Serves a Crowd

Original Viennese Apple Strudel (Apfelstrudel)

December 23, 2014
Photo by Mark Weinberg
Author Notes

Apple Strudel ("Apfelstrudel") is a typical and beloved Austrian dessert. This is my granny's recipe -- and I've never had any better tasting Apple Strudel. I think it would be awfully impolite not to share this outstanding piece of dessert with you. Hell, it took Austria at least two dynasties of decadent monarchs to come up with delicious treats like that while ignoring things like international relations and world politics. I hope the length of the recipe doesn’t scare you off. This is just because I explained everything in detail. For accuracy, I recommend measuring everything by weight if you can. Enjoy! —Ursula | Lil Vienna

Test Kitchen Notes

For me, the word 'strudel' conjures up childhood memories of family vacations at the beach, when I would get to eat store-bought strudel for breakfast. It is also one of the few things that I have always been hesitant to try making at home. No longer. This recipe is surprisingly straightforward (the accompanying photos are very helpful), takes no longer to prepare than an apple pie, and the resulting pastry is spectacular. I left my strudel in the oven for closer to 45 minutes, which produced a perfect contrast between the soft, sweet-tart apple filling and the super flaky crust. —Etta

  • Serves 8 to 10
  • For the strudel dough:
  • 1/3 cup (80 grams) lukewarm water
  • 1 tablespoon
    1/2 teaspoon (15 grams) neutral tasting vegetable oil

  • 1/2 teaspoon vinegar (or lemon juice)
  • 1/8 teaspoon table salt or fine sea salt
  • 1 cup
    2 tablespoons (145 grams) bread flour (I recommend measuring by weight since it is more accurate; you can also substitute all-purpose flour, if you like.)

  • 1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil for brushing the dough
  • Flour for dusting
  • For the filling:
  • 3 tablespoons (40 grams) unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup (80 grams) fine bread crumbs (dry)
  • 5 tablespoons (65 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 tablespoons (50 grams) raisins
  • 3 tablespoons rum or lukewarm water for soaking the raisins
  • 2 pounds (900 grams) sweet-tart apples (e.g. MacIntosh, Braeburn)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter for brushing the dough (divided)
  • Confectioner’s sugar for dusting and whipped cream for serving (optional)
  • In addition: tablecloth
In This Recipe
  1. For the dough: Mix lukewarm water, oil, vinegar, flour, and salt in a big bowl. Knead the dough until smooth for about 10 minutes, either in the bowl or on a clean working surface. The dough should be moist but not sticky. Slam the dough onto the worksurface a few times to enhance gluten development, yielding a very elastic dough. Let the dough rest for 30 to 45 minutes while you make the filling.
  2. For the filling: Melt the butter in a pan over medium heat and add the breadcrumbs. Toast them, stirring constantly, until they are golden. Remove from the heat and let cool.
  3. Mix sugar and cinnamon together, then add it to the buttered breadcrumbs and stir well. Set aside.
  4. Soak the raisins in rum (traditional) or lukewarm water for about 10 minutes to soften.
  5. Peel the apples, quarter, and core them. Chop every quarter into 1/8- to 1/4-inch slices and cover them with lemon juice to prevent the apples from getting brown. Add the soaked raisins (discard remaining rum or water) and mix well.
  6. Stretching and filling the dough: Roll out the dough with a rolling pin on a clean and lightly floured surface. Flour the surface and the dough every now and then while rolling. When the dough gets about 13- to 15-inch in diameter, pick it up and use the back of your hands, particularly your knuckles, to stretch it (remove all sharp jewelry first). This way you can stretch the dough like a pizza.
  7. When the dough gets bigger and thinner, and thus difficult to handle, put it down on a lightly floured tablecloth and straighten out the wrinkles in both the tablecloth and the dough. Continue stretching the dough on the tablecloth using your hands.
  8. Gently stretch the dough paper-thin from the inside to the outside, working your way around the sheet of dough. Stretch it until it starts to look translucent.
  9. In the end, the sheet of dough should be stretched into a rectangular shape, with the shorter edge fitting a baking sheet lengthwise. Thick edges should be cut off.
  10. Brush half of the dough with half the melted butter. Spread the breadcrumb mixture over the other half of the dough and pat down evenly. One side is brushed with butter now, the other side is covered with breadcrumbs. Leave a 1- to 1 1/2-inch edge around the dough. Spread the apples over the breadcrumbs.
  11. Fold in the side-ends of the dough. Using the tablecloth, roll the dough, starting at the apple-topped end, all the way. Then gently roll the strudel onto a sheet of parchment paper with the seam-side down.
  12. Put the dough onto a baking sheet and brush it with the remaining melted butter.
  13. Baking the strudel: Put the baking sheet in the middle of the preheated oven (I use the second rack of 4 from the top) and bake it for 30 minutes at 375° F.
  14. When the crust turns golden, the Apple Strudel is ready. Take it out of the oven, let it cool slightly, cut it into pieces, and serve dusted with confectioner’s sugar and/or a dollop of whipped cream.

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