Some clichés are clichés for a reason. This here is certainly one of them. While you think Appel Strudel on a site featuring Viennese food is almost sketchy, you may want to start thinking of why any tourist returning from Vienna talks about this treat.
In the end, I think it would be just awfully impolite not to share this outstanding piece of dessert with you. Hell, it took Austria at least two dynasties of decadent monarchs to come up with delicious treats like that while ignoring things like international relations and world politics. It would be a shame if this would go to waste then.
Telling the story of how to recreate this Viennese marvel dish is kind of a challenge though, as it necessarily means picking from an awful lot of recipe variations developed over the years. So I’ll go with a source you can never be wrong: Found inan old family recipe book in my grandmothers kitchen.
However, my granny is a down-to-earth person, and therefore, she would always take some shortcuts. For example, she would never brush the stretched dough with melted butter – no, of course not, that would be way too much work. Still, I have to insist, not to skip this step as the melted butter separates the thin layers of dough and yields in a super flaky crust.
So here you go. Enjoy this classic Li’l Vienna recipe!
Update 10/25/2018: In addition to this Original Viennese Apple strudel, I added a new tutorial on how to make homemade apple strudel here. The main difference between this and the new recipe is the addition of walnuts and and the cutback of butter and breadcrumbs. I also added a few more pictures on how to prepare the filling.
How to make an Apple Strudel step by step
1. Make the dough
>> Update 10/02/2018: I’ve posted a detailed step-by-step recipe about how to make a paper-thin strudel dough from scratch. I’m using the same ingredients as below but I’ve added more pictures and the description is more detailed.
Combine all dough ingredients and knead the dough until smooth for about 10 minutes. Slam the dough onto the worksurface a few times to enhance gluten development, yielding a very elastic dough.
Shape the dough into a smooth ball. Brush a clean bowl with oil, put the dough into the bowl and brush it with oil (you can do this with your fingers).
Let it rest for 1 hour covered with cling wrap or make it up to 2 days ahead and keep it in the fridge.
>> Find the step-by-step recipe about how to make homemade paper-thin strudel dough here (update 10/02/2018).
2. Prepare the filling
The filling consits of buttered breadcrumbs mixed with sugar and cinnamon, melted butter for brushing, sliced apples and soaked raisins.
3. Roll out the dough
Roll out the dough on a clean, lightly floured surface. Flour the surface and the dough every now and then while rolling.
4. Streching the dough
When the dough gets about 13-15 inch in diameter pick it up then use the back of your hands, particularly your knuckles, to stretch it (remove all sharp jewelry first). This way you can straighten the dough like a pizza. When the dough gets larger and thinner, and thus difficult to handle, put it down.
The dough sheet should be paper-thin. Be careful not to tear it.
Can you read the word on the slip of paper under the dough?
5. Spread the breadcrumbs
Brush one half of the stretched dough with melted butter, spread the butter-sugar breadcrumbs on the other side.
6. Spread the apples
Cut off thick ends. Spread the apple-raisin-filling over the breadcrumbs – leaving 1 to 1 ½ inch to the edge.
7. Prepare the dough for rolling
Fold in the sides so the filling won’t get lost during rolling.
8. Rolling the dough
Roll the dough over the filling, starting at the apple-topped end, lifting the filling’s weight with the cloth.
9. Roll dough onto a sheet of parchment paper
Roll the dough carefully onto a sheet of parchment paper, seam-side down.
10. Brush the strudel with melted butter
Put the dough onto a baking sheet and brush it with melted butter.
11. Bake the strudel
Put the strudel in the middle of the preheated oven and bake it for ½ hour at 375 °F. Let it cool slightly, cut into pieces and dust with confectioner’s sugar.
If you are hestitant about making the strudel dough (= phyllo dough) from scratch, I’ve published a blog post on how to tackle strudel dough here. In addition, I have put together a free ebook that will answer all your questions – including FAQ, tips and tricks.
