Classic Vienna Apple Strudel or Wiener Apfelstrudel

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

[printable recipe]

Serving 8-10

Strudel Dough:

  • 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

Filling:

  • 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

Preparation:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

Bon Appétit!

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Braided Breakfast Bread

Every time I want to bake something with yeast I remember my mama. She was the queen of yeast doughs. She didn’t use any recipes either. She would throw together a little bit of this, a little bit of that and it would turn into one of those things that people write a two page recipe for. Mama enjoyed making everything fresh and from scratch, of course! 🙂 She would get up early in the morning, I mean really early! She would start a dough, and by the time my sister and I were getting ready for school the whole house would be enveloped in the fragrant aroma of mama’s baked goods. After all that early morning work she still had plenty of energy to dress up, do her hair, put some make up on and go meet some 25 other people’s children and teach them with a smile.

This morning I tried to throw together few things my self, hoping it would turn into one of mama-like heavenly breakfast breads. I would say it turned out ok. I should have let it rise longer, but impatient me didn’t… Anyway, the house smelled wonderfuly and the bread tasted great, but it just wasn’t as mama’s…

Braided Breakfast Bread                                 Printable recipe

Ingredients:

  • 3 ½ cups (450 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (65 g) dry milk powder
  • ¼ cup (50 g) sugar
  • 1 ½ tsp dry yeast
  • 1 lemon (zest)
  • 1 1/4 cup (300 ml) warm water
  • ½ stick (50 g) butter (soft)
  • 1 egg
  • 3.5 oz (100 g) raisins
  • 3.5 oz (100 g) dried apricots (chopped)
  • 1.8 oz (50 g) dried cranberries

Egg wash:

  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp milk or cream

Preparation:

  1. Soak all dried fruit in warm water for about 30 minutes.
  2. Combine flour, dry milk powder, sugar, yeast, and mix well. Gradually start adding water. Add lemon zest. When almost combined, add egg and butter. Mix for few more minutes, then add in dried fruit.
  3. Cover and let it rest for about two hours or until doubled in volume.
  4. Now place the dough on a flour-dusted surface and knead it for few minutes. Divide it into 4 equal pieces.  Roll each piece into a long 12-14 inch (30-35 cm) log. Pinch all four pieces together and form a braid.
  5. Place the braid onto a baking pan, brush with the egg wash, cover and let it rise for another 45 minutes to an hour.
  6. Preheat oven to 375 F (190 C) and bake for about 30-45 minutes or until nice, golden-brown color.

Enjoy!

Lazy Apple Pie

For some time now, my daughter has been asking me to make an apple pie. Honestly, I have never made a pie, not apple or any other kind, at least not what in the U.S. one would call a pie.

Pie dough I made numerous times, but always for some different desert such as a tart, a galette or similar. I guess, I just hang too tight on my European/Bosnian strings and have not yet found inspiration or courage to tackle the Pie Challenge. So, today I went for a, what is in Bosnia known as a Lazy Pie, because it really is almost effortless and the results are more than satisfying. Instead of all white flour, I used some rye flour too, for a richer taste. The real pie will have to wait for that special moment of inspiration…

THIS PIE TRULY MELTS IN YOUR MOUTH!!!

Dough:

  • 1 2/3 cup (215 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup (43 g) rye flour
  • 1/4 cup (50 g) sugar
  • 10 1/2 tbsp (150 g) unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 1/2 lemon (zest)
  • 1 tbsp sour cream
  • 1 egg yolk
  • pinch of salt
Filling:
  • 35 oz (1 kg) apples (peeled and shredded)
  • 6 tbsp (75 g) sugar
  • 1 pack vanilla sugar (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
  • 1/2 lemon (zest and juice)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • handful of raisins (soaked in mixture of 1/3 cup rum and 1/3 cup water)
1.  For the dough combine white flour, rye flour, sugar, salt and lemon zest. Mix well. Add butter, sour cream and egg yolk and mix for few minutes to form a firm dough ball. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rest in the fridge for about 45 minutes.
2. While the dough is resting, soak the raisins in rum/water mixture. Next, peel apples, and coarsely shred them (don’t worry if they are turning brown). Add sugar, vanilla, lemon zest and juice, cinnamon and raisins. Set aside.
3. Grease a 9×11 inch baking pan, sprinkle with flour. Take the dough out of the fridge and divide in two. Dust your working surface with flour, roll the dough into an 9×11 in square. Roll it carefully back onto the rolling pin, transfer to the pan and unroll.
4. Spread all the filling onto the dough. Repeat the same with the second piece of the dough and place it on the top of the filling. Poke the top with a fork in about 10 places, so moisture can escape during baking.
5. Bake at 400 F (200 C) about 40 minutes. Cool completely, dust with powder sugar, cut into 1×3 in squares and serve.
Enjoy!