Austrian Apfelstrudel

One of the most famous Austrian recipes is the Apfelstrudel. I am talking about the authentic one, not the versions with Filo or Puff pastry (these are certainly very good versions but can not be called Apfelstrudel). The Strudel dough is a very particular dough that needs to be stretched by hand. A well made Apfelstrudel is the pride of Austrian women!

The dough itself is very easily made, but longer to be stretched. An old Austrian woman who taught me and my sisters how to make it used to say that the dough needs to be so thinly stretched that you should be able to read through its surface.

I’ll add immediately that I can not keep up with the wonderful Austrian women, who can stretch the dough so thin that it covers whole tables! This is a true art that is only achieved through years of practice !!

Recipe Apfelstrudel

  • 250g flour
  • 125ml warm water
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 60g melted butter 
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • butter for the baking
  • For the filling
  • 10 big apples (preferably tart apples rather than sweet ones)
  • butter
  • breadcrumbs
  • sugar (only if you use tart apples, e.g. Braeburn or Cooking apples, Golden Delicious for example doesn’t need it)
  • cinnamon
  • raisins (if wanted)

Let’s start with the filling. I always prepare the filling on the day before so that it is cool when I need it. Peel, core and slice the apples thinly. In a frying pan melt some butter, add the sliced apples, some breadcrumbs, sugar (if needed), cinnamon and raisins (if wanted). Cook for a couple of minutes but not to long, the apples need to be still crunchy.

As you can see I have not added quantities for the seasoning here. It is up to you how much of each you use, you can try as you cook. Put the filling into a bowl and place into the fridge until it is needed.

For the strudel dough, mix the flour with the warm water and the sunflower oil in a bowl. Roll the dough into a ball and place a warm pan over it for about an hour.

Place the strudel onto a very big work surface that has been covered by an old tablecloth. Start rolling the dough out with a rolling pin but eventually you will have to continue manually by stretching the dough carefully with the back of your hands (please take your rings and watch off). The dough needs to cover more and more surface the more you stretch it.

The old lady who showed me how to do apple strudel, told me it needs to be so thin as to be able to read a newspaper through it. It’s a matter of training!

Spread melted butter on the stretched piece of dough and sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Place the filling onto the lower part of the dough in one long heap.

Role with the help of the tablecloth into a sausage and onto a baking tray and tuck the ends of the dough under.

Pour melted butter over the strudel and put into the oven, preheated to 170C, until golden brown.

Serve warm with either ice, vanilla or whipping cream.

TIP You might want to train with smaller bits of dough, making for example 2 or 3 smaller Strudel with the same amount of dough.

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