From Vienna, Austria: Marie Antoinette’s Apple Strudel

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When I was in Vienna, I paid a visit to the imperial bakery of Schönbrunn Palace. This palace was the summer home of the ruling Austrian family, including the family of little Maria Antonia, as she was known before becoming the Queen of France. Here, I learned from one of the bakers how to make a real Viennese apple strudel, which I am very happy to share with you today!

Strudel

  • Ingredients:

    • 250g flour (the baker said the imperial bakery uses Type 700)
    • 2g salt
    • 1 egg
    • 100g lukewarm water
    • 20g oil
  • Preparation:

    Mix all ingredients to form a soft dough. Place it on a floured counter and knead it until it easily lifts from the counter and no longer sticks to your hands. Form the dough into a ball and brush it with the olive oil, letting it rest on the counter for 30 minutes. Place the dough in the centre of a large linen cloth that has been dusted with flour. Roll the dough into a rectangular shape. Stretch the dough until it is wafer thin. Once the dough is stretched, place it back onto the floured linen.

Want to add a little more authenticity to this famous Viennese treat? This is how the imperial bakers showed me to stretch the strudel dough:

Once the dough has been stretched as far as you can with the rolling pin, flour the front and back of your hands, plus your arms up to and including your elbows. This is where wearing a T-shirt is helpful. Make fists with your hands, being sure to tuck your thumbs in. Pick up the dough and rest it on top of your right fist. Now using your left fist, pick up the dough from a spot further way from your right fist. Then pass the dough from your left fist to your right. Now your left fist can pick up some new dough. This should rotate the dough the way you envision a pizza maker. As you rotate the dough, stretch your fists a little apart each time.

Once the dough is too large for your fists to tackle, and your arms aren’t quite long enough, let gravity help you out. Start placing your right fist about halfway to the centre of your dough and allow the other three quarters to hang between your fist and your counter. Keep rotating the dough as you were before, by picking the dough up with your left fist and passing it to your right fist before picking up some new dough.

If you want to really get that wafer thin dough the Viennese adore, now is the time for some elbow grease! Once your dough has been stretched a bit with the help of gravity, pick up the dough using your left fist but pick it up closer to the centre. After you have the dough resting on your fist, stick your elbow out to carry the dough between your fist and you. Pass it over to the right fist the same way you always have, but now you find yourself elbow deep in strudel dough! You can check the photos from the slideshow to better see how this is done.

How do you know when the dough is thin enough? Pass a page of paper behind the dough. Can you read the writing? No? Then keep stretching! (This is the actual way the bakers check. If they can read the recipe through the dough, then they are done!)

Filling

  • Ingredients:

    • 100g breadcrumbs
    • 50g butter
    • 140g cinnamon
    • 10g white sugar
    • about 1 kg sour apples, peeled, cored and sliced (weight is after preparation)
    • 170g raisins
    • 10g lemon juice
    • 1 shot of rum
  • Preparation:

    Heat the butter in a pan and add the breadcrumbs. Roast them until they are golden brown. Remove from heat. In a small bowl, mix the cinnamon and the sugar. In a large bowl, place the prepared apples. Add the roasted breadcrumbs, the cinnamon sugar and all other filling ingredients. Mix well.

Rolling the Apple Strudel:

Place the apple filling in a log shape along the longest length of the dough, leaving six inches of dough along one side. Pick up this side of the dough and stretch it up and over the entire log of apple filling. Ensure the seam is tucked under the filling securely. Now pick up the linen cloth from the end of the dough with all the filling, and the rest of the strudel will roll itself up in the dough. Easy! Twist the ends and tuck them under the strudel, but don’t cut them off or all the filling will fall out in the oven. Roll the strudel onto a buttered baking tray and bake at 375F (190C) until the dough is golden brown. Remove from the oven and brush it with melted butter before letting it cool.

If you have any problems with your strudel, you can actually call the imperial bakery and they will answer all of your questions (I am not kidding!). Their number is +43-1-24 100-310.

Happy Strudel-ing!

 

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