Some recipes may appear incredibly complex at first glance, but in reality, they’re surprisingly straightforward. Apple strudel is one such dish. I used to avoid making it, thinking that stretching the dough so thinly was impossible. However, following the recipe carefully, you can achieve perfectly thin layers of pastry. While it might not be as thin as those crafted by Viennese masters, it’s certainly on par with what you’d find in most cafes, and most importantly, it’s incredibly tasty.
I’ve tried several strudel recipes, and I’ve been satisfied with all of them. However, more often than not, I find myself preparing it following Hermé’s recipe from a book. That’s the one I’ll be sharing with you today.
You will need:
For the Dough:
- 200 grams (about 7 ounces) of flour
- 45 grams (about 1.6 ounces) of sunflower oil
- 60 grams (about 2.1 ounces) of water
- A pinch of sea salt
- 50 grams (about 1.8 ounces) of eggs (approximately 1 small egg)
- 50 grams (about 1.8 ounces) of melted butter for brushing the strudel
For the Filling:
- 30 grams (about 1 ounce) of raisins (I use about 60 grams)
- 30 grams (about 1 ounce) of dark rum
- 130 grams (about 4.6 ounces) of breadcrumbs or biscuit crumbs
- 150 grams (about 5.3 ounces) of sugar
- 5 grams (about 0.18 ounces) of vanilla sugar
- 1.8 kilograms (about 4 pounds) of apples (preferably tart ones)
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 2 grams (about 0.07 ounces) of ground cinnamon
- Powdered sugar
- Whipped cream (I prefer vanilla ice cream)
Let’s Get Cooking:
Prepare the Dough: In a mixer with a dough hook attachment, combine the flour, sunflower oil, salt, and egg until the mixture is smooth (this takes about 4-5 minutes). Shape the dough into a ball, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate it for at least an hour.
For the Crumbs: I usually use breadcrumbs, but on the last occasion, I had leftover biscuit crumbs, so I used those. Breadcrumbs are my preference, but there’s not a significant difference. Place the bread or biscuit crumbs in a pan and put it over low heat. Add the melted butter, vanilla sugar, and 70 grams of sugar (if using biscuit crumbs, I don’t add sugar at this stage). Stir until the butter is melted. Set aside.
After an Hour: Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius (about 392 degrees Fahrenheit). Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll it out with a rolling pin as thinly as possible. Place a large kitchen towel on your work surface and dust it with flour. Lay the dough on the towel and, using your hands, gently stretch it as thin as you can. Ideally, you want to achieve a rectangle about 60 by 70 cm (approximately 24 by 28 inches). The dough should be almost transparent.
Assembly: Brush the entire surface of the dough with some of the melted butter. Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture evenly over the dough, leaving about 6 cm (approximately 2.4 inches) from the edges.
Add the Apples: Arrange the apple slices evenly over the breadcrumbs. Sprinkle the sugar-cinnamon mixture over the apples.
Roll It Up: Drain the raisins and distribute them haphazardly over the apples. Roll up the strudel as tightly as possible, tucking in the edges with the help of the kitchen towel to create a neat roll. (Note: The strudel in my photos is smaller than the one in the recipe. That time, I reduced the ingredient quantities, but I usually follow the original recipe, so keep this in mind.)
Baking: Transfer the strudel, seam side down, to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat. This can be a bit tricky because strudel is quite heavy, and the dough is delicate. It’s best to lift it onto the baking sheet with the help of the kitchen towel and then gently remove the towel.
Brush with Butter: Brush the remaining melted butter over the top of the strudel.
Baking Time: Bake in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes. It should turn golden but not overly brown.
Cool and Serve: Allow the strudel to cool, then cut it into 12 portions (although this is not crucial) and generously dust with powdered sugar before serving. Hermé recommends serving it with whipped cream, but in my opinion, there’s nothing better than apple strudel with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!
This apple strudel recipe might appear intricate, but with some patience and following the steps closely, you’ll create a delightful dessert that’s sure to impress. Enjoy your homemade apple strudel!