Austrian Apple Strudel | Apfelstrudel
A classic Austrian dessert made from layers of paper thin dough rolled around a filling of apples, walnuts, and rum-infused raisins. Sprinkle the finished strudel with powdered sugar and serve it with a side of whipped cream, custard, or vanilla ice cream.
- 400 g all-purpose flour 3⅓ cups
- 1 tsp salt
- 1½ tbsp vegetable oil
- 220 ml water scant 1 cup
- 1 kg tart cooking apples, peeled, cored, + thinly sliced 2¼ lbs
- 100 g granulated sugar ½ cup
- ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
- 65 g raisins ⅓ cup
- 90 g unsalted butter, divided 6 tbsp
- 120 g fresh bread crumbs 1½ cups
- 65 g finely chopped walnuts ½ cup
- lemon juice for keeping apples fresh
- 30 g unsalted butter, melted 2 tbsp
- powdered sugar, for sprinkling
- can be served with whipped cream, crème anglaise, or vanilla ice cream
1-4 hours (or more) Before Baking
- Add the flour and salt to a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Turn the mixer on low and briefly mix the two ingredients.
- Add the oil and water and knead the dough until it comes together and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. The dough should not be sticky or dry. Add 1 tablespoon of flour or water as needed to get your dough to the right consistency.
- Knead the dough for 10-15 minutes, until it can pass the windowpane test, which is where you stretch a small piece of dough and, if it doesn't rip and you can see light through it, then the gluten is properly developed.
- Form the dough into a seamless ball by bringing all edges to the center to form a ball, and then fold that over and seal it with the palm of your hand. Drag the ball on your unfloured surface to create tension and then scoot any remaining seams in the dough on your work surface to make them disappear. Making a seamless ball will help when stretching the dough later on.
- Put 1 tsp of vegetable oil in a bowl and coat all surfaces of the dough with the oil. Place the ball of dough into your oiled bowl and cover it with plastic wrap for 1-4 hours in your refrigerator, or overnight, and up to 3 days. The longer you let your dough sit, the easier it will be to stretch. But don't let lack of time prevent you from making a strudel. One hour of rest time should be sufficient for a stretchy, pliable dough.
- While the dough is resting, soak your raisins in 80ml or ⅓ cup of dark rum (brandy can be substituted if no rum is on hand). Also, toast your bread crumbs in a skillet with 45 grams or 3 tablespoons of butter. Set them aside in a bowl to cool.
30 Minutes Before Stretching the Dough
- Peel, core, and thinly slice your apples about 30 minutes before planning to make your strudel. You don't want to slice the apples after the dough has been stretched because your dough will dry out. Toss the apples in lemon juice before setting them aside, so that they don't turn brown. Do not add the sugar to the apples until the dough is stretched because you don't want too much juice to be created, potentially leading to a soggy strudel.
Stretching the Dough
- Place a clean sheet on your kitchen table and liberally flour it and rub the flour into the sheet.
- Take your dough out of the fridge and begin stretching it into a rectangle, thinning out the center of the dough and bringing it to the outer edges.
- Then take two fists and start to stretch the dough in the same way that pizza dough is stretched.
- Place your rectangle of dough onto your sheet and use a rolling pin to thin out the dough and roll it into an even rectangle.
- Carefully place your hands under the dough with your knuckles facing upwards and use your knuckles to stretch the dough towards the edges of the table, taking care to stretch from the center of the dough and bring it towards the edges. Stretch the dough first the width of the table and drape the it over the edges. Once you've stretched the dough width-wise, concentrate on stretching it length-wise. It will take time and patience to stretch it as thinly as possible. It's said that it should be so thin that you can read a newspaper through it.
- Once the sides have been draped over the edge of your table (or at least three sides of your table), use scissors to cut off the thick, hanging edges of dough to make a perfect rectangle.
- Brush the dough with 3 tablespoons of melted butter and then sprinkle the buttered bread crumbs over ¾ of your dough, leaving the last few inches of dough uncovered.
- Take your walnuts and sprinkle a 6 inch or 15 centimeter wide strip along the short end of your dough (not the end that was left uncovered with bread crumbs).
- Stir together the apples, sugar, cinnamon, and raisins. You can also add a couple of tablespoons of the soaking rum, if you'd like. Stir that all together and place it over the strip of chopped walnuts.
- Using your sheet, fold one long side of your strudel dough over the apples and the rest of the length of dough. Repeat the same thing on the opposite long side.
- Using your sheet, roll the short side of the dough with the apples all the way up to the end of the other short side of the dough, making sure it is seam side down. Carefully transfer the strudel to a parchment-lined baking sheet, forming a horseshoe shape with the strudel. Brush melted butter over the top of the strudel.
- Bake in a 400℉ / 200℃ pre-heated oven for 30-35 minutes, until golden brown and crispy on top.
- Let it rest for about 30 minutes before slicing into it and serve it sprinkled with powdered sugar with a side of whipped cream, custard, or vanilla ice cream. This is best eaten the day it is made.