Friedel Family Apple Strudel Recipe

Omi with a rescued baby roo (being a sucker for animals is obviously in my genes).

Omi with a rescued baby roo (being a sucker for animals is obviously in my genes).

My grandparents moved here from Germany after WW2 – the choice of destination was dictated largely by the fact that they got Australian sponsors.  They were very self-reliant people and always grew vegetables, hunted and kept bees.  Opa was a cabinet maker by trade and made the most exquisite wooden furniture, he even made a harpsichord for Omi, who was a brilliant pianist .

My grandparents were very self-reliant people, growing and hunting the vast majority of their food.

My grandparents were very self-reliant people, growing and hunting the vast majority of their food.

Unfortunately I didn’t inherit any of Omi’s musical genes, nor did I get Opa’s talent for woodwork.  I did, however, inherit their love of a simple life lived in harmony with the land.

I also inherited this recipe for apple strudel, passed down from Omi’s mother and goodness knows how many generations prior.  I am sharing it now in the hope that it will live on through many more generations.

Apologies for the vagueness of the recipe (and the inconsistent units of measurement), this came from the notes my mother made when being taught to make strudel by Omi and it works so I don’t want to mess around with it!

The only change we have made is to substitute our honey for the sugar (Omi and Opa would approve, they loved their bees and honey).  And in the spirit of self-reliance we are used foraged apples for this strudel.

Omi with lambs

My grandparents embraced life in Australia and lived for many years on a large sheep station in NSW – rough, dry country but they thrived out there.

Opa was never without his pipe, and rarely without a tool of some description.

Opa was never without his pipe, and rarely without a tool of some description.

FRIEDEL FAMILY APPLE STRUDEL

1. PASTRY

This makes enough pastry for 4 strudels, you can freeze any dough you don’t want to use immediately.  It’s also sensitive to temperature, doesn’t like it too hot or too cold – room temp is best.  (I’ve tried making at at my sister’s place in Brisbane and I don’t think it likes the humidity much either!)

Ingredients

  • 1 pound plain flour
  • 2 tablespoons of oil (we just use olive oil)
  • 2 eggs
  • A pinch of salt
  • Up to 250ml tepid water with a dash of vinegar in it

Method

  1. Make a well in the flour, put the salt, oil and eggs in and mix with a fork.
  2. Slowly add in the water, mixing with the fork as you go.
  3. When the dough starts forming a ball you can stop adding water.
  4. Knead the shit out of the dough – you cannot knead this dough too much, the more the better.
  5. Throw down the ball of dough and vent all of your frustrations!
  6. Coat the ball of dough in oil and rest it, covered, for about half an hour.
  7. Roll the dough out on a floured surface, getting it as thin as possible.
  8. Further stretch the dough out across the backs of your hands, being careful to not tear it.
  9. Lay the dough out on a tea towel and stretch the edges out as much as possible, the dough should be very thin by the time you’ve finished.
Once the dough is moist enough to start forming a ball, get to work kneading it (and knead until your forearms burn!)

Once the dough is moist enough to start forming a ball, get to work kneading it (and knead until your forearms burn!)

This is the dough after it has rested for half an hour or so.

This is the dough after it has rested for half an hour or so.

Sprinkle some flour out and roll the dough as flat as you possibly can.  Once you have rolled it as thin as you can, start stretching it out across the backs of your hands until it's transparent (be careful not to tear it).  Finally, lay it out on a tea towel and stretch the edges out by hand.

Sprinkle some flour out and roll the dough as flat as you possibly can. Once you have rolled it as thin as you can, start stretching it out across the backs of your hands until it’s transparent (be careful not to tear it). Finally, lay it out on a tea towel and stretch the edges out by hand.

2. FILLING

Sorry, there are no measurements for this, it’s all done by eye/guestimation.  Omi thought Granny Smith apples were ideal for strudel!

Ingredients

  • Melted butter
  • Bread crumbs
  • About 6 medium apples per strudel, peeled and cut into thin slices – this can be done while the dough rests.
  • Sultanas
  • Sugar (we used honey)
  • Sour cream
  • Cinnamon
Our foraged apples being put to good use!

Our foraged apples being put to good use!

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  2. Paint the pastry (laid out on the tea towel) with melted butter – cover the entire surface.
  3. Sprinkle bread crumbs evenly over the butter.
  4. Lay the slices of apple over the entire surface of the pastry, in a single layer.
  5. Sprinkle with sultanas.
  6. Sprinkle with sugar (or drizzle with honey as we did).
  7. Sprinkle with cinnamon.
  8. Splat dollops of sour cream all over the top.
  9.  Slowly lift one end of the tea towel to roll the strudel up (don’t leave the pastry on the towel longer than necessary as it’ll stick).
  10. Gently pick up the tea towel with the strudel and roll the strudel off the towel onto a greased baking tray
  11. Brush the top of the strudel with melted butter.
  12. Cook for 40-45 minutes in the preheated oven, brushing the top with butter every 10 minutes.
Laying out the apple slices.

Laying out the apple slices.

All of the filling laid out on the pastry.

All of the filling laid out on the pastry.

Roll the strudel up using the tea towel, then lift it and roll it off the towel onto a greased baking tin and paint the top with melted butter.

Roll the strudel up using the tea towel, then lift it and roll it off the towel onto a greased baking tin and paint the top with melted butter.

The Finished Product

This strudel worked out particularly well – the foraged apples were great and held their shape well (you don’t want them to turn to mush).  The flavour of the honey came through without being overwhelming, and its caramel sweetness was the perfect complement to the tartness of the apples – I think we’ll be using honey in this recipe from now on.

Serve with a generous dollop of cream or ice cream (or both!).

By far my favourite dessert!

By far my favourite dessert!