11 Apr2011

Shortcut Apple Strudel

by Marketman

With all of Artisan’s puff pastry in the freezer, it was inevitable that at least one apple strudel would be attempted in the Marketman household. I have never been a huge fan of strudel’s, despite my love for apple pies, but maybe I haven’t had a REALLY GOOD STRUDEL yet. I did work briefly on a project in Vienna many eons ago, and over a few weeks or so I tried several pastry shops in the city, but I can’t recall any truly memorable strudels. A strudel pastry is not actually a puff pastry, but it does trace it’s roots back to say a Turkish baklava phyllo style pastry… So phyllo is often suggested as the alternative pastry to use. Phyllo results in a lighter, airier pastry but still not quite the original strudel as the Viennese might describe it. I suppose a puff pastry is a serious departure from the original, but this was shortcut morning and was pressed to make use of an abundance of puff…

I didn’t really use a recipe, so I won’t detail specific measurements here. I took say 3 small to medium sized granny smith apples and peeled, cored and sliced them thinly. Place the apples in a bowl, and toss with a couple of tablespoons of sugar (or more), some salt, cinnamon, golden raisins, a bit of flour. I was tempted to heat this for a few minutes on top of the stove just to melt the sugar and mix up the juices, but we were in shortcut mode so I didn’t bother. I regretted this later.

I briefly thawed a sheet of puff pastry, rolled it out a bit more with a wooden rolling pin. I spread the apple mixture on about one half of the dough, with the width of the pastry facing me, not the length of the pastry. Leave about an inch of pastry clear around the edges. Brush the edges with egg wash and carefully roll up the pastry from the edge nearest you, and make sure the seam is under the rolled pastry and sitting on the pan. Tuck in the edges so the apples don’t ooze out. Use a silpat mat or baking paper to line your pan. Brush the surface of the roll with egg and place in a hot oven for say 30-40 minutes or until it gets a nice golden brown color.

Let the strudel cool and serve sprinkled with powdered sugar if desired. Vanilla ice cream or some whipped cream would be nice. As you can see from these photos, it looked pretty good, but the apples weren’t quite cooked enough. And the pastry, while good, wasn’t the texture that a hard core strudel might possess. I’m not sure if it’s the odd ratio of filling to pastry that makes this less appealing for me than say an apple pie, but I haven’t made this in at least ten years and it’s not likely I will do so for another ten more… :(



  1. Janlo says:

    Oooh, i want to try to make a strudel but will have to put that on hold until I get a new oven. In the meantime, can you suggest a place where I can buy really good apple pie?

    Apr 11, 2011 | 10:44 am


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  3. Clarissa says:

    After reading this, I looked up the definition of strudel since I always associated strudel to be something like an open-faced pie, which it isn’t! I’ve been miscontrued by the labels of items on famous bakery chains. :)

    This looks good, too bad it doesn’t taste good. Lesson learned in every failed recipe :)

    Apr 11, 2011 | 10:55 am

  4. James says:

    The lack of good taste came with the raisins! I know it to be true!

    Actually, I’m just not a fan of raisins in things. I like them raw. People put them in empinada here. Bleh!

    Try an open-face pastry next time … with apples and lots of yummy brown pure cane sugar and cinnamon. Stew all of them together and just slap onto a piece of flat puff pastry. Turn the pastry edges in and bake until golden brown and delicious.

    Apr 11, 2011 | 1:07 pm

  5. Mimi says:

    Maybe a liberal splash of Calvados would doctor it up?

    Apr 11, 2011 | 2:29 pm

  6. present tense says:

    In cooking school while making apple strudel, chef said to make the pastry dough so thin that you could read newspaper print. Then we calibrate with lemon to get desired taste. Eggwashed after. Puff is also good for napoleons. We use sugar mainly to draw out the juices.

    Apr 11, 2011 | 8:10 pm

  7. present tense says:

    In cooking school while making apple strudel, chef said to make the pastry dough so thin that you could read newspaper print. Then we calibrate with lemon to get desired taste. Eggwashed after. Puff is also good for napoleons. We use sugar mainly to draw out the juices.

    Apr 11, 2011 | 8:10 pm

  8. Footloose says:

    The first cookbook I bought was Time-Life’s The Cooking of Vienna’s Empire in 1968 that includes a detailed account of apfelstrudel production which was assigned only to advanced bakers at Demel’s. The article mentions the requirements of a superior apple strudel: steady hands and cool concentration, high-gluten flour and once baked, it has to be consumed before the butter congeals after which time, they say, it would have tasted stale. The article did not recommend the type of apple for filling but enumerated instead the variety of fillings they use. The long list includes sweetened cabbage, baker’s cheese and sautéed mushrooms. Aside from its romantic appeal and the ornate setting where they serve it (if you’re in Vienna) I too would rather have a slice of apple pie any time.

    Apr 11, 2011 | 9:02 pm

  9. tonceq says:

    hmmm…. might really be the ratio of the apples, but if you’d really want that many apples then I concur with your initial idea of heating those up in pan with some butter as I usually do for apple pies! maybe just limit the amount of butter so it’s not too soggy? though I’m not sure if butter is originally included in strudel’s list of ingredients. :)

    Apr 12, 2011 | 12:38 am

  10. present tense says:

    I don’t think there is a secret to apple strudel. We did have some flaked almonds along with the apple but that is generic. You really need to roll the puff really thinly. And I mean really thinly. Roll it. And stretch it. Until it thins out. Until you can actually read newspaper print through it. Then put in the cooked apples, roll, some eggwash, then bake. The pastry needs to be rolled really thinly. It’s not a secret – but that is apple strudel

    Apr 15, 2011 | 3:54 pm

  11. Dragon says:

    @ Clarissa – maybe you meant streusel??

    I did apple strudel once using filo sheets. With only 3 people in the house, the finished product was HUGE – could have fed 12 people easily. Not a big fan but I figured since my daughter loves my Dutch apple pie, she would enjoy the strudel. NOT!

    Apr 17, 2011 | 1:01 pm


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