Apple strudel is popular all over Eastern Europe, and traditionally uses a wafer-thin pastry that is painstakingly made from scratch. Apparently this pastry originated in the Middle East and was brought to Europe in the Ottoman invasions of the 15th century. The quickest way to make strudel these days outside of Europe is with bought puff pastry or filo pastry. We tested strudel made from both, and the results were so good we couldn’t make up our mind which one was better.
Here’s the filo variety. Serves 8-10.
- 20 sheets of filo pastry (thick variety is best)
- 175g (6 ounces) melted unsalted butter
- icing sugar to sprinkle
- 1kg (2 pounds) tart green apples
- juice of 1 lemon
- 4 tablespoons sugar
- 100g (4 oz) walnuts, coarsely chopped
- 1 cup golden raisins
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
- 75g (3 oz) ground almonds, or dry fine breadcrumbs
Preheat the oven to 180° C / 350° F.
Peel, core and finely chop or dice the apples. Immediately mix with the lemon juice to avoid discolouration. Mix in the rest of the filling ingredients.
Divide the filling into four. Open the packet of filo pastry just before using. Unroll the sheets and leave them in a pile.
Brush the top one lightly with melted butter and put it to one side. Brush 4 more with melted butter and put them on top. Put one quarter of the filling in a line along one long edge, about 6cm (2½ inches) from the edge and 2cm (¾-inch) from the sides.
Lift the edge up over the filling and roll up, not too tightly, tucking in the sides half- way so the filling does not fall out. Lift the roll and carefully place on a buttered baking dish or tray, seam side down. Brush the surface with butter. Repeat for the other 3 strudel rolls.
Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy. Remove from the oven, cool slightly, and dust with icing sugar.
Serve the strudel warm or at room temperature, cut into slices.