- 100g (4 oz) plain flour
- 2 tbsp corn oil
- warm water to mix
- oil for brushing
- 50g (2 oz) butter
- 50g (2 oz) fresh white breadcrumbs
- 450g (1 lb) sharp apples, peeled and coarsely grated
- grated rind and juice of 1/2 lemon
- 50g (2 oz) sultanas
- 50g (2 oz) walnuts or almonds, chopped
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 50g (2 oz) caster sugar
- 25g (1 oz) butter, melted
- icing sugar for dredging
A strudel can be made with a sweet or savoury filling and one of the most popular is spiced apple, though a cherry filling is also a favourite. It requires practice to stretch tbe dough really wafer thin and it is much easier if you use oil instead of melted butter, which stiffens the dough as it cools. This Austrian feather-light pastry is rewarding to make and a delight to eat.
Sift the flour into a warm mixing bowl and make a well in the centre. Add 3 tablespoons warm water to the oil, mix together and stir into the flour. Work into a soft, but not sticky dough, adding a little more warm water if necessary. Knead well, then roll into a long sausage shape. Hold the ‘sausage’ by one end and bang it on a floured board. Repeat the lifting and banging process which will lengthen the sausage, for several minutes, holding it by alternate ends until little bubbles appear under the surface of the dough. Knead it into a ball and leave it to relax for 30 minutes under an inverted bowl. Meanwhile prepare the filling. Heat the butter and fry the breadcrumbs in it until crisp.
Mix the grated apples with the lemon rind. Spread a large clean teacloth on the table and flour it. Roll out the dough on the cloth as thin as possible into a rectangle. Brush the surface of the dough with warm oil to make it pliable. Place your hands, palms downwards under the dough and stretch it over your knuckles, working from the centre outwards until it is paper thin and the pattern of the cloth shows through. An Austrian would say ‘until you can read your love letters through it.
Trim off the uneven edges to give a neat rectangle. Sprinkle the dough with the fried breadcrumbs, the apples, sultanas and chopped nuts and the cinnamon mixed with the sugar.
Lift up the edge of the cloth nearest you and roll up the strüdel away from you. Seal the edge with water and seal the two ends. Using the cloth, roll the strüdel on to a greased baking sheet, join underneath. Bend into a horseshoe shape and brush with melted butter.Bake in a preheated moderately hot oven at 200°C/400°F, Gas Mark 6 for about 30 minutes or until crisp and golden. Dredge with icing sugar and serve sliced, hot or cold with Schlagsahne (In Germany and Austria this is served with gateau and desserts. Make like Chantilly Cream, then fold in a stiffy beaten egg white).