Viennese Apple Strudel

Makes: 8 – 10 slices

My mom and I used to have a Christmas tradition, when I was growing up in Northern Alberta, to watch “The Sound of Music” during Christmas break. I knew every word to every song… Last year, I watched it again with my kids and realized that although I had sang “My Favourite Things” many times, I had never made “crisp apple strudel”. So, I did last year and then I made it about another dozen times since. It has become a comfort food recipe as a dessert, but also for breakfast – and why not enjoy one of your favourite things to start the day off on a happy, healthy note??? I am also pairing it with a version of Stille Nacht, as my 17 YO felt it was such a great dessert, it needed to be revered as a holy dessert… not sure about that one.

Music Selection 1: Julie Andrews – My Favorite Things (Sound of Music)

Music Selection 2: Helene Fischer – Stille Nacht

Strudel Dough Ingredients:

1/3 cup lukewarm water

1 Tbsp plus ½ tsp vegetable oil (canola)

½ tsp vinegar

1/8 tsp salt

1 cup flour

Flour for dusting

Filling Ingredients

3 Tbsp butter

¾ cups fine bread crumbs

5 Tbsp sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

½ cup raisins

4 Tbsp spiced rum or cherry brandy (or water if you do not want to use alcohol)

6 medium apples (I like to use 3 or 4 different varieties: granny smith, gala, macintosh, fuji, etc)

Lemon juice to keep apples from browning

2 Tbsp butter for brushing top of dough (or alternatively, you can make an egg wash)

Granular sugar to sprinkle on top

Confectioners sugar to dust on top

Ice cream or whipping cream to serve with it

Dough Directions:

Mix the lukewarm water, oil, vinegar and salt in a bowl. Add in the flour and mix with hands until well combined. Knead for several minutes. The dough should be soft, but not sticky. Add a little flour if it is sticky or a little water if it is too dry. Then wrap in plastic wrap and let it sit for at least one hour (I sometimes will leave it overnight if making strudel for breakfast…) at room temperature.

Filling Directions:

Let the raisins sit in a bowl. Add the rum or brandy and let sit while preparing the filling.

In a pan, melt the butter. Add in the breadcrumbs and keep mixing them as they toast. They should become a golden brown. Let them cool. Then add the sugar and cinnamon. Mix well. Set aside.

Cut the apples in quarters. Peel and core them. Then using a good, sharp knife, slice the apples as thin as you can lengthwise so they are all long. Put in a bowl and toss with lemon juice.

Putting it all together:

Preheat the oven to 375 deg F.

Lightly flour a surface and roll out the dough. This is a bit of work as you want the dough to be paper thin so you can see through it (you should be able to read the newspaper through it).

Stretch the dough out. When very thin, carefully lift one half and slip under it a baking sheet that is lined with parchment paper. If you have a lip on the baking sheet, then just put the parchment paper and stretch the dough onto the parchment paper.

Then, spread the bread crumbs evenly over the dough, leaving about a ½ inch edge without bread crumbs. On the narrow end furthest from the parchment  paper, place the apples in a row, leaving about an inch edge. Sprinkle the raisins on top.

Fold the long edges of the dough, so it just covers the top inch of the row of apples. Then starting at the narrow end of the dough furthest from the parchment paper, start to tightly roll the strudel being careful not to make any tears. Roll until it is all on the parchment paper and the seam side is down. While rolling, keep tucking the sides of the dough inside.

When finished, brush it with some melted butter and sprinkle the granulated sugar on top. Place in oven and bake for 30 minutes.

Let cool for 10 minutes, then dust with confectioners sugar, slice in 8 – 10 slices and serve with ice cream or whipping cream (or for breakfast, you could serve it with some vanilla Greek yogurt).

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