I dedicate this recipe in loving memory of, Gisela Spier, my landlady/adopted mom in Germany who treated me daily to coffee and cake. She used to make everything, including apple strudel, from scratch. I followed the outlines of the recipe on the lilvienna.com site, but, I doubled the recipe and used my technique to stretch the dough and adapted the ingredients to my taste.
I tried the recipe using toasted breadcrumbs as the base for the apple filling for one strudel and granulated tapioca (I use tapioca, in place of cornstarch, as a thickener in fruit-based desserts) as the base for the apple filling for the other strudel and found the tapioca filled strudel superior in both appearance and texture.
I have used the dough stretching technique that our children’s nanny, a Serbian refugee named Slobadanka, taught me almost two decades ago to make Bosnian Pita and Bureks. This technique works for making Uzbek Samsas too. It is MUCH easier than rolling out the dough with a rolling pin.
I like to use tart or sweet-tart apples that hold their shape when baked. I choose between Granny Smith, Gala, Fuji or Macintosh apples when making pies and tarts. When selecting apples, make sure they don’t have any wormholes, bruises or brown spots. They should feel firm when you squeeze them.
Prep time: 45 minutes
Bake time: 30 minutes
Yield: Two 14-inch long strudels. Each strudel will feed 8 people.
Fresh Phyllo DOugh
- 290 g or 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon vegetable oil (I use corn or canola oil)
- 2/3 cup lukewarm water
- 1 teaspoon lime juice
- 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
- 10 (About 10 cups cored, peeled, sliced) Granny Smith, Fuji, Gala or Macintosh apples
- 1/3 cup minute tapioca pearls, (granulated tapioca)
- 1 1/2-2 tablespoons cinnamon
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons white sugar
- 1/2 cup slivered almonds or blanched, thinly sliced whole almonds
- 1/2 cup raisins or chopped apricots soaked in either water or rum for 30 minutes or overnight and drained
- Juice of 1 lime or lemon
- 1/2-1 teaspoon salt – to keep sliced apples from browning
- 4-6 tablespoons of melted butter for brushing onto strudel before and after baking
1.Soak whole almonds in warm water, if using. Soak raisins or chopped apricots in the same container.
2. To a large mixing bowl add salt; oil; lime juice; and, warm water. Mix well to dissolve the salt.
ASIDE: I weighed the flour instead of measuring it. Although you can make it by measuring as well.
3. Add 1 cup of flour to the bowl and mix with a spoon.
4. Continue adding flour a few tablespoons at a time until the mixture just comes together. The dough will feel moist but not sticky. It should be easy to knead. You may not have to add the entire amount of flour.
5. Knead vigorously for 10 minutes. Slap dough back into the bowl aggressively a few times. This is a good way to de-stress and get a great work-out.
6. In the end, you should get a very soft, silky and smooth ball of dough. Shape the dough into an oval since you will need a rectangle shape when you stretch it.
7. Grease the bowl and cover the ball of dough with the oil. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature or on a tray in a cold oven for 1-2 hours.
8. Meanwhile, quarter, peel and core apples. Cut each apple quarter into 4 long pieces.
9. Sprinkle the apple slices with a little salt and lemon or lime juice.
10. Add the cinnamon and sugar.
11. Add the tapioca. Keep tossing new the slices as you go. You should get about 10 cups of apples.
12. Drain the raisins or apricots and add them to the apples.
13. Cut the soaked whole almonds and the peel will come off automatically. Otherwise, use slivered almonds and add to the apples.
14. At a small table or a kitchen island lay two large pieces of parchment slightly overlapping to make a rectangle of at least 24×34 inch. Even though I forgot to do it in this version, it is best to spread a smooth cotton tablecloth over the work surface to help you lift the dough when rolling it up. Dust the parchment and the surrounding counter lightly with flour. Set the baguette of dough in the center.
IMPORTANT: Remove all your rings, bracelets, watch, and roll up your sleeves as any of these may cause the dough to rip when you stretch it. If you have long fingernails SKIP Step 16 and go directly to Step 17.
15. Push the dough out from the center trying to keep the edges straight.
16. Slide your hands under the dough and fan out your fingers and gently pull the dough away from the center towards the edges to thin it out. I never lift the dough more than 2-inches off the work surface.
17. As the dough spreads and thins out don’t put your hands under it anymore because you might tear it. Instead, using the pads of your fingers, pinch the edge of the dough and gently pull it towards you to stretch it. Use this technique to stretch out the dough the rest of the way. Work in a clockwise fashion around the piece of dough. This is what Sloba taught me.
18. At this initial stage, you can use the parchment to rotate the dough as you work, but later, you will have to have access to it from all sides easily on the work surface.
19. This technique allows the part of the dough you are not working with to rest while you stretch out the other part. The resting allows the glutens to relax and keeps them from contracting thus tearing the dough when you stretch it.
20. Eventually, you’ll get a large rectangle of dough that is so paper-thin that it becomes transparent. It should be about 24×33 inch.
21. Using a sharp knife, cut the rectangle in half lengthwise to yield two 16×24 inch rectangles. Cut off any thick edges.
22. Ensure that you have a piece of parchment under each half to assist you in rolling up the dough after you lay down the filling.
23. Lay down the apples covering the top 2/3 of the dough evenly leaving a 1 to 1 1/2-inch border along the sides and the top. Leave the bottom third of the dough bare.
24. Fold the dough over the filling along each side. This will prevent the apple filling from leaking out. Finally, fold over the top edge before rolling into a log.
25. Roll up each rectangle into a log by lifting the piece of parchment under it and pulling it gently toward the bottom of the filled pastry. It’s like rolling up a burrito.
26. Using the parchment as a sling, guide each log of strudel onto a cookie sheet. Can you tell I love parchment paper?
27. Melt 2-3 tablespoons of butter and brush onto the logs of strudel before baking them in a preheated 375F oven. The butter will help the dough to brown.
28. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown on top.
29. Remove from oven and using the parchment as a sling, place on cooling racks. Melt the remaining butter and brush onto strudel immediately after baking. This helps soften the dough.
30. Let cool for 15 minutes before dusting with powdered sugar. Serve warm with a scoop of ice cream on the side.
Note: Replace the butter with oil or margarine to make it Vegan.
Written by Anju Kapur of Anju’s Table. All content and images on this site are copyright protected. Please do not use any of my images without my permission. Should you wish to share this recipe on your site, please add a link to this post as the source.