LAST week on my trip to Vienna I tasted one of the most delightful legendary desserts — the apple strudel.
This was first identified in Germany, although it is and more often known an Austrian speciality and goes back a long time — at least to the 17th century.
There is an old hand strudel recipe in the Vienna library dating back to 1696.
The word strudel is a Germanic word for whirlpool. Apple is undoubtedly the most popular type of strudel out there and are lots of different kinds.
Like with many dishes, this is a fusion of different cultures. The pastry most often used is thin pastry that was most likely invented by the Turks although the Greeks often lay claim to it.
The idea of the thin dough came up through Turkey into Vienna during the late 15th century, very probably when Austria was attacked by the Ottoman.
The dough was really versatile and could be used to make a very cheap and satisfying dinner, with vegetables and scraps, by rolling it up into a jelly roll style much like the tuna pin wheels that were invented when times were tough in the United States, one of the most common foods in abundance were apples. So this is where this recipe began.
30 mls rum
3 tbsp raisins
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
30g brown sugar
350g fresh bread crumbs
120g chopped walnuts
2 lb of your choice of tart apples that hold their shape, cut into thick slices
1 pkt filo pastry
Memo — once the packet of pastry has been opened keep covered with a damp cloth
1. Mix the rum and raisins in a bowl and the cinnamon and sugar in another bowl, heat 3 tbsp butter in a pan and add the breadcrumbs and cook whilst stirring until golden and toasted, this will take about 3 minutes and then let it cool.
2. Pre-heat the oven at 400f/200c/gas 6. Line a large baking sheet with baking paper and brush with butter.
3. Put a cloth on a table sprinkle with flour add your first layer of pastry, melt 75g butter and brush each layer (the amount of layers is up to you but I recommend 6) with melted butter and then place the bread crumbs all over the last layer spread the walnuts in a line 15 cm wide strip at the edge of the filo pastry.
4. Mix the apples with the raisins including the rum and the cinnamon sugar and spread over the walnuts making sure the mixture is quite dry.
5. Fold the edge over and lift the floured cloth so the strudel rolls onto itself carry on rolling until its complete, transfer to a baking tray make a horseshoe shape so it fits on the baking tray brush with melted butter.
6 Bake the strudel for 30 minutes until it is a deep golden brown colour and cool for 30 minutes before serving,cut using a serrated knife.
Serve with fresh vanilla custard and a latte.