Apple Strudel (Apfelstrudel)
If you love making pastries, this recipe is a delight. Not something you're going to whip up right before the guests arrive, strudel takes time and loving care. Your first strudel effort may be less than perfect, but it will taste heavenly. Keep making it, and your baking prowess will be legendary. This is one of our recipes that celebrates the heritage of German settlers in the Central Texas Hill Country.
Heap the flour on a pastry board, making a well in the center. Into the well pour the beaten eggs, water, salt and vinegar. Starting from the outside edge, combine the ingredients with your fingers, and knead until dough is smooth and pliable and does not stick to the pastry board. Cover and set the dough aside in a warm place, or cover with a warm mixing bowl for 1 hour.
While the dough is resting, preheat the oven to 400°F. Place a pastry cloth or large, clean dishcloth or tablecloth on a work surface (like a table) large enough to accommodate it. Sprinkle with several tablespoons of flour and lightly work it into the cloth.
Roll out the dough on the pastry cloth in a rectangular shape, the thinner the better. Mix the 6 tablespoons melted butter with the bread crumbs and spread over the surface of the dough. Then, spread the apple mixture about 1 inch thick over the dough, leaving a 1-inch border of dough. Sprinkle evenly with toasted almonds and raisins.
Starting on the long side of the dough, lift the cloth and begin rolling the dough and apple topping, jelly-roll fashion, to form the strudel. Seal seam and tuck the ends under to seal.
Carefully slide the strudel onto a greased baking sheet. Nudge the strudel into a crescent shape or, if you can manage it, a horseshoe shape. Brush with 1 tablespoon melted butter. Bake at 400°F for 20 minutes. Then lower heat to 350°F and brush with remaining 1 tablespoon butter. Bake for an additional 15 minutes or until golden brown.
Remove from oven, dust with confectioner's sugar if desired, slice diagonally and serve.
Makes 10 servings.
Prep time: 1 hour 15 minutes; Cooking time: 35 minutes; Total time: 2 hours 50 minutes
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