Magdalena brought an Apfelstrudel that was out of this world–gorgeous, with an amazing aroma, and unbelievably delicate. I do believe it might have been the most popular item served (after the lutefisk, of course). Magdalena graciously agreed to share her family recipe with us. So here it is, in her words.
I don’t know how this is possible, but somehow I don’t have any pictures of Magdalena. Sorry!
This Apfelstrudel is a family recipe handed down from my grandmother to my mother and now to me. The original is in German and it is a bit different from the recipes you will find on the web.
Ingredients for 3 rolls of strudel.
For the apple filling:
- 4 pounds of apples (Granny Smith, Fuji or similar)
- about 4-5 tbls. of sugar (lately I have taken brown or more unprocessed sugar)
- 1 lemon (peel + juice)
- 1/2-1cup of rum
- 2 tsps. of liquid vanilla
- 1/2 tsps. of nutmeg
- 2-3 tbls. of cinnamon
- 2 tsps. of creamed wheat
None of the quantities above are cut in stone, they depend on your taste.
For the dough and the finishing:
- 1 box of Fillo dough (sheets)
- 1/2 pound of whipped, unsalted butter
- 1/2 pound of margarine
- 2 tbls. of powder sugar in which you have kept a vanilla stick for at least 3 days for vanilla flavoring
If you prefer, you can only use butter for the dough, but I use it whipped and mixed with the healthiest margarine I can find for health reasons.
Cooking the apples:
- Wash and core the apples, no need to peel them.
- Grind the apples (the grinder of the Cuisinart is wonderful for that, it takes just minutes).
- Place the apples in a pan at fairly high temperature and add the sugar. The idea is to get all the juice out of the apples as fast as possible.
- You need to stir often, otherwise they will stick to the pan and become unedible.
- Add the ground lemon peel, the juice of a lemon, and, when there is almost no more juice, the rum and the vanilla.
- Do not forget to stir and make sure that all these ingredients are well distributed in the apple mass.
- Do not hesitate to taste and see if you like it. Add sugar, or lemon juice or more spices, as needed.
- When all the liquid has evaporated, turn off the heat, but leave the pan on the stove and add the nutmeg, the cinnamon, and then the creamed wheat, mixing vigorously in the process.
- Take your pan to a cool place to let it cool a while.
Rolling the strudel:
- The Fillo dough needs to be completely defrosted before you open the box.
- Take the sheets out, count them, and divide them into 3 parts (one third for each strudel).
- Cover the sheets you are not working onat least with a paper towel, so they do not dry out.
- Liquify 1/3 of the butter + 1/3 of the margarine (the microwave is well suited for the operation). Repeat this operation before you start on each of the strudels or when you are out of liquid.
- Placeone dough sheet on a clean and flat surface and use a soft and wide kitchen brush to brush a thin layer of the liquid butter-margarine mixture on the sheet. Then place the next sheet over it and repeat the operation until1/3 of the sheets are piled up. Do NOT put any butter or margarine on the last sheet.
- Place1/3 of the apple mixture in a rollat the endof the longer side of the sheet, but leave about 0.5-1 inch free at both ends.
- Loosely roll the sheets around the apples and then close the ends by crimping them together. Place the strudel in a baking pan (teflon is ideal).
- Generously brush the strudel with the butter-margarine mixture.
- After you have finished all 3 strudels, punch them densely with a toothpick, so the hot air has some way out and does not break the strudels.
Baking the strudel and getting it ready to serve:
- Preheat the oven to 325-350 degrees.
- Place the strudel pan in the preheated oven and let it bake for about 30 min. or until the strudels turn light brown.
- Take the strudel pan out of the oven, otherwisethe strudels might get brown and taste burned.
- Cut the strudel with a very sharp knife. It is easier to cut and better to eat while it is warm.
- Let it cool just a bit andput the vanilla-flavored powder sugar in a small tea sieve and stir it with a teaspoon, while moving the sieve over the strudel.
- Continue until all 3 strudels are covered with a layer of powder sugar.
The warm strudel can also be served with vanilla ice cream or with whipped cream (Schlagobers, as the Austrians would say), for me it is a bit too rich.
Guten Appetit (also mostly Austrian)!