I had the lucky opportunity to study and work abroad quite a few times. My very first experience abroad was actually when I was 5 years old and spent a whole year in Oregon, USA, with my family. Not sure if this counts, but I did attend kindergarten so I like to consider it as my very first study experience abroad 🙂
Anyhow, I lived in many places throughout my life. As you can guess from the title of this recipe, Vienna was one of them. I moved there in 2011 after obtaining my very first job offer abroad. I spent less than a year there but I always refer to it as one of the best times of my life. For various reasons, the main one being the people I met there, who are still very close friends of mine.
Going back to the recipe, apple strudel was definitely a revelation in Vienna. I knew it already before going there and had it several times, but the Austrian way is just incredibly delicious. In my opinion, the dough makes a huge difference: you can prepare an apple strudel with a ready-rolled puff pastry too, it does make life easier; but if you want a little challenge, you should try and make this strudel dough from scratch.
The strudel dough has to be thin, but not too much, otherwise, it will break. If you want to know a secret, mine breaks all the time (I need to improve on this), but I always managed to patch it back!
Apple Strudel (Viennese style)
For the dough
For the filling
Prepare the strudel dough
Place all the ingredients for the dough in a large bowl and mix them with a fork until you obtain a dough.
Transfer onto a large wooden board and start kneading with your hands for 3-5 minutes. Dust with more flour if necessary. Create a ball and place it in a bowl with a tbsp of vegetable oil on the bottom, so it does not stick. Cover with cling film and leave to rest in a cool place (not in the fridge) for an hour.
Prepare the filling
In a small bowl, mix the raisins and rum. Set aside and leave for 20 minutes.
Melt the measured butter in a pan. Add the breadcrumbs and sauté over medium heat for approx. 3 minutes or until golden brown. Set aside and leave to cool.
Peel, core, and slice the apples. Place the sliced apples in a large bowl and add the lemon zest, cinnamon, and sugar. Drain the raisins and add them to the apples.
Finally, add the breadcrumbs mixture. Mix and set aside.
Prepare the apple strudel
Preheat oven at 200C (180C fan). Cover a baking tray with baking paper. Place a clean tea towel on your working station and thoroughly dust it with flour.
Place the dough on the tea towel and roll it out until you reach a rectangular sheet of approx. 40cmx20cm. The sheet should not be too thin but also not too thick!
Brush the sheet with the additional melted butter.
Place the apples mixture in the centre of the sheet. Fold the short sides of the dough up and over the filling, using the tea towel to lift and fold the dough.
Fold the long side of dough up and over the filling and carefully roll the dough using the towel as support. Place the rolled strudel on the prepared tray (you can again use the towel as support and then carefully remove it) and make sure it is properly closed on the bottom. Brush the surface with melted butter.
Place in the oven and bake for 40 minutes. Leave to cool down. Decorate with icing sugar and serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.