Did you follow this recipe? You could share your result here. All you need to do is take a picture with your smartphone and send it to email@example.com User Hilal followed the recipe: "I've had Apple Strudel many times, but this is the first time I baked one myself. It turned out great, served with a dollop of vanilla ice cream. Definitely baking it again!" User Dr. Filippa Viola: "After much research I stumbled upon your recipe and we made it tonite to our sheer delight. Our house might be in New England but our kitchen smells like a cafe on the kartnerstrasse! It is a definite star and I will be making it again and again to remind us of what a glorious place Vienna is!" Luisa tried out the recipe: "Thanks for your well written recipe. I used Calvados to soak my own raisins and made half a recipe for a Test Run. I think I'll use a bit more sugar next time. 30 minutes baking time was right on for mine." Click to enlarge. User Paul: "The dough was very nice to work with, though i could have used twice the amount. Used the rolling pin instead of my hands. No problems at all. Tasty and flaky. Will make it again for christmas." User James F. made Li'l Vienna's apple strudel with a great outcome! Esmeralda: "Hi LilVienna 😊, just made the apple strudel and it was amazing ❤️. I'm so glad I found your recipe. It didn't come out as pretty as yours as the dough was very flaky and fragile once baked, nevertheless the taste was spot-on. There is a reason why tradition is followed, it's tried and tested over the years. Thank you so much for the inspiration and the real strudel recipe!" Dulce tried our recipe:"Many thanks for Apple Strudel recipe. Am happy with my results. I varied the recipe a bit to use hazelnut powder instead of bread crumbs. Eager to try your other recipes now." Vanesa made strudel: "Hi there, I made the lil Vienna apple strudel, except I made it with home made puff pastry. Love it! Hope you like the look, :) Cheers, Vanesa " Linda: "Hi Ursula, Here's your Strudel recipe. I added some almonds and naturally, I served it "mit Schlag". While it was tasty enough, next time, I plan to use ground/or finely chopped almonds instead of the bread crumbs and more butter. (The way my Swabian mother made it.) You were right, it went fast, hence, nothing left to freeze. Thanks for the inspiration, Linda" Nancy: "Hello Ursula and thank you for the fab recipe! It was my first time trying a strudel and your instructions were excellent. I did have a small bit of trouble getting it stretched to an exact rectangle, but I suppose practice makes perfect. Thanks again!" Click to enlarge. Janelle: "Oh my goodness! We absolutely love Austria and apple strudel! After our last trip, I vowed to lean how to make it and your recipe is amazing! Thank you thank you!" Ric made the strudel 2 times: "I substituted 200g of dried apricots (soaked in rum with the raisins) for 200g of apples and the filling turned out very well. I followed your recipe for the dough and it was perfect - elastic and slightly moist but I have no skill for stretching it to paper-thinness. Apple Strudel #2 (see pic) is a great success, not much left and the pastry is quite good! " Jadranka: "Hello LilVienna! Thank you for sharing this amazing recipes, with your help I made my FIRST Apfelstrudel which I planned to do my whole life but never found the courage to do it, because I always thought my godmother is the only person on the planet who can make it the best 😋. I grow up in Croatia and European traditionally home made foods are something I don’t get here in L.A California! Thank you 🙏🏿 much appreciated! Excited to try some other recipes 😋, Jadranka " Debbie: "Hi there, I've been using this recipe for some time now but this is the first time I've written. Love it, never fails. Thanks for the recipe Debbie" Debbie Steiner: "I’ve been married to an Austrian for almost 30 years now and am not a big fan of Apfelstrudel and always shyed away from baking it because of the pastry although I’m quite a keen baker. Anyway, I finally caved and decided to bake an Apfelstrudel for my hubby. It came out really nice. We cut into it for dessert after dinner and there’s now only half left 😂😂😂 Thanks for sharing your recipe!" Deepa: "I tried your recipe for Apfelstrudel and it turned out tasty, considering it was my first attempt with Strudels. Your recipe bought back memories of the best apple strudel I have ever eaten, at a tiny cafe in Garmisch. Love, Deepa INDIA"