Have you tried apple strudel? If not then you have to read this article to learn what it is, and why you have to know about it.
Have you heard all of your friends and relatives talk about how amazing apple strudel is but you don’t know if it’s something you’ll like?
If you don’t know what apple strudel is, I’m concerned about you as a person, mostly because it’s a delicious dish that no human should go without trying.
Not only is apple strudel the perfect combination of flaky, sweet, and gooey, it’s also incredibly versatile, meaning you can disguise it as breakfast even though it’s meant to be a dessert. But who doesn’t love a little dessert for breakfast?
We’re here to help you understand everything there ever was to know about apple strudel. Ok, maybe not everything, but the most important things.
Please continue reading to find out what this tasty dish is to where it originated from, to how to make it yourself.
What is Apple Strudel?
Apple strudel combines apples, spices, and sugar mixed and wrapped in a tasty pastry dough. Don’t get confused between strudel and streusel. While both absolutely amazing, they are very different.
Streusel involves a sugary, floury, buttery crumb topping over a sweet pie-like filling. Yummy, but quite different, so don’t let anyone lie to you and say they’re the same thing.
It’s also different than apple pie, but the same as apple strudel pie. Yes, I know that’s confusing.
Many bakers like to cut back the sweetness of apple strudel with a tart apple like granny smith apples because of apple strudel’s overall sweet flavor.
The actual strudel part of the name refers to the pastry, which is an unleavened dough with many thin layers that require a painstaking process of kneading and folding.
If you don’t do it right, you could knead your hands numb only to have to throw it out due to the lumpy mess you made…so be sure to do it right.
Where Did It Come From?
Strudel is a Viennese dish, though some people very wrongly think it’s German, hugely popular throughout Europe.
The earliest recorded recipe of strudel goes way back to the stone age…well, actually just the 1600s. A handwritten recipe is located at the Vienna Library in City Hall (or the Wienbibliothek in Rathaus).
That recipe is just for the pastry portion of it, though. At the time of creation, and even today, strudel is incredibly versatile in that you can stuff it with sweet or savory fillings. Today, it’s common to have the puff pastry apple strudel version.
The word for strudel translates to whirlpool in English, identifying the swirly nature of the dough.
It’s worth noting that some people compare pastry dough to flaky baklava, which is another tasty dish you should make.
How to Make It
You should no longer be asking yourself, “why should I make apple strudel?” If you are, then you clearly haven’t read the awesome apple strudel recipe below.
Making strudel is something of a finicky art form and is not for the faint of heart. (If your heart is faint, consider just buying the dough). If you’re brave enough to try it, consider taking a course if available.
- 3-cups All-Purpose Flour
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 3/4 cup warm water
- 1 large egg (room temperature), beaten
- Granny Smith Apples (or other tart apples). Make sure to peel and slice them into 1/2- or 1/4-inch chunks, depending on preference.
- Lemon Juice
- Brown Sugar
- Ground Cinnamon
- All-Purpose Flour
- Golden Raisins (optional)
- Coarse Sugar (optional)
Making the Dough
While you have the option to buy the dough, if you want really great strudel (and trust me, you do), then you want to make it yourself.
- Gather the first 3 ingredients to start assembling your doughy masterpiece. Dump all these ingredients together in a large bowl.
- Once combined, you can start kneading. If you are lucky enough to have a stand mixer, you can let it do the laborious kneading for you using a dough hook. If you’re unlucky and hate your hands, you’ll have to start kneading by hand. This should take about 10 minutes with the mixer and 15 or so by hand.
- If the dough starts to dry out during this process, add 1 tablespoon of water and repeat as needed.
- Wipe the inside of the bowl clean, then add a thin layer of oil and add the dough ball.
- Cover tightly with plastic wrap and allow it to rest for about an hour. This is an opportune time to ice your sore hands or start on your filling, your choice.
- After resting, roll the dough into a rectangle until it’s about 1/16 inch thick. Let it rest for 10 minutes before stretching the dough out until about 20 x 30 inches.
- Have your filling ready at this point. (Note: This is where it pays to read the recipe all the way through before starting)
Making the Filling
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit
- Combine the next 7 ingredients until evenly coated with flour
- Once your pastry is ready, spread the mixture down the center, leaving about 1 inch on each side
- Wet the edge of the dough before folding the sides together to create a seal
- Sprinkle a coating of coarse sugar if desired
- Bake for 40 minutes or until golden brown
- Serve with ice cream or risk burning your mouth
What are You Waiting For?
Now that you know what apple strudel is (and that it is decidedly not streusel or apple pie), you should be dying to make it. I know the dough seems scary, but it just takes some practice and hand exercises.
However, don’t forget that you can purchase dough in a pinch.
For more great recipes on all kinds of great food, head to our recipes page.