I bet you had no idea I’m part German. I used to think that’s where my love of apple strudel came from. But truth-be-told, strudel is not actually German. This iconic pastry is most often associated with Austrian cuisine and can be traced all the way back to the 17th century. The first handwritten recipe for a milk strudel dates back to 1696. Although the dessert is now considered a proud patriot of Austria, and formerly of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, many believe it is likely a cultural collaboration, as the thin layers are reminiscent of many Turkish pastry recipes, including Baklava.
This is my frosted apple strudel recipe and it’s the perfect recipe for fall. A strudel is a type of sweet (or savory) layered pastry with a filling inside. The history of strudel dates back for hundreds of years, and was considered an easy, yet satisfying, meal for the poor. The name “strudel” itself comes from the German word for “whirlpool” or “eddy“, a reference to the rolled version of the pastry that looks like the inside of a whirlpool.
While Turkish Baklava may have laid the foundation for strudels creation, gradually strudels with all types of sweet and savory fillings were created. Other popular strudel flavors enjoyed around the globe are; almond, semolina, rice, quark, poppy seed, nut, cherry, pear, apricot, beef, ham, mushroom, cabbage, and cinnamon.
Strudel vs. Streusel:
Strudel and streusel often get confused, but they shouldn’t, so let’s clarify the difference once and for all. A strudel has thin sheets of pastry wrapped around the filling, while streusel has a crumbly sweet topping of sugar, flour, and butter that is often layered over pies and cakes.
Some believe strudel (of any variety) is best enjoyed in the traditional surroundings of a Viennese coffee house, accompanied by a large dollop of homemade whipped cream or creamy vanilla custard as well as a strong cup of espresso. But in the states, we often eat strudel for breakfast or brunch, with a drizzle of frosting and coffee, but no need to limit yourself it’s a worthy treat any time of day. With apple season upon us, this is the sweet treat you should be baking this weekend. And if you skip making homemade puff-pastry, as I do in this recipe, it won’t take you all day to do it.
- For the Apple Strudel:
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 6 small or 4 large pink lady or any variety of tart apples, peeled, cored and sliced into 1/2-inch thick slice
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4-1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 sheet store-bought puff pastry, thawed per package instructions
- 1 egg, beaten and mixed with 1 tablespoon, for egg wash
- 1/2 tablespoon coarse sugar
- For the Glaze:
- 1/3 cup confectioners' sugar
- 1/2 tablespoon milk
- Step 1 For the Strudel: Place a large sauté pan over high heat. Add the butter and when melted add the sliced apples, sugar and cinnamon and stir to coat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until apples begin to soften, about 6-8 minutes. Transfer the cooked apples to a plate and allow to cool.
- Step 2 Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set near your work station. Place the thawed pastry on the prepared baking sheet.
- Step 3 Place the apple filling down the center of the pastry, keeping it in the middle third and leaving 1-inch of space at the top and bottom of the pastry.
- Step 4 Trim away the top corners from the left and right thirds of the. Cut 8 equal 1-inch strips along each side, leaving 1/2-inch of space from the apples. Cut away excess dough at the bottom corners as you did on the top.
- Step 5 Fold down the top flap of dough and pinch the corners down to seal. Fold in the side strips, alternating from left to right in a braided fashion. Next, fold up the bottom flap, pinching the corners to seal then finish folding in the last 2 side strips, pinching the corners to seal.
- Step 6 Lightly brush with egg wash, sprinkle with coarse sugar. Place in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, rotating once or twice during the baking process. Bake until the top is golden brown.
- Step 7 For the Glaze: In a small bowl add the confectioners’ sugar and milk, mix to blend. Once the apple danish has cooled, using a teaspoon, drizzle with glaze in a zigzag motion from top to bottom.
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