But did the Hungarians invent APPLE strudel?

Yes, reader Cole, it seems that they did. Apples were abundant in Hungary at the time of the Turkish invasion, and it’s not unlikely that thin Turkish doughs and apples were first combined in that area…though in truth it’s hard to know. Here I should point out that while apple strudel is popular in Hungary, several other flavors vie for supremacy there. Sour cherry strudel is a biggie (sour cherries were introduced by the Turks) , but Hungarians also enjoy cheese strudels, poppy seed strudels, cabbage strudels, vegetable strudels, potato, onion, nut, mushroom, rice…and there are probably many more that I’m leaving out!

12 thoughts on “But did the Hungarians invent APPLE strudel?”

  1. I had poppy seed strudel in New York city years ago (decades really), and have never forgotten it, nor figured out where it came from or a recipe. Is it just poppy seeds with a sweet binding of some sort? (I made your pound cake too and will be making another soon as it disappeared too quickly.)

      1. D’uh! I should have looked more thoroughly. Thanks for pointing me there. I’ll be “cooking” at around 2230º F first (clay glaze recipes) because I’m less intimidated by them than strudel. You may have gotten me into action. Silly, I know.

  2. My mother was from Hungary, and when I was little she would make strudel from scratch. She made apple, sour cherry, poppy, and walnut fillings, but my very favorite was cottage cheese.

    My recollection is that the stretching of the dough to the requisite thinness was time consuming, and frustratingly, the dough would tear often. My mother complained that somehow the flour we used was the culprit. She may well have been correct. In the early sixties in small town America, the only flour carried by typical grocery stores was the ubiquitous bleached, all-purpose kind.

    Needless to say, I am following your discussion on strudel with keen attention.

    1. Hi Briggita!

      It was the flour almost certainly. Lighter flours were all the rage back then, since home baking centered around cakes and pies for the most part. Hungarian wheat is of the harder variety, so it has the gluten that’s necessary for stretching. American wheats can be quite hard as well, though southern flours can be very, very soft. That reminds me to make a note in the recipe…since some all-purpose flours are a little too soft for this sort of thing.

      But I’ll do my best not to disappoint you! 😉

      – Joe

    1. Hey Chana!

      Yes, I think it would. The dough would be extra-stretchy, but then the pastry would be quite hard once it’s baked. Normal AP flour has plenty of gluten for this application.

      – Joe

  3. I always thought that apple strudel was made by the Germans that we’re in the alps of Italian, they are called tyroleans.

    1. They certainly are popular there, Maria! I don’t think any knows for certain where strudel was invented. From what I’ve read, the region that is now Hungary is a likely location, but it’s just a guess!

      Thanks Maria!

      – Joe

  4. Joe,
    My aunt taught me the “lost art” of stretching dough for strudel. In fact I had to keep all of the same baking utensils (measruing cup, metal bowl, etc.) because everything was done “by touch”. While surfing the net I found your recipe for dough, complete with accurate measurements! Goodie! I made the apples as per your recipe as well and was greatly surprised by how nice the dough was. Thi morning I’m making the cheese strudel. Thank you Joe! Yours is the recipe I will use from now on.

    1. Great news, Theresa! Very kind of you to check in with me on this. I’m glad it worked so well for you!

      – Joe

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