apple strudel

Apple Streusel


My grandma made her own strudel dough. I remember how deftly she stretched and smoothed the paper-thin pastry over the kitchen table before filling it with all sorts of stuff: usually apples, tender and tart, but gently sweetened and seasoned with cinnamon. Sometimes she filled the dough with mashed potatoes bound with shmaltz-fried golden-brown onions. Like some giant knish!

Whatever was inside, those rolls baked to perfectly perfect crispy-crustedness and all was well with the world.

OY! Those were delicious days.

When she got older she bought packaged strudel dough at a Hungarian grocery near her house. She just couldn’t manage preparing this most delicate of doughs anymore.

I’ve looked for real Hungarian strudel dough but it’s difficult to find. So I made my own dough once. It was good, but not worth the work! So, when I make strudel now I use phyllo dough, which is not quite the same thing and is a terrific product, but not exactly right for strudel.

Anyway, I thought of all this because National Apple Strudel Day is Monday, June 17th. And I thought about making some, but decided to make Apple Streusel instead.

They sound almost the same, right?

And it tastes just perfectly perfect.

Apple Streusel

  • 5-6 baking type apples, peeled, cored and sliced

  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice

  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1/3 cup sugar

  • streusel


  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1/4 cup oats (any kind)

  • 3 tablespoons sugar

  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

  • 6 tablespoons butter, cut into chunks

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the apple slices in a bowl. Add the flour, lemon juice, flour, cinnamon and sugar, toss the ingredients and set aside. Spoon the streusel mixture on top of the apples. Bake for 45 minutes or until crusty and golden brown.

Combine the flour, oats, sugar and salt in a mixing bowl. Add the butter and work it into the flour mixture with fingers or a pastry blender, until the mixture resembles crumbs. (You can use a food processor: 24-30 short, quick pulses. If so, if you use quick oats, stir them in to the flour crumbs after pulsing.)

 Makes 8 servings




Apple Strudel


ate wasting food, so I really related to this article, which gave me yet another reason to think twice before discarding leftovers. It mentioned that the average American household throws out about 470 pounds of food a year, adding unnecessarily to landfills.

I hadn’t actually considered this reason before. For me it was always guilt about hunger around the world. I was brought up in the post-World War II generation of kids who heard this phrase: “think of the poor starving children in Europe” whenever we didn’t want to eat something or other.

Which is not to say I never trash food or that I think it is good to make children eat everything on their plates.

No, I just mean I like to make as creative and delicious uses for leftovers as I can. And to not throw stuff out if I can use it.

For instance. I have been busily making apple dishes for the Jewish holidays. And I had some extra phyllo dough — pieces that had torn off and couldn’t be used for the apple strudels that are now tucked away in my freezer.

So, I spooned some of the apple filling into a small baking dish and covered it with layers of the small, not-so-pretty leftover snippets of dough, brushed them with melted butter and voila! a terrific dessert for two.

Here’s my recipe for Apple Strudel. If you have ingredients leftover, treat yourself to a “leftovers” version.

Apple Strudel

  • 4 pie apples (Rhode Island Greenings, Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, etc.)

  • 3/4 cup golden raisins

  • 1-1/2 teaspoons grated fresh lemon peel

  • 8 phyllo dough sheets

  • 10 tablespoons butter, melted (approximate)

  • 1/3 cup plain dry breadcrumbs

  • 1/2 cup ground almonds, optional

  • 6-8 tablespoons sugar

  • 1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a cookie sheet. Peel, core and slice the apples into a bowl. Add the raisins and lemon peel, mix and set aside. Using one sheet of phyllo dough at a time, brush the sheet with some of the melted butter and sprinkle lightly with bread crumbs. Top with a second sheet of dough and continue until there are two separate buttered/crumbed phyllo sheets that are 4 sheets thick. If using the almonds, sprinkle them in a strip along the long side of the buttered/crumbed sheets, leaving a margin of about 1-1/2-inches on both short ends. Spoon the apple mixture on top of the almonds. Sprinkle each mixture with equal amounts of sugar and cinnamon. Roll each strudel, with the last roll, seam side down, onto the cookie sheet. Press the short ends to seal them. Brush each rolled strudel with remaining melted butter. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown.

Makes 2 strudels, each serving 6

Apple Strudel Day

Today is Apple Strudel Day.

Really, there is such a thing.

But it’s hard to find good apple strudel, even in the best bakeries. The crust, which is paper thin, is supposed to be crisp and flaky but most of the time it’s soggy and tastes like wet cardboard.

I remember my grandmother making her own strudel dough. Like a big miracle the little lump of dough became this enormous sheet as she stretched it with her grandma arms until it was paper thin and the size of the kitchen table. Then she put the seasoned apples on top. Her strudel wasn’t too sweet like the cloying kinds you get today. And she never used chopped nuts because she said they got soggy. (They do, so I add ground nuts along with the usual bread crumbs to hold the fruit together and for extra flavor.)

I made strudel dough once. I didn’t have grandma arms then (they come with age, even in an age when grandmas work out three times a week like I do), so I didn’t manage the dough very well. It stretched all right, but some parts were thicker and lumpier than others and there were several holes in the dough. It tasted okay, barely.

It’s also difficult to find authentic strudel dough.

However, you can make good homemade strudel using phyllo dough. It’s not exactly the same as strudel pastry, but it’s good enough.

Some people find phyllo dough intimidating. But if you thaw it at room temperature you’ll see that the dough sheets separate easily and won’t tear. And be sure to keep the ones you’re not using covered.

Here’s a recipe for Homemade Apple Strudel.

Apple Strudel

  • 4 baking type apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced

  • 3/4 cup golden raisins

  • 6 tablespoons sugar

  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

  • 1-1/2 teaspoons grated fresh lemon peel

  • 1/2 cup ground almonds

  • 1/3 cup plain dry bread crumbs

  • 8 phyllo dough sheets

  • 10-12 tablespoons melted butter

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. In a large bowl, place the apple slices, raisins, sugar, cinnamon, lemon peel, almonds and 3 tablespoons of the bread crumbs. Toss together and set aside. Place one sheet of phyllo dough o a work surface and brush lightly with melted butter. Repeat with 3 more sheets. Using half the apple mixture, place the fruit on one of the long sides of the dough, placing the mixture to within 1-1/2 inches of the bottom and top edges. Roll the dough, jelly roll style around the apple mixture and place the roll, seam side down, on a cookie sheet. Tuck in the ends. Repeat with the remaining 4 sheets of dough and apple mixture. Brush the top of each roll with any remaining melted butter and scatter the remaining 2 tablespoons of bread crumbs. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature. Cut pieces with a serrated knife. 

Makes 2 rolls, each serving about 4 people