This dish is usually associated with Germany and Austria, but in the regions of Italy that border these countries various food influences (such as speck, sauerkraut and goulash) have crossed national boundaries. Although the classic strudel recipe uses apples, it can be made with various fillings – such as cherries, apricots, or even peaches – and can be eaten warm or cold, as a pudding, or served at tea-time. You could make a strudel dough from scratch, but it is fiddly and time-consuming. It’s much easier just to use filo pastry, which you can buy anywhere.
For the pastry
- 50 g unsalted butter, melted
- 4 sheets filo pastry, 32 x 37cm (about 150g)
- icing sugar, for dusting
- double cream, to serve
For the filling
- 3 tbsp soft raisins
- 1 large orange, zested and juiced
- 800 g cooking apples, peeled, cored and cut into small chunks
- 50 g unsalted butter
- 100 ml water
- 100 g caster sugar
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 large handful fresh breadcrumbs
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
For the filling, place the raisins in a small bowl with the orange zest and juice to soak.
Put the apple in a pan with the butter, water and sugar, and cook together for 8–10 minutes, until the apple has softened slightly, but still retains its shape.
Remove from the heat, add the cinnamon, raisins, along with the orange zest and juice, and the breadcrumbs, and stir to combine – the breadcrumbs will bind everything together. Leave to cool.
Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas 4.
Brush a suitably sized baking tray with a little of the melted butter. Spread out one sheet of filo on the baking tray, and brush with some more of the butter.
Repeat the process with the remaining pastry sheets, placing them on top of each other, brushing with melted butter each time.
Spoon the apple mixture along the middle of the pastry and roll up – from the bottom first, then the sides, ending with the top – to make into a parcel, seam-side down. (If you like, you can even scrunch up some extra filo pastry to make a decoration for the top.)
Brush all over with the remaining butter and bake in the oven for 15–20 minutes, or until the top is crisp and golden. Check after 10 minutes; if it is browning too quickly, reduce the heat a little.
Dust with icing sugar and serve with double cream.