This August marked the two year anniversary of when I moved to Germany, and since I’m now back in ‘Murica, I had to make German food in honor of the day. We had a nice dinner of Käsespätzle, Gurkensalat, some brats, and this wunderbar Apfel Strüdel. Viennese style is my favorite and is paired with a vanilla sauce that puts it over the top. If you can’t find it anywhere, you can use vanilla pudding in a pinch, or make your own—like this. So, as you can imagine, I’ve basically been in a Starchy Foods Coma™ ever since, but it was more than worth it. There are a lot of steps, but it’s actually not too hard to make, if you follow the instructions exactly. When you are done, you’ll have a sehr lecker (very delicious) dessert to eat and hopefully share with friends!
*Note: I used the recipe below almost exactly, I will only change a few things that made it easier for me to understand after trying this a few times
- 1/3 cup room temp water
- 1 tablespoon + 1/2 teaspoon canola or vegetable oil
- 1/2 teaspoon white vinegar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 145 g bread or all-purpose flour (1 cup) (weight measurement is ideal)
- ½ teaspoon vegetable oil for brushing the dough
- flour for dusting
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2/3 cups fine bread crumbs
- 5 tablespoons granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 4 tablespoons raisins
- 3 tablespoons room temp water for soaking the raisins
- 4 gala apples (peeled, cored and chopped into 1/2″ pieces, about 1/8″ thick)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons melted butter for brushing the dough (divided)
- confectioner’s sugar for dusting
To make the dough
- Mix lukewarm water, oil, vinegar and salt in a big bowl. Acid like vinegar helps relax the gluten to make the dough easier to stretch.
- Stir in about half the flour with a spoon until well combined, then gradually add the remaining flour until it comes together and you can work it with your hands.
- Knead the dough until smooth for about 5-10 minutes, either in the bowl or on a working surface. The dough should be moist but not sticky. If it is too sticky to knead, add a little more flour (you shouldn’t need more than 1 or 2 additional tablespoons). Slam the dough onto the work surface a few times to enhance gluten development, yielding a very elastic dough.
- Shape the dough into a smooth ball. Brush a clean bowl with oil, put the dough into the bowl and brush it with oil.
- Cover the bowl with a lid or plastic wrap and let it sit for 1 hour at room temperature. **I made this the night before and brought to room temp before rolling out and that yeilded better results than letting it sit for just 1 hour total)
To make the filling
- Melt the butter in a pan over medium heat and add the breadcrumbs. Toast them, stirring constantly, until they are golden. Remove from the heat and let cool.
- Mix sugar and cinnamon together, then add it to the buttered breadcrumbs and stir well. Set aside.
- Soak the raisins in water for about 10 minutes to get them softened.
- Peel the apples, quarter and core them. Chop every quarter into 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick slices and then in half lengthwise and cover them with lemon juice to prevent the apples from getting brown. Add the soaked and drained raisins and mix well.
- Stretching and filling the dough
- Roll out the dough with a rolling pin on a clean and lightly floured surface. Flour the surface and the dough every now and then while rolling.
- When the dough gets about 13-15 inch in diameter, pick it up then use the back of your hands, particularly your knuckles, to stretch it (remove all jewelry first). This way you can straighten the dough like a pizza.
- When the dough gets bigger and thinner, and thus difficult to handle, put it down on a lightly floured cloth, straighten out the wrinkles in both the cloth and the dough. Continue stretching the dough on the cloth using your hands. (I just put the dough on the counter and that made it hard to roll after, so don’t forget the cloth!)
- Gently stretch the dough paper-thin from the inside to the outside, working your way around the sheet of dough. Stretch it until it starts to look translucent.
- In the end, the sheet of dough should be stretched into a rectangular shape, almost the size of a cookie sheet.
- Brush half the dough with half the melted butter. Spread the breadcrumb-mixture over the un-buttered half of the dough and pat down evenly. Leave about 1 to 1 ½ inches of dough empty around the edges. One side is brushed with butter now, the other side is covered with breadcrumbs. Spread the apples over the breadcrumbs.
- Fold over all the empty edges of the dough—this will help make sure the filling won’t spill out too much. Using the towel, roll the dough, starting at the apple-topped end all the way. Then gently roll the strudel onto a sheet of parchment paper with the seam-side down. Try to make sure there is no exposed filling.
- Put the dough onto a baking sheet and brush it with the remaining melted butter.
Baking the strudel
- Put the baking sheet in the middle (I use rack 2 of 4 from top) of the preheated oven and bake it for about 30 minutes at 375 °F.
- When the crust turns golden, the Apple Strudel is ready. Take it out of the oven, let it cool slightly, cut it into pieces and serve dusted with confectioner’s sugar and in a bowl that is filled with about 1/3 cup vanilla sauce.
- Feel German/Austrian.