I have been trying to write this post for a while now but I always seem to be stuck on pizza for some reason. Well, actually pizzas are more fun to make and really delicious if you ask me but I guess it is a personal thing. Anyway, here it is, one of my favorite pastries though the list of my preferences in this case is not that long, I am more inclined to love store bought cakes and sweets instead of homemade ones. I know, weird but I have been like this since childhood and no matter how much I like baking things, I still go out every now and then and buy some decadent cake or who knows what other unhealthy thing. lol
OK a bit of history, apple strudel is a traditional Viennese strudel, a popular pastry in Austria and seems in many other countries in Europe though I only visited a few to be honest. Still, everybody is making it and the variations seem to be endless as far as shape and filling goes. The thing consists of an oblong strudel pastry jacket with an apple filling inside, made of grated cooking apples (usually of a tart, crisp, and aromatic variety such as Winesap apples), sugar, cinnamon, raisins, and bread crumbs. The dough is pretty simple, consists of flour, butter and salt but to actually make it from scratch is a pain which is why I went the easy way and I bought phyllo. lol
First step is getting the filling ready. Not a big deal though, start with apples, cored, peeled and sliced into as small pieces as you can, place them into a large pan/pot along with pineapple, sugar, water and salt and cook over medium to high heat for 30 to 35 minutes.
When you are ready to assemble your strudels start laying the phyllo one sheet at a time and gently brush each one with butter and sprinkle with some breadcrumb mixture over the entire surface. Repeat this procedure with 5 sheets. When you have those 5 sheets stacked, “swimming” in butter and breadcrumb mixture, add a row of apple filling the way you see it in my picture. Do not over-stuff or the strudel will burst when baking. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes and you are done.
You can use a wax paper underneath the phyllo to help a bit with rolling which I forgot, so roll it up jellyroll style and as you roll fold the sides inward to form sealed edges. It was somewhat difficult but I managed to get some nice strudels going at which point you place them on a buttered baking pan and brush them with butter again.
It was a success! You can even freeze the baked ones (tested!) but they need some time in the oven to heat up and get crisp again.
- 10 to 12 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into thin strips
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1 large can pineapple, drained and diced
- ¾ cup sugar
- pinch salt
- ½ cup finely chopped walnut
- 2 sticks unsalted butter
- 1 pound package phyllo dough
- Mixture of 1 large freshly ground cinnamon stick, ⅓ cup sugar and 1 cup plain breadcrumbs
- As you peel and dice the apples, sprinkle with lemon juice and mix frequently to prevent browning, or toss in iced water with some lemon juice.
- Place the apples into a large pot on the stove over medium-high heat. Add the pineapple, sugar, 1 cup water and salt. Cook until the moisture evaporates and consistency of the remaining fruit is thicker than preserves, 30 to 35 minutes. Stir often to prevent burning on the bottom. Cool, then stir in walnuts.
- Refrigerate the apple filling at least overnight. Filling will last in the refrigerator for up to a week in an airtight container.
- Preheat the oven to 350° F / 175° C.
- Melt the butter in the microwave.
- On a sheet of waxed paper, lay out the first layer of phyllo dough. (Dough dries out quickly, so keep other layers not in use covered with a damp cloth over a sheet of waxed paper.) Using a pastry brush, gently brush butter onto the entire sheet of dough. Sprinkle with the breadcrumb mixture over the entire surface. Repeat for an additional 4 layers so each roll has a total of 5 layers of phyllo dough.
- Using a spoon, add a row of apple filling an inch or two from the bottom of the dough. Do not over-stuff or the strudel will burst when baking. Lift the bottom edge of the waxed paper with both hands, each about a third of the way in from the outer edges to support the phyllo as you roll up the dough, jellyroll style. As you roll, fold the sides inwards to form sealed edges as you continue to the end. End with the seam-side down.
- Coat a baking pan with butter and place the first rolled dough onto the pan with the seam facing down. Then brush the roll all over with the butter/oil mixture.
- Repeat the steps above until you have filled the cookie pan with the rolls but keep at least a roll's width between each. Keep at least 2 to 3 inches between the rolls on the baking sheet to ensure even browning.
- Bake until golden brown, 40 to 45 minutes, depending on your oven. During baking, baste 4 to 5 times with butter.
- Cut into pieces while still hot so the crust won't break.