In our house it’s often strudel time. My mother, my sister and even my nephew have always been very proficient in strudel making, an art that is well established in my home region, South Tyrol. With the apple season upon us, a few constantly hungry boys in the house and my strong conviction that strudel-making should be part of my skill-set, I thought it was time to dive into this very traditional dish and tell you more about apple strudels. Come and cook with us!
For starters, apples are very good for us. Apples are rich in vitamin C, packed with soluble fiber and one of the top sources of polyphenolic antioxidant compounds, including quercetin, which are all known to be cancer inhibiting. Most of these nutrients are in the peel, which is why we try to eat apples unpeeled. This makes it even more important to choose organically grown varieties, as apples are at the top of the Environmental Working Group’s “Dirty Dozen” list of pesticide-ridden produce. Please keep this in mind when you shop for apples next time and remember to peel them if they are not organic as it’s probably better to have a few less antioxidants if they come with a (un)healthy dose of pesticides.
There are at least three different doughs that we use to make strudel: a Mürbteig (i.e., shortcrust), a Blätterteig (i.e., puff pastry) or a Ziehteig. This last one is viewed as the “poor people’s” dough, as it is made of flour, an egg, a little oil and some water. The name stands for “stretchy dough” because you stretch the dough as thinly as you can, thus providing not much more than a thin wrap around the apple filling. The lack of butter makes this type of strudel less rich and as such it becomes something that I serve more frequently than any of the other types. You can play with the amount of sugar you add, keeping in mind that the apples will caramelize, thus creating a sweetness of their own. Furthermore, while we eat the strudel plain, my family here in the U.S. likes to pair it with a little vanilla ice cream or even a dollop of lightly whipped cream. Either way, it is delicious.
My recipe describes the stretching, rolling and transferring of the pre-baked strudel-noodle in much detail, but please ask away if you want to know more. It really isn’t that complicated and can be assembled, prepared and baked in a relatively short time. Give it a try! Come and cook with us!