The Apple Strudel is a traditional Austrian dessert (apfelstrudel), but it’s also popular in many European countries that once belonged to the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Variations of the original recipe can be found also in Italy, mainly in Trentino-Alto Adige, Veneto and Friuli-Venezia Giulia.
My family from my mother’s side is from Trieste, the capital city of Friuli-Venezia Giulia. Here, the apple strudel is known as “strucolo de pomi” and is prepared with pastry rolled out as thin as paper. For the filling, the fruit is traditionally bulked out with breadcrumbs to soak up the juice of the apples.
I have learned how to make apple strudel using my grandmother’s recipe, which I am sharing with you today. The secrets to replicating my grandma’s delicious strucolo de pomi are always making the dough yourself (ready-made filo pastry just won’t cut it) and using different varieties of apples to get the perfect mix of sweet and sour.
For the dough:
• 250g plain flour
• A pinch of salt
• 2 tbsp sunflower oil
• 2 tbsp warm water
• 1 egg and 1 egg yolk
For the filling:
• 1 kg mixed apples
• 150g sugar
• ½ small lemon
• 100g breadcrumbs
• 60g unsalted butter
• 100g raisins
• 1-2 tbsp. rum or brandy
• 50g pine nuts
• 2 tbsp. cinnamon powder
• 1 egg yolk for brushing the strucolo
Peel and chop the apples into small pieces. Place them in a colander over a bowl and cover them with the sugar and lemon juice. Let them soak for a few hours to release water. Leave the raisins to soak in a small bowl with the liquor.
To prepare the dough, sift the flour on to a clean work surface. Add a pinch of salt and make a well in the middle. Pour in the oil, egg, egg yolk and two tablespoons of warm water. Mix the ingredients into a soft batter then knead with your fingers until you obtain smooth dough, not sticky in any way. Add flour or more water if necessary if too wet or too dry.
Wrap the dough in a clean table cloth and leave it for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Now prepare the filling. Fry the breadcrumbs in a large pan with butter for a few minutes. Add the cinnamon, apples, raisins and pine nuts into the pan with low heat and mix well.
Stretch out the dough into a rectangle (long and narrow) on top of a sheet of baking paper. Make the dough as thin as paper. Distribute the filling on the dough, leaving one centimetre out on each side.
Gently lift the edge of the paper and carefully roll the strudel, sealing the edges with your fingers. Transfer the baking paper with the strudel to the oven tray. Brush the strudel with one egg yolk (diluted with a tsp of water if necessary) and bake for 45 minutes.
Serve warm. Sift some icing sugar over the strudel just before serving.
Where will you taste Strucolo de Pomi this year?