Legendary Dishes | Apfelstrudel (coiled apple pastry)


The ascent of strudel was thought to have reached its nadir when this delicate pastry came to epitomise the Viennese kitchen in the 1800s.

The thinly drawn dough that makes the strudel iconic has its origins in ancient Assyria. It was associated with the Ottoman Turks and the Spanish Moors, and known as ‘Spanish Dough’ in cookbooks of the 1700s.

By then it was an established aspect of pastry baking throughout the period of the Austro-Hungarian empire, moving westwards from Budapest to Vienna and Salzburg.

The strudel went through various changes until it started to resemble a coiled pastry. Fillings included beans, cheese, fruit, gourds, leaf and root vegetables, meat, nuts and seeds and rice.

When Anna Dorn mentioned ‘solid apple strudel’ in the Great Viennese Cookbook in 1827, the strudel had been boiled and baked over open fires for 200 years.

Strudel cookery changed with the emergence of oven baking and white flour. The translucent dough became crispy, and the apple strudel became legendary.

Ground cinnamon, soaked raisins and toasted breadcrumbs (from kipfel bread) complimented the tart apple filling to produce a sweet-sour taste.

In Vienna sour cream was added to accentuate that sourness. In Salzburg the apfelstrudel was sweetened and softened with warm milk. In Berlin kirsch was added to the raisins and walnuts were included in the filling.

Sugar was used to offset the acidity of the tart apples, which included a range that became known as ‘Strudler Apples’.

Gradually, throughout the 20th century, apfelstrudel epitomised the art of the Viennese patisserie, and somehow the relationship with its Assyrian, Arabian, Moorish and Turkish origins were forgotten.

Altweiner Apfelstrudel


  • 300 g flour
  • 160 ml water
  • 30 g oil
  • Salt, large pinch


  • 1.5 kg apples, peeled, cored, cut into 3 mm slices
  • 250 ml sour cream (optional)
  • 200 g caster sugar
  • 125 g breadcrumbs
  • 125 g raisins
  • 90 g butter


  • 100 g icing sugar
  • 60 g butter

Combine flour, salt, oil and water, knead into a smooth dough, cover with clingfilm and leave for 45 minutes.

Melt butter in frying pan, increase heat and fry breadcrumbs. Remove from heat, mix in sugar.

Place dough on a floured cloth, roll out until transparent.

Preheat oven to 220°C.

Spread sweetened breadcrumbs and raisins along a third of the dough. Arrange apple slices on top. If using cream spoon onto apples.

Dress the other two-thirds of dough with melted butter.

Using the cloth, fold the buttered dough over the filled dough, seal at ends, brush surface with melted butter.

Bake for 20 minutes.

Take out and brush with remaining butter.

Bake for 15 minutes.

While the strudel is still warm, sprinkle with icing sugar.

Salzburger Apfelstrudel

A thoroughly modern rural version.


  • 250 g white wheat flour
  • 250 g wholewheat flour, bran sifted out
  • 125 ml milk, warmed
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 25 g butter
  • 15 g honey
  • 10 g yeast
  • 5 g salt
  • 1.25 kg apples, peeled, cored, cut into 3 mm slices
  • 200 g raisins, soaked in lemon juice
  • 150 g hazelnuts, toasted
  • 150 g sugar
  • 125 g breadcrumbs, toasted in butter
  • 10 g cinnamon
  • 1 lemon, juiced butter flakes

Dissolve yeast in milk and honey.

Sieve flours into a large bowl, add salt, yeast mixture, yolks and butter. Work into a stiff dough, adding more milk if necessary, knead, cover and leave to rise for two hours.

Divide dough into three pieces. Roll each piece out on a floured cloth until transparent.

Preheat oven to 220°C.

One at a time place each sheet of dough on greaseproof paper on a baking tray, spread one third of sheet with breadcrumbs, cinnamon, sugar, raisins, hazelnuts and apples, fold, seal ends, brush surface with butter.

Bake 30 minutes.

Adapted from Salzburg Agriculture



  • 300 g flour
  • 125 ml water
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 15 ml oil
  • Salt, pinch


  • 1.5 kg apples, peeled, cored, quartered and sliced
  • 200 g raisins
  • 150 g almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, chopped
  • 125 g breadcrumbs
  • 100 g butter
  • 100 g sugar
  • 50 ml kirsch / rum
  • 10 g cinnamon
  • 10 g vanilla sugar
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 lemon, zest


  • 100 g icing sugar
  • 60 g butter

Soak raisins in lemon juice and kirsch or rum overnight.

Sift flour with salt, mix in egg and oil and water, and knead lightly to form a soft dough. Rest for 45 minutes.

Gently fold the apples into the raisin mixture with cinnamon.

Melt butter in a frying pan, add breadcrumbs, coat and brown. Leave to cool, add vanilla sugar and zest.

Cut dough into four equal balls.

On a floured cloth and with floured hands roll out each ball to the length of a baking tray until it is transparent. Trim the edges to leave a long rectangle. Cut the discarded dough into strips.

Place one at a time on a greased tray, line the central isle with toasted breadcrumbs, followed by nuts, rows of apple slices and raisins. Sprinkle with sugar, less if a sour taste is required. Fold each side into the centre, overlapping one edge. seal with milk or melted butter.

Preheat oven to 180°C.

Decorate each strudel with strips in a crisscross action to form diamonds. Brush with butter.

Bake for 35 minutes, turn each strudel after 20.

Dust with icing sugar.

INDIGENOUS INGREDIENT = Austrian Apples | Austrian Wheat