Apple Strudel, also known as Apfelstrudel, is a popular Viennese pastry that is oblong in shape and has a delicious apple filling. Though it originates from Austria this pastry is enjoyed by many across Europe. The filling in the strudel can be sweet as well as savory. The term strudel is derived from a German word that means “whirlpool” or “eddy”. Firm, crisp and tart apples, such as Winesap, are preferred for this dish.
History of Apfelstrudel
Apple Strudel is believed to have originated during the Austro-Hungarian Empire, also known as Habsburg Empire that ruled around 1867-1918. As per records, there is a great influence of varied cultures on the Austrian cuisine, starting with Turkish, Swiss, French, Dutch, Italian, German, Hungarian, Polish, Bohemian-Moravian, Jewish and other eastern & southern countries of Europe. It is believed to have been influenced by the Turkish Baklava.
What is Apple Strudel?
Apple strudel is the national dish of Austria. Traditionally it has a filling of grated apples, bread crumbs, sugar, cinnamon and raisins. The pastry base is usually so thin that it is said one should be able to read a newspaper through it. The thinness is what gives the strudel its characteristic crispiness, once baked.
Ingredients Used in Apfelstrudel
Apple strudel consists of a thin base that is made with dough kneaded from flour, oil or butter, and a pinch of salt. Apple juice can be used instead of water for kneading the dough. This adds to the taste. Readily available phyllo dough too can be used for the base. The filling of the strudel consists of grated apple and brown sugar flavored with cinnamon, lemon zest, little lemon juice, and nuts (such as walnuts, pine nuts, almonds). A bit of butter or olive oil adds a nice taste to the filling.
Preparation of Apfelstrudel
The dough used for making the pastry base is kneaded by flogging on the table top and then rolled out. Traditionally the dough is rolled and stretched out so long that it can reach the size of a bed sheet. The pastry is coated with butter/oil and sprinkled with cinnamon and brown sugar before the strudel is baked. Once done, the long strudel is sliced into smaller pieces and served warm, coated with powdered sugar.
Serving Instructions for Apfelstrudel
Ideally, apple strudel is served as is; however, it tastes wonderful when served with whipped cream, vanilla ice cream, custard or vanilla sauce. This pastry is usually accompanied by tea, coffee and even champagne, especially in the Viennese cafes.
Apfelstrudel – Trivia
There is another pastry from Austria that is similar to Apple strudel. It is known as Milk-cream strudel or Millirahmstrudel and has a filling of sweat bread, cream filling and raisin. This strudel is generally served with vanilla sauce.