Apple strudel is a classic recipe of South Tyrol in the North East of Italy.
This Alpine region borders Austria and is culturally very close to it. People from South Tyrol are comfortable speaking German as much, or even more, than speaking Italian, and there are plenty of analogies in the culinary traditions too.
Apple strudel is no exception, as it is very popular across German speaking countries and it’s also considered the most iconic dessert of the Trentino Alto Adige – South Tyrol region.
This beautiful stretch of land includes the famous and stunning Dolomites mountains.
Apples and raisins
Apple strudel really makes the most of locally available ingredients, such as apples, raisins and pine kernels enhanced by the aromatic scent of cinnamon.
This cake is sometimes made with puff pastry or even shortcrust. However the recipe I’m proposing, which I have taken from the always brilliant Giallo Zafferano, shows how to make the proper and original strudel pastry, which has has a very particular, light texture and is totally worth the effort.
Enjoy with tea or, why not, for a yummy breakfast alternative on cold winter days.
30 minutes + 1 hour fridge rest + 40 minutes cooking time
For the pastry:
130 g all purpose white flour
30 ml water
A spoonful of sunflower oil
A pinch of salt
For the apple filling:
750 g apples
100 g butter
60 g sugar
50 g raisins
2 spoonfuls Marsala wine (or vin santo, or some warm water)
60 g breadcrumbs
25 g toasted pine nuts
A spoonful of powdered cinnamon
Grated peel of one unwaxed lemon
Some icing sugar, to decorate
- Start from the dough. In a bowl, mix the sieved flour and salt, then add the egg, the water and the oil. Start kneading and continue until all ingredients are combined together in a smooth dough. Shape into a ball, cover with some sunflower oil and wrap in cling film. Transfer to the fridge for 1 hour.
- Meanwhile, soak the raisins in the Marsala wine (or warm water if you prefer).
- In a pan, melt half of the butter and pour the breadcrumbs. Toast them for a few minutes until golden brown. Remove from the heat and let it cool down.
- Peel the apples, remove the core and slice in thin slices. Transfer to a bowl and add the sugar, pine nuts, cinnamon, lemon peel and the raisins, squeezed to remove all the excess liquid. Mix briefly with your hands or a spoon. Try not leave the apples too long mixed with the sugar and the other ingredients, to avoid them turning dark and release water.
- Melt the remaining butter in the microwave.
- Take the dough from the fridge and on a lightly floured surface or piece of baking parchment, using a rolling pin start flattening it into a rectangular shape. It’s crucial to reach a paper thin thickness: you want to reach approximately 35×45 cm in size.
- With a pastry brush, spread half of the melted butter uniformly on the sheet, leaving the border out.
- Place the apples mixed with the other ingredients on the sheet, and spread evenly.
- Now roll the dough sheet on itself by the longest end. Do this carefully in order to avoid breaking the pastry. Make sure the roll is completely sealed, with the the seal side facing down.
- Close and fold downward the ends of the roll as well, in order to fully seal the cake.
- Using a pastry brush, brush the top with the remaining butter.
- Transfer to a tray covered in baking parchment and cook for about 40 minutes in the oven pre-heated to 200C static.
- Let it cool down and decorate with icing sugar.
- Serve the strudel in individual slices, either warm or at room temperature.
- For an even yummier alternative, serve with a side of custard cream, whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.