Autumn without apple strudel would be like spring without the rain, summer without the sunshine or movies without popcorn. Autumn harvest in Bosnia/Balkan region usually brings a bounty of different kind of apples. Mostly every backyard has some type of a fruit tree, be it a plum, pear, apple or a quince tree. Of course that bounty of different kinds of fruit needs to be preserved in some way or used for delicious desserts. I vividly remember my mom and grandmother making jams, juices and baking in the fall. Nothing was allowed to go to waste.
Now what does Bosnia and Vienna Apple Strudel have in common? For about 40 years at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century Bosnia was under Austria-Hungary Empire rule, which resulted in mixing of cultures and of course influences on Bosnian cuisine (which before reflected mainly Turkish/Ottoman and Eastern influences).
Apple strudel in Bosnia is also known as ‘apple pita’ and can be made in a few different ways. Usually it is made out of paper thin phyllo dough with shredded or sliced apple filling and with addition of sugar, cinnamon, walnuts, almonds, raisins, etc.
Here is one really great recipe for Vienna Apple Strudel. This strudel can be served by itself with a nice cup of coffee or also paired up with vanilla sauce or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Classic Vienna Apple Strudel
- 150 ml (1/2 cup + 2 TBSP)warm milk
- 250 g (2 cups) all-purpose flour
- 1 egg
- 2 TBSP oil
- 1 TBSP white wine
- a pinch of salt
oil for brushing and
flour for kneading
- 60 g (2.1 oz) bread crumbs
- 50 g (1/4 cup) sugar
- 50 g (1.8 oz )butter
- 50 g (1.8 oz) sliced almonds
- 1 lemon (juice)
- 600 g (1 lb 5 oz) apples
- 100 g (1/2 cup) sugar
- 40 ml (3 TBSP) dark rum
- 50 g (1.8 oz) raisins
- 1/2 TSP cinnamon
50 g (1.8 oz) melted butter for brushing
powdered sugar for sprinkling
- In a mixer bowl with the spiral hooks add flour, egg, oil, white wine and a pinch of salt. Start mixing slowly adding warm milk. Mix for a few minutes until smooth dough forms. Sprinkle some flour right into the bowl and knead the dough by hand few times and form it into a ball. Place the dough into an oil coated bowl. Make sure the dough is well coated with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rest at a warm place for about two hours.
- While the dough is resting prepare bread crumbs and almonds for the filling. In a pan melt the butter on a low temperature. Mix bread crumbs and sugar and add it to the butter and let it brown just very lightly (2-3 minutes). Let it cool. Roast the sliced almonds on a low temperature in the pan until fragrant and just starting to brown.
- Squeeze the lemon and put the lemon juice into a bowl. Peel the apples, core them and quarter them. Slice into very thin slices. As you slice them, brush some lemon juice over them so they don’t get brown. When done slicing, add all the remaining lemon juice to the apples, add sugar, rum, raisins, cinnamon and almonds. Toss it lightly and set aside.
- Melt the rest of the butter and keep it handy. Prepare a clean, large kitchen towel where you will stretch the dough. Dust the towel with some flour. (I’ve used a 16 X 26 inch/ 40 X 66 cm towel). Now take the dough out of the bowl and place it onto a floured surface (not towel) and roll it a bit with a rolling pin. Transfer it to the kitchen towel and start stretching by placing your hands underneath the dough and pulling from the middle to the sides. When the dough is nice and thin, cut of the thick edges. Brush the dough with melted butter. Spread the bread crumbs over the dough leaving a 2 inch (5 cm) edge all around. Spread the apple filling on the top of the bread crumbs.
- This is how to roll the strudel. Flap the 2 short and 1 long edge over the filling. Taking the kitchen towel by the longer flapped edge, roll up the strudel. Still holding the towel transfer strudel to the baking sheet. Bake at 400 F (200 C) for about 20-25 minutes in the lower portion of the oven. Serve warm sprinkled with powdered sugar. If desired you can also add a side of vanilla sauce or vanilla ice cream to it.