By Ippolita Douglas Scotti:
Today I need to make something sweet, so the gorgeous golden apples I just purchased at the market would go perfectly with the nuts, raisins, and cinnamon I had in the pantry.
I had to make a strudel!
This comforting puff pastry has its roots in the seventeenth century. The first handwritten recipe dates back in 1696 and was found in the town hall library in Vienna. However, strudel takes its inspiration from a multilayered pastry from the Ottoman Empire in Turkey: the baklava.
The puff pastry filled with apples and pine nuts that we know today gained popularity in the 18th century through the Habsburg Empire. The German word strudel means “whirlpool,” fitting because the original pastry was not oblong but twisted in the shape of a spiral.
This apple strudel recipe starts with puff pastry. You can make your own, but I think the frozen variety is equally good; you might as well save yourself the time and trouble.
Either way you’ll love this delicious autumn treat!
3 cups All Purpose Flour
¾ cup warm water
1 egg, room temperature, lightly beaten
½ cup canola oil
1 cup breadcrumbs
6 cups peeled and chopped apples
2 Tbs raisins
1 Tbs pine nuts
1 cup sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
3 Tbs (50 g) melted butter
Egg wash: (beat well)
1 large egg yolk
1 Tbs heavy cream
1 pinch sea salt
Confectioner's Sugar for dusting
Make the dough:
Place flour in a mixer bowl; beat in 1/4 cup oil (mixture will be slightly crumbly). In a small bowl, slowly whisk warm water into beaten egg; add to flour mixture, mixing well. Beat in remaining oil until smooth.
Transfer to a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top.
Cover and let rest in a warm place, about 30 minutes. Then roll it into a thin layer.
Make the filling:
Dice apples and drizzle with lemon juice to avoid oxidation.
In a medium saucepan, mix together diced apples, sugar, butter, pine nuts, raisins, cinnamon, and water. Cook this for about 7 minutes or until the mixture becomes a sauce and starts to thicken.
Once the apple filling is cooled, spread some breadcrumbs and then the filling on the middle third of the puff pastry and roll it, making little cuts with a knife on the top.
Brush the apple strudel with an egg wash and pop it into the oven for 35 minutes.
When it cools, dust it with confectioner’s sugar and serve with a dollop of vanilla ice cream.
Contessa Ippolita Douglas Scotti di Vigileno is a true Italian—born in Florence, Italy, from a long line of eccentric Italian aristocrats, she has traveled the world in search of adventure, romance, and magical, mouth-watering recipes. "Ippo" loves Italian history, especially as it relates to food. Author of There's a Beatle in My Soup, Curcuma e Zenzero (Ginger & Tumeric), 101 Perche Sulla Storia di Firenze (101 questions on Florence History), The Grimore, The Magic of the Moon, and Magic Herbs (all published by Newton Compton Publishers).