What is an Apple Strudel?
Apple strudel (or Apfelstrudel) is an Austrian dessert made of layered pastry with a grated apple filling inside. The ingredients include apples, raisins, sugar, cinnamon, and wheat flour. The wheat is not leavened and generally Fuji, Gala, Winesap, or Granny Smith apples are used. This dessert is usually served warm, along with ice cream, whipped cream, or vanilla sauce.
- The name of this dish refers to the swirl of pastry and apple filling that can be seen when a slice is cut, since ‘strudel’ means whirlpool in German.
- Apple strudels are one of the national dishes of Austria.
The main countries where this is a traditional dessert are:
- Czech Republic
Origin of apple strudel
Apple strudel has its roots in Vienna and is extremely popular in the countries that were part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. This pastry originated as a western European version of the Turkish or Greek baklava, which is also made with thin layers of pastry. The earliest recipe for strudel dating back to 1696 can be seen in the Vienna Town Hall Library. Today, this dessert is an Austrian icon and there is even a Strudelshow in Vienna, where a professional pastry chefs hand-bake original Vienneses strudel.
It is not often commercially produced. In bakeries, restaurants, and cafés, it is prepared fresh and served hot or reheated. These establishments make strudel with thin elastic dough, which is first kneaded, rested, and then rolled out. The dough is completely stretched out until it is very thin. After, the filling of grated apples and spices is added and the dough is wrapped around it. The strudel is then baked in the oven and powdered sugar is sprinkled on top of the finished pastry.
This dessert contains real, unprocessed apples that are baked into a crust. Apples contain a variety of phytochemicals, which are linked to reduced risk of some cancers, cardiovascular disease, asthma, and diabetes. They also contain potassium, vitamin C, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, vitamin K, and fiber. However, due to the amount of sugar in apple strudel, it is high in calories and should be consumed in moderation.
Apple strudel recipes
Though this dessert is a traditional dish, its spices and crust can be adjusted to suit different tastes. Here are a few recipes.
- Viennese Strudel
- Walnut Apfelstrudel
- Apfel Mürbeteig
- Apple, Raspberry, and Rose Strudel
- Queenie Goldstein’s Strudel
The FDA describes all fresh fruits, including apples, as raw agricultural commodities and strictly regulates all aspects of their growing, harvesting, packing, and storage. The FDA defines flour as food prepared by grinding and bolting cleaned wheat, and regulates its processing and packaging. The USDA has also set out guidelines for fruit pie fillings, including apple, which regulate their processing, manufacturing, and packaging.
Boyer, Jeanelle, and Rui Hai Liu. “Apple phytochemicals and their health benefits.” Nutrition journal vol. 3 5. 12 May. 2004, doi:10.1186/1475-2891-3-5, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15140261/
A Brief History of the Apple Strudel, Culture Trip, https://theculturetrip.com/europe/austria/articles/a-brief-history-of-the-apple-strudel/