For my Viennese-Polish-American dad, apple strudel is Saturday afternoons at his grandparents’ apartment with Viennese symphonies on the record player and their friends coming to visit. For me, apple strudel is a siesta at my Oma and Opa’s house, of course accompanied by coffee and our favorite sweet. For both of us, it’s about taking time for family.
I come from a long line of strudel eaters and bakers on both sides of my family. The delicate crust is a thing of legend. How thin could Tante Fanny make the pastry? And what about Nanny? Mastering the crust is one of the great prides of Viennese and German Jewish women. As I prepare to welcome a new little girl into my family, I thought it was time to join the line of strudel bakers. I wouldn’t say I mastered it, but here’s a darn good recipe I adapted from two different recipes: Claudia Roden and Yvonne Ruperti.
Note: I made one dough from scratch and bought another frozen pastry sheet from the supermarket. Viennese grandmas, cover your ears: The frozen pre-made one was 100x better, and much easier to make thin! But we can pretend I never said that, and just enjoy the deliciousness.
Frozen pastry sheets. Usually come in packs of two.
Half stick of unsalted better, meltedPreparation
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Defrost your pastry.
Once dough is defrosted, lay parchment paper down on a large flat surface and sprinkle flour on it. This will help you later when you have to roll the strudel up. You might put two pieces of parchment next two each other to make a wider area to roll your dough out. Place defrosted pastry sheet on the parchment, and roll out dough of one sheet until very thin and even with a rolling pin or large round glass. It can stretch to up to 2 feet long and ideally, will become a little bit translucent.
Brush the rolled out dough with melted butter.
1 lemon, juiced and zested
2 lbs of Granny Smith apples, about 5 apples, peeled, cored and cut into small cubes
3/4 cup of chopped walnuts
3/4 cup granulated sugar (plus more to sprinkle on top before baking)
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/2 cup of golden raisins
¾ cup of ground almonds or almond flour
salt, because it makes everything more delicious
Note: This is enough for two rolls of strudel.Preparation
In one bowl mix sugar, cinnamon and a hearty pinch of salt. Like if a giant pinched it. In another bowl, mix apples, raisins, lemon juice, lemon zest, and ground almonds. Just before you’re ready to fill the strudel, combine the two bowls of filling ingredients.
Starting about 6 inches from one end of the dough, use half the apple mixture, as if you’re about to fill a burrito. Also leave a couple inches on both edges of the mixture. Don’t worry if the filling seems like it’s piled really high because the fruit will shrink.
Now you have to roll! Take the 6 inches of the dough you left in front of your filling line and start pulling it over the filling to cover it. Fold the dough over the sides, burrito-style, when halfway through. Go until you’re all wrapped up with no gap.
You should see the lumpy contours of the apples and filling.
Your strudel-burrito will now be all rolled up on top of a piece of parchment paper. Lift that parchment paper with the strudel on it and put it on top of a baking sheet.
Brush more of the melted butter across the top of your strudel-burrito (which is likely between 15-20 inches long). Liberally sprinkle sugar across the top.
Repeat with second pastry sheet, and place second strudel-burrito on the baking sheet.
Bake for 20 minutes at 425 degrees, then lower the temperature to 350 degrees and bake for another 30 minutes or until golden brown.To serve, enjoy with the Viennese Symphony Orchestra and coffee.