I’m not a big pie eater but I do love a good strudel. This was always my lunch of choice when I was younger and would go skiing in Germany. The sweet creamy vanilla sauce mixed with the tangy apples and flaky crust are a sure winner for just about any occasion! I took this to an Olympics opening ceremony party a few weeks ago and it got eaten up pretty fast. I made the strudel dough from scratch as you’ll see below but that is really a big time commitment. This recipe would be pretty easy to do if you substitute pre-made packaged phyllo dough for the dough in the recipe.
Put 3/4 cup raisins in a bowl and cover with rum. Let soak while you make the dough (recipe below) or at least 20 minutes.
Peel and cut up about 4 apples into slices, and then cut each slice into cubes to make 6 cups. Mix the apples with 1 Tablespoon of grated lemon rind and squeeze about half of the lemon over the apples. Then mix in the soaked raisins but not the run, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, 3/4 cups of ground or finely chopped almonds, and a sprinkling of allspice. Set aside.
Heat 1/4 cup of butter in a pan over medium heat, and when melted, add 1 cup of unflavored breadcrumbs. Cook until the crumbs are light brown. Set aside to cool.
Assemble the strudel. The dough should be in a rectangular shape. Lay out the dough and brush the top with some melted butter, then sprinkle the bread crumbs all over the dough, leaving about a 1.5 inch border on the long sides of the rectangle, and about 6 inches on each of the short sides.
Then add the apple mixture and fold the long edges in on the filling. Starting at one end, fold the dough over the filling and roll the strudel into a rectangle shape, as shown in the pictures below. Brush the top with melted butter and bake at 350 degrees until golden brown and flaky, at least 30 minutes. Serve with vanilla sauce (recipe below).
If you can find German vanilla sugar in the store, it will make this sauce great. But even without it, it is a delicious addition to the strudel.
Beat together 4 egg yolks and 1/2 cup sugar (and 1 tablespoon vanilla sugar, if you have it) until the yolks are thick and pale yellow and the sugar is dissolved.
Heat 2 cups of milk over medium high heat, and when the milk boils, temper in the egg yolk mixture. Then heat the milk and egg mixture without boiling it until it is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Then remove it from the heat and stir in 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste.
Soften 1/4 cup of butter and put it in the bowl of a stand mixer, with the dough hook attachment. (Alternatively, place in a large bowl). Then add 1 egg and 1/2 teaspoon salt and mix. Add 3 cups flour and mix with the dough hook, adding enough cold water to make the dough come together into a ball, but not too much as to make it mushy. Once you have a good consistency, knead with the dough hook until it is smooth and elastic. (Alternatively, mix with a wooden spoon while adding the cold water and then knead the dough on the countertop until it is smooth and elastic.) Put the dough into a clean bowl and coat it with vegetable oil, and then let it sit and rest for an hour.
After the dough has rested, you will need to stretch it out nice and thin. To do this, I put down a clean tablecloth on my dining room table and coated the cloth lightly with flour. Then put the dough ball in the center and start rolling it out with a rolling pin to get it as thin as possible. This recipe should make a dough that is at least 4 feet by 3 feet. Once you have rolled it out as much as possible, let it rest for a few minutes then use your hands to gently stretch the dough out even more, but be careful not to tear it. When it is as thin as you can get it, cut off any thick edges and cut the dough in half. Brush one half with melted butter and carefully lay the other half on top. (You could also cut it into 3 pieces and do the same, but make sure it is extremely thin if you do this). Then follow the filling instructions above.