There’s a reason strudel has been consistently popular all over continental Europe for more than three hundred years: it’s pure, delicious comfort. It’s also fun to make, even when you count in the intimidation factor. The fear keeps you focused like a laser, and makes the exhilaration of baking up your completed roll tat much sweeter. Even more so than with a “fancy pastry”, you walk away from the strudel baking experience with a swagger. Oh yeah — baker in the house!
There are as many apfelstrudel recipes as there are grannies in Austria, Germany and the Balkans. This one is representative of the tradition, but feel free to improvise a bit if you so desire.
For the Filling
This filling is best made the day before your strudel so you have it on-hand once the dough is stretched and waiting.
5 pounds apples, gala or golden delicious, peeled, halved, cored and sliced into wedges
2 ounces (4 tablespoons) lemon juice
2 ounces (2/3 cup) raisins or black currants
4 tablespoons rum (optional)
3 ounces (6 tablespoons) butter
5.25 ounces (3/4 cup) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons lemon zest
2 ounces (generous 1/2 cup) chopped, toasted almonds or walnuts