You’re the apfelstrudel of mein eye.” – “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” (1968)
It’s Austrian to the core, but this apple dessert is the official pastry of Texas
A strudel is a type of sweet or savory layered pastry with a filling inside, dating back hundreds of years as an easy and satisfying meal for the poor, according to ajeanneinthe
kitchen.com. The name strudel comes from the German word for swirl or eddy, and the rolled version of the pastry mimics the inside of a whirlpool, the website explains.
Strudel most often is associated with Austrian cuisine, but also is a traditional pastry in the area formerly belonging to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, according to pastry purveyor Helmut’s Strudel.
Apple strudel is the national dish of Austria and the state pastry of Texas. The oldest strudel recipe is handwritten from 1696 and stored at the Viennese City Library, according to culinary historians. Authentic strudel almost is impossible to replicate at home, but the advent of puff pastry and phyllo dough has allowed for a close approximation, those historians and experts note.
1 3⁄4 pounds Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1⁄2-inch pieces (Gala apples can be substituted)
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1⁄2 teaspoon lemon zest and 1 1⁄2 teaspoon lemon juice
1⁄4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1⁄4 teaspoon ground ginger
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sultanas or golden raisins
1 1⁄2 tablespoons panko bread crumbs
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon powdered sugar for dusting
14 (9-by-14-inch) phyllo sheets, thawed
Before you begin: Thaw phyllo in the refrigerator overnight and then on the counter for 30 minutes.
Toss apples, sugar, zest, juice, spices and a 1⁄2 teaspoon salt together in a large bowl. Cover and microwave until apples are warm to the touch, about 2 minutes, stirring once halfway through heating. Let stand covered for 5 minutes. Alternately, cook on the stovetop just until the apples begin to soften and give up their liquid. Transfer to a colander set in a second bowl and let it drain, reserving liquid. Return to original bowl and stir in raisins and panko.
Adjust oven rack to the upper-middle position and preheat oven to 375 F. Add 1⁄8 teaspoon of salt to the melted butter.
Place a 161⁄2-by-12-inch parchment paper on the counter with the long side parallel to the counter. Place 1 sheet of phyllo with the long side also parallel to the counter. Place 11⁄2 teaspoons powdered sugar in a fine mesh strainer. Lightly brush sheet with melted butter, brushing with the grain to prevent tearing and dust sparingly with the powdered sugar. Repeat with 6 more sheets. Repeat this procedure with the second group of 7 sheets.
Arrange half the apple mixture in a 21⁄2-inch-by-10-inch rectangle 2 inches from the bottom edge of your phyllo and 2 inches from the sides. Using the parchment liner, fold the sides of the phyllo over the filling, then fold the bottom edge of phyllo over the filling. Brush folded portions with reserved juice. Fold top edge over filling, making sure top and bottom edge overlap by about an inch. Press firmly to seal. Transfer to one side of a baking sheet with seam facing the center. Repeat with the second strudel. Brush both with reserved liquid.
Bake strudel until golden brown — 27-35 minutes — rotating half way through. Transfer strudel to cutting board. Let cool 3 minutes. Slice each strudel into thirds and let cool for at least 20 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. Dust with extra powdered sugar.
Phil Newton is a Galveston baker/cook. He’s the owner/operator of Stiglich Corner with partner Cindy Roberts.