Apple strudel
Baked, Dessert, Vegetarian

Apple Strudel (‘Apfelstrudel’)

3 comments

Apple strudel is without a doubt the most famous German dessert outside of Germany. I am well aware that it is the pride of Vienna and credit for it should rather go to Austria rather than to Germany. But even the Austrians didn’t invent this dish. The only thing they did was to refine it.

The apple strudel was originally invented in Hungary. The royal cooks there learned how to prepare the thin pastry from the Turks who occupied Hungary during the 17th century. The first written evidence of a dish called apple strudel dates back to 1696.

Strudel doesn’t necessarily have to be a sweet dish. The name literally translates to ‘swirl’ or ‘whirlpool’. Any filling that is rolled inside a thin layer of pastry can be considered a strudel. It doesn’t even have to be baked. In Southern Germany, there’s a popular variety called ‘Brätstrudel’ which is basically a sausage stuffing that is wrapped in German pancakes and boiled. If you’d like to try another popular savory variety of strudel, you can check out my recipe for spinach strudel.

Stretching the strudel dough takes a bit of practice

This recipe for apple strudel uses the traditional strudel dough which is pulled apart until paper-thin. It takes some skill to stretch the dough so it doesn’t tear and I only prepare a very small amount of strudel dough. If you’ve never prepared strudel dough before, you might want to prepare a double batch of dough. There is no room for error if the dough tears apart or if you can’t get it thin enough. It’s better to play it safe if you’re not confident about your strudel stretching skills.

Thinly stretched out strudel dough

If you can’t be bothered to make the dough yourself, you can simply use puff pastry or filo dough. I think puff pastry is a bit more luxurious and much more common in Germany than filo dough. So I would go with that if I’d be given the choice.

The filling for apple strudel is very simple. You don’t need to precook anything. It’s best to use a tart apple variety that retains some structural integrity after baking. I really like Belle de Boskoop apples but you can use any tart apple variety that you prefer.

Placing the filling on the dough
Rolling the filled dough into a sausage

It’s very important that you don’t omit the breadcrumbs in the filling. They will soak up the juices from the apples and prevent your dough from getting soggy. I know that some people don’t like rum-soaked raisins but I think they are essential for good taste. However, you can omit them if you’re a raisin hater.

How to serve your apple strudel

Don’t be disappointed if the strudel dough doesn’t look very shiny when you take it out of the oven. It is traditionally not brushed with egg wash but with melted butter. However, that doesn’t matter as the finished strudel will be dusted with powdered sugar. So you won’t see any of that pale crust.

Baking the apple strudel in the oven
Dusting the apple strudel with powdered sugar

Apple strudel can be served in many ways. I don’t really need anything with it but whipped cream is a very nice and simple condiment. In Germany, it’s also very common to serve it with vanilla sauce. Vanilla ice cream goes nicely with warm apple strudel as well.

3 Comments

  1. Tim,

    My heritage is Slovak, and I posted about a Slovak Strudel, which is very similar to your recipe, in another Blog. I was excited to see another posting of a strudel recipe that was traditional. Stretching and rolling the dough were quite challenging. I think discussing that process a bit more would be useful to the uninitiated.

    Looking forward to reading through more of your posts. Love me some Spatzel and Dumplings.

    Kappy

    • Thanks for your comment, Kappy!

      Yes, it can be quite challenging to pull the dough without it tearing. I think it depends a lot on how well you knead and rest the dough. I’ve baked strudel with spelt flour a few times. That is easier and works wonderfully because spelt flour is easier to stretch. Overall, I think a beginner doesn’t need to obsess about getting the dough paper-thin. Strudel also tastes great with a bit thicker dough.

      It’s a nice blog that you have. I think you describe the process for apple strudel in great detail there with all the pictures. I would love to see some more traditional Slovakian recipes on there. I know that strudel and dumplings are as popular in Slovakia as they are in Germany – Tim

  2. Pingback: Dreams about German Shepherds and my Featured Blogger for October 18 2020 (My German Table) – Wildindigoprisms

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.