the middle and roll it out as much as you can.
Pick the dough up by holding it by an edge. This way the weight of the dough and gravity can help stretching it as it hangs. Using the back of your hands to gently stretch and pull the dough. You can use your forearms to support it.
The dough will become too large to hold. Put it on your work surface. Leave the thicker edge of the dough to hang over the edge of the table. Place your hands underneath the dough and stretch and pull the dough thinner using the backs of your hands. Stretch and pull the dough until it’s about 2 feet wide and 3 feet long, it will be tissue-thin by this time. Cut away the thick dough around the edges with scissors.
Spread 3 tablespoons of melted butter over the dough using your hands.
Sprinkle the buttered dough with the bread crumbs using a flour sifter.
Spread the walnuts about 3 inches from the short edge of the dough in a 6-inch-wide strip.
Mix the apples with the raisins (including the rum), and the cinnamon sugar. Spread the mixture over the walnuts.
Fold the short end of the dough onto the filling.
Lift the tablecloth at the short end of the dough so that the strudel rolls onto itself.
Continue to roll.
Transfer the strudel to the prepared baking sheet by lifting it. Curve it into a horseshoe to fit. Tuck the ends under the strudel. Brush the top with the remaining melted butter.
Bake the strudel for about 30 minutes or until it is deep golden brown.
Cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Use a serrated knife and serve either warm or at room temperature.
Source: adapted from Kaffeehaus: Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafes of Vienna, Budapest, and Prague
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