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How to Bake the Perfect Jewish Apple Strudel - an Easy Recipe
What can be better than a slice of a crispy apple strudel with some vanilla ice-cream? To me, the Apfelstrudel is the ultimate dessert and very few other things can match it.
Apfelstrudel became popular in the Austro-Hungarian empire in the 18th century and has been gaining in popularity ever since. It first spread around Austria, Germany, Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic and all other former Austro-Hungarian countries. And now the strudel is loved all over the world, partly thanks to the influence of the Jewish communities.
I don't know about you, but to me there is only one problem with the strudel - very few people can make it properly. So, here is the recipe used by my grandmother. I can't guarantee that it's a traditional Austrian recipe, but it sure is a traditional Jewish recipe! In any case, I've always been happy with the result.
- roughly 2 and 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour (300g). I say roughly because it depends on the flour - you might need more, you might need less. Play it by ear.
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 2 tablespoons plus 1 tsp. neutral oil (30 ml)
- 13 tablespoons of lukewarm water (200 ml)
- 100 g. of breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup of raisins
- a swig of rum
- 5-6 large apples (I prefer Granny Smith)
- 150 g. of granulated sugar
- 1-2 tsp. lemon zest
- cinnamon - you decide how much or how little
- melted butter for brushing dough (almost a whole stick or 1/2 cup)
- Powdered sugar for decoration
First we are going to make the dough. I do not recommend shop-bought pastry, because it's just not real strudel. So, put the flour in a bowl and add the salt, oil and water. Stir well with a spoon and start working on it with your hands when it becomes solid enough. The dough should be smooth and tacky, but it shouldn't be sticky. Depending on the flour you are using (all flour is different), you might need to add more than the specified amount. Add it in small quantities, like a spoon at a time, until the dough is nice and tacky. Then form it into a ball, put it back into the bowl, and stand for one hour. You can cover the dough with clingwrap to keep it fresh. By the way, this dough can be frozen, so why not make a bit more and store some!
Now put the raisins in a cup and pour some rum over them. Let them soak while the dough is standing. You can also add some candied lemon and orange peal to the raisins too.
In the meantime, peal and slice the apples into thin (but not too thin) slices. Whatever you do, don't chop the apples, as they are much tastier when sliced.
Now roll out the dough. Strudel dough should be rolled really thinly, so make sure both the surface and your rolling pin are floured and nothing sticks to anything. Roll the dough until it's almost paper-thin, but it shouldn't develop any holes.
Brush the dough with melted butter. Then place the apples and raisins on one side of the dough and sprinkle the filling with sugar, cinnamon and breadcrumbs. Don't put the filling in the middle of the dough - you need the space to roll the strudel.
Cut off the thick edges of the dough and envelope the filling buritto-style. This will prevent the juices from leaking out. Now start rolling the strudel and don't forget to brush the layers of dough with melted butter. Seal the strudel well - we want to keep those juices in!
Put the strudel on a lightly buttered and floured baking tray seam down. Don't know about you, but I prefer using flour instead of a baking sheet. Brush the strudel with any remaining melted butter.
Bake at 180°C for ca. 45 minutes or until golden. My grandmother always put her strudels in a cold oven, but you can pre-heat it if that's what you are used to.
When the strudel is ready, sprinkle it with powdered sugar and cinnamon. Serve with vanilla sauce and ice-cream.
Enjoy and let me know how it went in your comments!
© 2011 Snurre