Last weekend we stopped into La Boulangerie for a treat, needing replenishment after a lengthy afternoon walk. Although I was already settled on a pain au chocolat, the apple strudel caught my eye and I found myself unable to stop thinking about it.
I’ve never actually had a strudel, but apple pie is one of my favourites, and I figured it must taste similar. Apples, cinnamon, pastry…what’s not to love, right?
Anyway, it had me reminiscing of my time in Austria, visiting Cole while he was on exchange. While in Vienna, we hopped on over to Scloss Schonbrunn for a day of exploring the beautiful palace and its equally (if not more) beautiful gardens. We actually splurged for the day-package including an apple strudel tutorial and free slice, but by mid-afternoon we were too tired to wait in the long, long line.
And that my friends, is how I missed out on an authentic strudel.
With my mind set on a challenge, I looked up a few recipes and began baking. And today, I bring you a little tutorial on how to make a true Austrian apple strudel.
This recipe will make a massive strudel – about 16-18 inches long (easily 10 decent sized pieces).
– 2 ½ cups flour
– ½ teaspoon salt
– 3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
– 10 Tablespoons water (room temp)
– 12 Tablespoons butter (unsalted)
– ½ cup + 1/8 cup plain bread crumbs
– ¾ cup sugar
– ¼ + 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
– pinch of salt
– 5 large apples (I used 3 Gala and 2 Granny Smith)
– 5 teaspoons lemon juice
– 1 teaspoon lemon zest
– ½ teaspoon nutmeg (or a few chopped hazlenuts if you can find them)
– ½ cup raisins (optional)
Let’s get baking!
Step One: Stir the dough ingredients together with a fork until they form a shaggy and mouldable mixture. (If your mixture is too dry, add a Tablespoon more water).
Step Two: Place the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes until smooth. Roll your dough into a ball and lightly coat it with ½ teaspoon of oil. Place back into the bowl, cover, and let rest for approximately 1 hour.
Step Three: Melt 3 Tablespoons of butter over medium-low heat until melted. Then, add the bread crumbs and cook until they are moist (2 minutes). Transfer to a bowl and let cool.
Step Four: Remove your dough and place it onto a lightly floured surface. Gently roll it into a 10 x 12 inch rectangle.
Step Five: Cut a large piece of parchment paper and place it onto a smooth surface and cover it with a CLEAN towel. VERY GENTLY transfer your dough and place it on top of the towel.
Step Six: Begin to gently stretch the dough out. You can do this by placing your hand under the centre of your dough, and gently pulling it out towards the edges. Repeat this step around and around until you have a very thin layer of dough that is about 18 x 30 inches.
The test to determine when your dough is thin enough, is to stick a piece of paper underneath and see if you can read it through the dough. If so, you’ve done a perfect job.
Make sure to repair any holes in the dough.
Step Seven: Melt your remaining butter and brush a thin coat over your dough. Place the breadcrumbs in a long horizontal line through the middle of the dough. Leave a border of 3 inches from either side of the dough uncovered with crumbs, and ideally, equal space between the top and bottom. The breadcrumbs will trap the juices from your apples as they cook.
Step Eight: Make your apple filling. Do not do this in advance because if your filling is allowed to sit, the juices will seep out and it will become messy. You want to make the filling, transfer it, roll it all up, and place it in the oven in one smooth procedure.
To make the filling, peel and chop your apples into tiny pieces, place in a bowl, and add in the rest of the filling ingredients. Spoon this mixture on top of the bread crumbs.
Step Nine: Starting on the top horizontal edge, lift your cloth up, which will lift up the dough. Place the end over your filling to cover. Then, tuck in the side edges to seal it. Continue lifting the cloth to roll your strudel up. Your apples will shrink as they cook, so a tighter roll is better.
If done correctly, you will continue to roll the cloth until its end, which will transfer the strudel onto the parchment paper.
Step Ten: Brush your strudel with any remaining melted butter and then sprinkle it with a Tablespoon of sugar.
Step Eleven: Bake at 425F for 20 minutes, then reduce to 350F and bake for 25-30 minutes longer. The longer you bake it, the chewier the bottom crust will be.
Remove and let cook on a wire rack.
Serve it up!
Flaky, thin layers of pastry enveloping a sweet, juicy, apple filling speckled with cinnamon.
I prefer mine with a little ice cream, but you can also use a thin layer of cream, whipped cream, or even a caramel sauce. Watch as it drips over the edges of your pastry, oozing into every little crevice.
It’s truly a great treat for all times of the day. I love that it is sweet, but not so sweet that you can only imagine it as a dessert.
Eat it fresh from the oven or store it in a Tupperware bin and microwave a slice every once in a while. Either way, you’ll find yourself digging in and craving every last morsel.