Saturday, September 29, 2012

Austrian Apple Strudel

Austrian Apple Strudel

I wasn't going to post this at first because I wasn't entirely happy with the results, but after my friend Martin Puhr had some kind words to say about this, I have been encouraged to post it after all.  He tells me his only complaint is that there isn't enough cinnamon in the filling...and I agree.

To be honest, I have never had genuine Austrian apple strudel.  From the references I have gleaned that it does not have a usual 'crust' and the aromatic filling is wrapped in many layers of very thin pastry.  You can either make this yourself, buy the ready made pastry if you are in Austria, or use phyllo as a substitute.

After looking at my primary reference and watching this video, where a master chef makes the pastry, I decided that I would opt for using phyllo pastry.  

Here is my adapted recipe in a smaller portion than the original.

Makes 25 cm Strudels x 2 

4 Cups (700g)+  Apples - around 4 green small ones
8 Phyllo Sheets
1.3 Tbsp (20 ml) Golden Rum
2 Tbsp (30ml) Golden Raisins
3 1/2 Tsp Cinnamon 
1/2 Cup  Sugar
150 g Butter  (for brushing the pastry)
1 Cup Bread Crumbs + 2 Tbsp butter
1/3 Cup or 50g Toasted  Coarsely Chopped Walnuts
Confectioner's Sugar (for sprinkling)

Step 1:  Melt your butter in the microwave and let it cool down.  I usually remove it before all the butter has melted and stir it so that the rest will melt.  Soak the raisins in the rum.

Step 2:  Core, peel and slice the apples in 3 mm or 1/8 inch slices, and then slice them again in two.  Put them in a bowl.

Step 3:  Mix the cinnamon and sugar in another bowl (keep 6 Tbsp of the cinnamon sugar separate) and mix the rest in with the apples and let it sit.  

Step 4:  Melt 2 Tbsp butter in a pan and toast the bread crumbs until golden brown.  Remove the phyllo pastry from the refrigerator so that it is at room temperature at this point.  Everything should be at room temperature before you start.

Step 6:  Put the rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat the oven to 400F (200C).

Step 7:  Put a baking sheet on top of a hard thin board that you can use to slide the strudels onto the oven tray.

Step 8: On a floured surface lay down the phyllo sheet making careful it does not rip, and paint it with butter, sprinkle some of the toasted buttery bread crumbs and place another sheet on top of it.  Repeat until you have a total of 4 layers.

Step 9:  You are going to roll these lengthwise now, so spread the walnuts in an area around 3 inches/8 cm from the short edge of the phyllo in a strip keeping in mind that you are going to roll this up.  

Step 10:  Drain the liquid from the apples.  Then pour the rum raisin mixture over the apples and toss.  Mix in as much bread crumbs as you can leaving a little bit to dust another 4 layers of phyllo.  Place this now moist but not soggy mixture over the walnuts.  Finish this off by sprinkling it with an extra 3 Tbsp cinnamon sugar.

Step 11:  Now roll this up, tucking in the edges, and place this on top of the cooking sheet that we prepared earlier.  Then brush it with butter before putting it in the oven.

Step 12:   Keep your eye on the strudel.  After 15 minutes or so you may want to move it to a lower rack and cover it with aluminum foil (let the foil float above it so that it's not really touching the strudel very much) if it is brown enough.  When you let it brown too much, it will look like a giant lumpia, rather than a strudel.  

Step 13:  Bake for around 30 minutes.  

Step 14: Cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing and sprinkle liberally with confectioner's sugar and serve!

Note: You may want to prepare the rum raisin mixture before hand and mix this in with the apple cinnamon sugar mixture to get rid of excess moisture hours before you start.   It's very important that the filling does not have excess moisture in it or it will ruin the texture of your strudel.  This recipe is still a work in progress and I will be revising it when I have another go at it.