This week’s theme for The Great British Bake Off (and therefore The Great Blogger Bake Off!) was European cakes so I chose to make that German classic, apple strudel. Or Apfelstrudel if you want to order it in Germany. Although, I have some news for you – it’s not a German recipe. Oh no, the fruity pastry that we all enjoy at the annual Leeds Christkindlmarkt – the traditional German Christmas market – is in fact Austrian. It’s actually the national dish of Austria and thanks to Wikipedia I now know that it originates from Vienna in 1696. Amazing huh? I also know that strudel is traditionally made with filo pastry but I don’t have any and wouldn’t have a clue about how to make it, so puff pastry will just have to do!
I picked some apples from the tree in my mum’s garden and set to work creating my Austrian masterpiece. I used just four ingredients for the filling: apples, brown sugar, sultanas and cinnamon. It’s a really easy filling to make – just dice apples and stew them in a pan for about 10 minutes. Again, my recipe is a little bit hit ‘n’ miss because I didn’t measure out any quantities – I just threw in some brown sugar to sweeten the apples (which really depends on how tart your apples are), a handful of sultanas and sprinkled on cinnamon until it tasted Christmassy. I’m sure there are plenty of recipes out there that would recommend lemon juice, butter, nutmeg etc but I just tasted my filling and added more sugar or cinnamon until it tasted yummy!
I rolled out the puff pastry into a large square, then spread the filling all over the middle, leaving a gap around all the edges. Then I rolled the strudel up. Recipes will tell you to roll it up ‘like a cigar’ but I’ve never rolled a cigar either, so I went for rolling the longest edge in, folding the ends in and then continuing to roll until the top edge of the pastry is underneath. I’d say it was more like wrapping up fish and chips really! I transferred the rolled-up strudel to a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper before brushing the top and ends with milk and sprinkling on caster sugar. I baked it for about 25 minutes in the oven until it was a lovely crispy golden brown colour. Serve with a big blob of vanilla ice cream, cream, custard or pretend you’re in a Viennese café and serve with a glass of champagne! As they say, when in Austria…
Lots more fabulous bloggers have shared their bakes for #TheGreatBloggerBakeOff and here are the links to their posts too: