Stepping out of my front door this morning, I was hit with a blast of crisp morning air and blinded by rays of golden sunlight beaming through bare tree branches as a heap of crunchy, reddish-brown leaves lay waiting to greet me on the pavement. Autumn is well and truly upon us! Just in time for the change in season, the seventh post in my Eat Like a Local guest post series takes the form of a traditional Austrian Apfelstrudel recipe from fellow blogger, Helene of Masala Herb.
This typical Austrian dessert dish is perfect for fall feasting and as Helene was trained “military-style” in how to prepare apfelstrudel at Austrian culinary school, she’s a bit of an expert! Read on to discover more about Helene and her trusted apfelstrudel recipe.
Helene D’Souza – Austria
- Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m Helene from MasalaHerb.com. I am originally Austrian and for most of the year, I live in Goa, India. My husband lives here and the weather is rather pleasant.
Masala Herb is about food and travel because I love to eat good food. I enjoy travelling; seeing and experiencing this world is my life mojo. I have a thing for spices, herbs and ingredients in general, so I tend to go all nerdy when I travel and discover a new food.
Hence the name, Masala Herb. My husband actually came up with the name and it works. It reflects my global point of view, my love for spices and herb combinations in cooking, and us. My cooking always includes spices and herbs, and it’s from a global perspective. Currently, I am a full-time blogger – that’s my work and I love it.
- When did you begin blogging, and why did you decide to start a blog?
I started Masala Herb in 2011 because I was discovering unusual ingredients and foods, so I just had to share it with the world. The travel section was added later on, over the years.
- What’s the best experience you’ve had as a blogger?
The best part of being a blogger is when you get to chat and exchange ideas with like-minded people, whether that be other bloggers, readers or experts in a field. I still get excited about each and every piece of feedback, because it tells me that people are paying attention to what I write and that they are engaged – not just mindlessly visiting my website, which I have put a lot of hours of work into.
- What advice would you give to new bloggers who are just starting out?
Focus on your work, your passion and what you want to gift the world. Think about how you can enrich the internet and how you can add value. As a blogger, you take a lot of responsibility on and people may trust you. You don’t want to throw that away just to make a quick buck. Think long-term; think beyond yourself.
Austrian apfelstrudel recipe
If you’ve seen the movie Inglourious Basterds, then you’ll remember a scene in which the SS officer (played by an Austrian) enjoys a proper apfelstrudel with whipped cream. This movie has now popularised apfelstrudel all over the world. ‘Apfel’ means ‘apple’ and ‘strudel’ is simply the name of the pastry, but it also means ‘swirl’.
A truly authentic apfelstrudel recipe can only be prepared with real strudel dough. A strudel dough is a very thin, flexible dough variety which is wrapped around the apple cinnamon breadcrumb filling. This is the trickiest dough in the world, because the dough has to carry a heavy filling but you could eventually read a newspaper through the thinly rolled and stretched out dough.
In Austrian culinary school, you prepare countless strudel varieties besides apple strudel and everyone has to learn how to prepare a perfect strudel. It’s a life philosophy there. My apfelstrudel recipe is therefore from the culinary school I attended in the region of Salzburg. As it is so complicated and we were trained military-style to prepare an apfelstrudel, I can honestly say that it fills me with joy to be able to prepare this amazing, stuffed thin-layered pastry.
Apfelstrudel recipes prepared with puff pastry have become the norm, but once you have tried it with genuine homemade strudel dough, you won’t want to go back to the puff pastry strudel!
Today, I’m sharing my apfelstrudel filling recipe and I’ll leave it up to you to decide whether to use strudel, phyllo/filo or puff pastry dough. You can read up on all the various dough options in my post on strudel dough.
Strudel pastry is a remnant from the Austrian empire which included Austria, South Tyrol (Italy), Hungary, Czech, Slovakia, Slovenia and the Yugoslavian territory. The strudel became popular in Germany and Switzerland as well; however, the strudel is not German but rather Austro-Hungarian. Besides apfelstrudel, strudel can also be stuffed with other fillings such as topfen (fresh curd cheese) or sauerkraut to make it savoury.
- 250 g Strudel dough, puff pastry dough or phyllo/filo dough
- 700 g large apples
- 1 lemon juiced
- 130 g breadcrumbs
- 100 g butter 45g for frying the breadcrumbs, 45g to grease the stretched-out dough and approx. 10g to spread over the unbaked strudel
- 1 handful raisins
- pinch cinnamon powder
- pinch granulated sugar
- 1 tbsp icing sugar
- 150 g whipped cream
Peel the apples and discard the cores.
Cut the apples into smaller slices, place into a bowl and pour the juice of one lemon over them so they don’t turn brown.
To prepare the filling, heat up a saucepan and add the breadcrumbs and butter (use only half of the butter; the other half is for use in greasing the stretched-out dough later on) and stir-fry until the mixture has turned golden brown. Set aside.
Preheat your oven to 200 Celsius/ 400 Fahrenheit.
Roll out the dough to a square shape. If you are using strudel dough, roll it out to the max.
Spread the fried breadcrumb and butter mixture over two-thirds of the stretched-out open dough, and spread melted butter over the remaining one-third. Place the apple pieces on top of the breadcrumb filling and add a handful of raisins, a dusting of cinnamon powder and a pinch of icing sugar.
Fold the sides over the filling so that it can't fall out, then gently roll the strudel up.
Place the strudel on an oven rack and spread melted butter all over it. Bake for 25-35 minutes (dependent on the size), until a deep golden brown in colour.
Serve with icing sugar and whipped cream.
Do you like the look of Helene’s apfelstrudel recipe? What’s your favourite autumnal dessert? Let me know your ideas in the comment box below.