A strudel is a type of sweet layered pastry with a filling
inside, often served with cream. It became well known and gained popularity in
the 18th century through the Habsburg Empire.
Left: Slices of Apfelstrudel.
Strudel is most often associated with the Austrian cuisine, but is also a
traditional pastry in the whole area formerly belonging to the Austro-Hungarian
Austrian cuisine was formed and influenced by the cuisines of many different
peoples (Turkish, Swiss, Alsacian, French, Dutch, Italian, German,
Bohemian-Moravian, Hungarian, Polish, Croatian, Slovenian, Slovakian, Serbian,
and Jewish cuisines) during the many centuries of the Austrian Habsburg Empire's
expansion. Strudel is related to the Ottoman Empire's pastry
and came to Austria via Turkish to Hungarian and than Hungarian to Austrian
"Strudel," a German word, derives from the Middle High German
word for "whirlpool" or "eddy".
Left: Home made old fashioned
Apfelstrudel in the oven, rolled up and filled with apple filling.
Apple strudel consists of an oblong strudel pastry jacket
with an apple filling inside. The filling is made of grated apples,
sugar, cinnamon, raisins, and bread crumbs. A juicy apple strudel should
be baked with good cooking apples that are tart, crisp, and aromatic. According
to the famous chef Karl Gundel (1883 – 1956), for apple strudel, winesap apples
are the best.
The dough consists of flour, oil (or butter) and salt.
The secret of apple strudel dough preparation is in making the pastry very
thin and elastic. Preparing of the original strudel dough is a
difficult process that appears complex. The dough is kneaded by flogging often
against a table top to align the starch molecules but if it appears to be thick
and chuncky you must throw that dough away and make some new kind, rested, then
rolled out on a big table, so it should cover the whole table, and then
stretched by hand on a floured tablecloth. It is best to use a rolling pin. The
dough should be very thin, and holes are mended if any occurs. When the dough is
finally stretched out, an old fashioned apple strudel dough is very large, and
often may reach the size of a bedsheet. A single layer should be so thin
that one could read a newspaper through it.
Apple juice can be added to the pastry dough instead of water, and the dough may
be substituted using frozen phyllo dough. Vanilla and rum may be used to add
flavour to the filling and light flavoured olive, or other oil may be used
instead for butter or lard. Other less usual ingredients may include zest, lemon
juice, and nuts (preferably ground walnuts, slivered almonds, or in Italy, in
Trentino Alto Adige, pine nuts).
Before baking, it is best to sprinkle brown sugar and cinnamon over the top
coated with either butter or olive oil. The rolled-up and filled apple strudel
is baked in a pan in the oven. The apple strudel is sliced and traditionally is
served warm, often sprinkled with powdered sugar.
Left: Strudel baked in the oven.
Toppings of vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, custard, or
vanilla sauce are popular in many countries. If the strudel is cooked
right, you won't need any toppings.
Apple strudel can be accompanied by tea, coffee or even champagne. Viennese
café is a typical institution of Vienna that has a long tradition in Austria and
plays an important role in Viennese culture and culinary tradition. The one of
the most common treats in a Viennese coffeehouse is Apfelstrudel with coffee or