Some weeks ago, while in Germany I came across an Instagram post by Nick Malgieri saying he was going to do a live talk on strudel. Due to the time zone difference I wasn’t able to watch.
While we were travelling in Bavaria, and Bavaria is technically part of the strudle belt, we didn’t come across any that looked worthy. We did sample a bunch of amazing cakes.
I was going to wait a couple of weeks after arriving home to attempt a strudel but I came across apples that were on sale at a local market. I picked up some phyllo pastry and set out to do some baking for the first time in over a month.
A few years back a good friend was visiting from Germany and shared her secrets for apple strudel she makes her family. I can’t really believe that it was over 7 years ago! Dated pictures apparently don’t lie.
The filling recipe is from a book called “So backt Südtirol”. South Tyrol is the northern German speaking area of Italy. A good shortcut is to use phyllo dough.
For the filling:
- Peel, core, and slice the apples
- Gather the raisins, pine nuts, almonds , and walnuts and set aside
- Spread the sugar over the bottom of a wide pan and cook over medium heat. The sugar will slowly caramelize. Swirl the caramel around until the sugar is dissolved
- Once you have your desired colour of caramel, add the butter and apples. Stirring with a spatula until some of the juices start to flow from the apples. Likely two or three minutes. At this point the caramel will seize
- Remove the apples and set aside leaving the caramel and remaining juices in the pan
- Return the pan to the heat and with a spatula coax the caramel into dissolving into the liquid. You don’t want to build off the liquid but you want to ensure the caramel dissolves. Pour over the reserved apples
- Add the bread crumbs, nuts, vanilla, rum, cinnamon, and a few grates of lemon zest to the bowl. Mix carefully. Set aside to cool
- Heat oven to 350°.
- Once the apple mixture has cooled you can start with the phyllo
- Take a clean tea towel, or two, and spread it out on the counter. Spray the towel down with cool water until damp, not wet, to the touch. Thai will prevent the phyllo from sticking to the towel
- Take one sheet and place it on the towel. Brush about a 20 cm wide strip of the wide side of the phyllo sheet with butter and lay the second sheet of phyllo down one the buttered edge. Brush butter over the bottom 20 cm of these two phyllo sheets. Lay a 3rd sheet of phyllo slightly overlapping. Brush butter along 20 cm strip on long edge. Lay the 4th sheet of phyllo down completing a large rectangle
- Completely brush butter over the whole rectangle
- And repeat with 4 more sheet of phyllo
- Leaving a 20 cm top and side edge of the phyllo rectangle, spread out the cooled filling over about 1/5 of the surface of the phyllo
- Fold the long sides over the edge of the filling and the the short edge of the phyllo over the filling.
- Using the towel for support, carefully coax the phyllo to roll over the filling to make a log
- Carefully lift the log onto a parchment lined baking sheet ensuring the seam is under the log
- Since my phyllo package has 16 sheets in it, I made 2 strudels. You’ll be happy you did! If you do, cover the completed strudel with a damp towel until the second strudel is made.
- Brush the strudel with liberally with butter
- With a parking knife, make three or four slashes in the top of each strudel. This will help prevent the blow out I had
- Bake on the middle rack of the oven until dark brown – browner than in the picture. 40 – 50 minutes
- Remove from the oven and cool. If you dare, cool the strudel on a cooling rack using 2 spatulas to transfer. It will make the bottom layers easier to cut through with a fork.
- Sift icing sugar over the
- Be sure to use unsalted butter to avoid burning your strudel
- For the apple slices, use an apple slicer and cut each piece in half. This will ensure you have some texture in the final strudel.
- You may wish to toast the pine nuts and walnuts. This is the only recipe I have found I didn’t really need to do this step.
- While assembling the second strudel, I lost the plot while creating the phyllo rectangle. I didn’t put the second layer down before adding the filling. I added the second layer after. The final strudel tasted great but was a little hard to cut with a fork and the side blew out while baking.
- Don’t leave out the rum – it elevates the strudel to another level
- 600 grams Apple Slices
- 30 grams Bread Crumbs
- 1 tbsp Unsalted Butter
- 90 grams Sugar
- 30 grams Unslated Butter
- 30 grams Raisins
- 20 grams Pine Nuts
- 20 grams Almonds, ground
- 15 grams Walnuts, coarsely chopped
- 1 tbsp Dark Spiced Rum
- 1 tsp Vanilla
- 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
- 1 pinch Lemon Zest
- 8 sheets Phyllo Pastry
- 110 grams Unslated Butter, melted and cooled
- 2 tbsp Icing sugar, Sifted over the cooled strudel
- Peel, core, and slice the apples.
- Gather the raisins, pine nuts, found almonds and walnuts and set aside.
- Spread the sugar over the bottom of a wide pan and cook over medium heat until your preferred colour of caramel is achieved
- Add the butter and apples. Cook while stirring with a spatula until some juices are released from the apples. 2 or 3 minutes. The caramel will seize.
- Remove the apple to a large bowl and return the pan to the stove.
- While heating the juices and caramel - coax the seized caramel to melt into the liquid. The goal is to melt the caramel while not boiling off the accumulated juices. Pour over apples.
- To the apples add the bread crumbs, nuts, vanilla, rum, cinnamon and a few grates of lemon zest.
- Mix carefully and set aside to cool.
- Take a clean tea towel, or two, and spread it out in the counter. Spray the towel with cool water until damp, not wet. This will prevent the phyllo from sticking to the counter.
- Take one sheet of phyllo and place it on the towel. Brush melted butter along the long edge in a 20 cm band. Add a 2nd sheet of phyllo overlapping the buttered edge. Brush butter an a 20 cm strip along the bottom of both pieces of phyllo. Add a 3rd sheet of overlapping phyllo lining up with the first sheet. Brush a 20 cm strip along the long side of the 3rd piece. Add a 4th piece of phyllo to complete a large rectangle. Brush melted butter over the whole surface.
- Repeat with 4 more sheets of phyllo over top of the first large rectangle and brush with butter.
- Leaving a 20 cm top and side edge of the phyllo rectangle, spread out the cooled filling over 1/5th of the surface. Use your fingers to arrange apples.
- Fold the long sides over the edge of the filling and then the short edge of the phyllo over the filling.
- Using the towel for support, carefully coax the phyllo to roll to make a log.
- Carefully lift the log onto a parchment covered sheet.
- Brush the strudel liberally with butter.
- Bake on the middle rack in a pre heated 350 degree oven for 40 - 50 minutes until deeply browned.
- Remove from the oven and let cool. Sift icing sugar over the strudel before slicing and serving.