Apple Strudel

photoThis is a very traditional recipe that I have used for many years. The dough has to be quite soft so that it will stretch well when you roll it. I provide detailed descriptions of each step but don’t be discouraged if it all sounds too complicated. It isn’t. In fact, it’s actually quite easy once you have the routine down. This dough can also be used for savory strudels filled with vegetables instead of apples. See where your inspiration will lead you and let us know what you think.

1 1/2 cups regular flour
1/2 whole wheat flour
1 egg
1 pinch of salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
approx. 1/4 to 1/2 cup water
4 lbs apples (Gravensteiner are the preferred variety, but any sour apples such as Granny Smith work well)
1/2 cup bread crumbs
4 tablespoons butter
Up to 1/2 cup brown sugar, but I usually use about 2 tablespoons
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Lemon zest of 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup pine nuts

Preheat the oven to 420º F.
Sift flour onto work space.
Mix in egg, salt and oil with one hand and slowly add water until the dough reaches a soft consistency.
Thoroughly knead dough using both hands until it is smooth and supple.
Form into a ball, lightly oil its surface and let rest for 30 minutes at room temperature.
In the meantime, wash and roughly peel the apples (I try to keep at least half of the peel on to benefit from the nutrients in the skin), quarter, core and slice thinly.
Take half of the dough and roll out thinly on floury clean kitchen towel. Lift the dough with your hands and carefully stretch it from the center to the outside in a circular motion using the back of your hands only until it is paper-thin but does not tear.
Return dough to the towel and sprinkle with approx. 1 tablespoon of butter pieces.
Using the 2/3 of the dough length-wise, spread half of the bread crumbs, the apples, the sugar, cinnamon, lemon zest, raisins and pine nuts.
Starting from the side that is heaped with the apples, use the towel to lilft the strudel and tightly roll it towards you.
Lift the entire strudel using the towel and carefully roll it onto a lightly greased baking tray ensuring that the ends are closed so that the juices will remain inside the strudel as it bakes.
Sprinkle the strudel with another tablespoon of butter.
Repeat with the second half of the dough and remaining ingredients and place the second strudel parallel to the first.
Bake for 30 minutes.
Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve warm with lightly whipped cream.

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