Apple Strudel is a staple for any Oktoberfest celebration. Apple is the most popular of the strudels and probably originated from the Greek dessert “ Baklava “. The Hungarians and Viennese perfected the strudels. Strudels are made with several layers of paper thin dough called “ phyllo “.( Actually it would take 5 or 6 sheets of phyllo dough to be as thick as a piece of paper. ) First you will need to know how to work with this ultra-thin dough. Phyllo dough will be frozen at the grocery store. You will want to let it thaw in the refrigerator for 8 hours before you attempt to use it. If you cannot wait this long, leave it set out on the table, still in the box for one hour without touching it. Once the dough is thawed you can take it out of its packaging and gently unroll it (The dough is very fragile at this point.) At this time have a moist towel ready to keep over the dough to keep the air from drying it out.
The technique is to simply lay out a sheet of phyllo dough and brush it with melted butter, then lay another sheet next to it, barely overlapping ( about 2 “ overlap ). After brushing this second sheet with butter take another sheet and place it below the first sheet, barely overlapping, brush with butter and finally lay the fourth sheet next to the third and brush it. Now you should have the foundation of 4 sheets that form a square. Now simply repeat this by putting the 5th sheet on top of the 1st one, brushing with butter and so forth. Repeat this procedure until you have 12 layers (that’s right, it will be 48 sheets). Then put your filling in the dough about 1/3 way up and roll into a strudel. Brush the top with butter and bake at 350 for about 40 minutes in a conventional oven or at 325 for 30 – 40 minutes in a convection oven.
Now that you know the techniques, I will share my recipe. As with most baking dishes the technique is as important as the recipe.
3 Granny Smith Apples 9 peeled and sliced into thin slices.
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 pound pkg. of phyllo dough
1 pound of lightly salted sweet cream butter (2 T cubed and softened, the rest melted for brushing phyllo dough
½ cup crushed shortbread cookies
1 cup brown sugar
2 teas. Cinnamon
Zest from 1 lemon
Juice from 1 lemon
** Blend these ingredients except for the phyllo dough and the melted butter to make the apple filling.
Assemble the strudel as directed
** After baking let cool and top with strudel frosting, made with 2 cups confectioner’s powder sugar and 3T. Milk. ** A neat way to use this frosting is to stick a French whip into it and then let it drip onto the strudel, by swirling and striping to make it look festive. You’ll be an expert in a few swirls.
This wonderful dessert can be served slightly warm with a very small dish of vanilla ice cream.