Strudel is probably my favorite dessert made out of apples. This is a traditional dessert from northern Italy, Germany and Austria. Easy to make, strudel is a dough or pastry with an apple filling.
Now, let’s clear out one important thing right at the beginning. Being a traditional dessert for a very large European area, there are many different ways of making strudel. Some use puff pastry, some phyllo dough, others still shortcrust pastry. Some add pine seeds and raisins, some don’t. So this is my version of it, one that I’ve made tens if not hundreds of times, that has never failed me and that all of my guests have always loved.
Here in Finland they sell puff pastry in rather small rectangular shapes, so I had to adapt a bit the recipe as in Italy puff pastry is sold in either big rectangular or in round shapes. So, depending on how puff pastry is sold in the country where you live, you’ll either get either 4 smaller strudels or 2 bigger ones.
A couple of notes on the recipe. Traditionally Strudel calls for pine nuts, but they’re quite expensive almost everywhere in the world and so I’ve often substituted them with sunflower seeds, which work very well in giving a nice crunchy structure to the dessert. As with my chocolate chip cookies, my version of the strudel has an ace up its sleeve, aka the lemon zest, which gives a wonderfully fresh flavor and bonds all the ingredients together very well.
Do not shy away when baking strudel! It might look like you’re making a lot, but I guarantee this dessert is eaten very fast, so you won’t regret making a lot of it!
Apple Strudel with a Twist
- Puff pastry 8 small sheets or 2 big sheets of rectangular shape
- 500 g of apple
- 50 g raisins or dark chocolate
- 2 tablespoons breadcrumbs
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 30 g butter
- Half a lemon juice
- Peel of a half lemon
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 30 g of pine or sunflower seeds
- 1 yolk
- Powdered sugar to taste
- If you decide to use raisins, soak them in water for at least 15 minutes. If you prefer to use chocolate, cut it into small cubes.
- Meanwhile, melt the butter in a pan, pour in the breadcrumbs and brown them for a couple of minutes on high heat, stirring often.
- Roast the pine or sunflower seeds briefly in another pan as well.
- Peel the apples, cut them into four parts, remove the peel and cut into thin slices. Transfer the slices to a bowl, and add the grated lemon zest and lemon juice.
- Add pine or sunflower seeds, soaked and drained raisins or dark chocolate, brown sugar and cinnamon. Mix well.
- If your puff pastry is sold in thick rectangles, flatten the sheets with a rolling pin to double its size.
- Gently sprinkle the breadcrumbs on the bottom layer, leaving an inch free from the edges. Pour the apples evenly over the four puff pastry sheets or on half of each big sheet and seal them with the remaining four sheets or the other half of the sheet.
- Fold the side edges and seal them well by moistening with water to allow them to adhere and prevent the mixture from leaking.
- Beat the yolk and brush the surfaces. Make an incision on the surface of the strudel.
- Bake in a ventilated oven at 180 ° for about 25 minutes at the bottom of the oven. Take the strudel out of the oven, allow to cool and then sprinkle the surface with icing sugar to taste.