I didn’t pick my moment well when I asked Hotel Falkenstein for their Apple Strudel recipe. It was a warm sunny lunchtime, and the restaurant was packed with guests on their last open day of the year. As they were rushed off their feet, I didn’t want to ask a second time. Maybe it’s a secret anyway, it probably should be…
We have a particularly generous apple tree in the corner of our garden. If the blossom is anything to go by, we can always tell that we are in for a bumper crop, and this year was no exception.
I do feel bad that we don’t make the best of them, and had ambitious plans for taking our crop to the local farm to be pressed for juice as is quite typical in these parts. But of course, time waits for no-one, and apart from the odd crumble the birds and wasps have probably had the best of them this year. Up until now…
We don’t have much time when I get back from work, but as the weather’s most definitely on the change (winter tyres are on already!) we like to spend as much time as we can out in the sunshine whilst it’s still here.
I had thought Small Boy was busy being Thomas Müller (much to his father’s disappointment – he doesn’t have another family member to support his beloved Southampton FC – his offspring are very much FC Bayern fans!) but he suddenly appeared from the garden shed with something I didn’t even know we had – an apple picker – suggesting that if we got the last of the apples from the top of the tree, we (or rather I!) could make that strudel that we had recently enjoyed.
And although completely different to the amazing strudel we enjoyed in Wolfgangsee, I like to think this one was definitely worth a very heavy apple in the face.
Apple & Ginger Strudel
Preheat the oven to 200DegC.
6-8 medium to large apples – cooking or eating, it doesn’t matter which;
Good shop bought filo pastry (you could try making your own, but I won’t be doing an Expat Essential on that any time soon – they are the masters of it here after all!);
25g melted butter;
100g fine caster sugar;
70 chopped crystallised ginger (available in good oriental super markets if you can’t find it, for those of you resident here!);
Icing sugar to dust.
Slice the apples with a mandolin if you have one (watch your fingers, I have been banned from using ours many many times!), if not slice as thinly as possible (don’t worry about peeling them!) Rinse and place to once side in a bowl. You will need to work quickly to stop the apples from going brown by the way – or, if you live in a country where the supermarkets are open on a Sunday, you could go and buy a lemon and add a few drops to the bowl to stop this altogether!
On a clean tea-towel, lay the first sheet of filo pastry (there were four in our box!). Brush generously with melted butter, and lay another sheet on top. Continue until you are down to your last sheet.
Add the caster sugar and crystallised ginger to the sliced apples and give it a good mix. Lay the apples in a thick line down the middle of the pastry, then fold the pastry around the filling to give you that typical strudel shape, and brush the entire thing with the remaining butter. Lift the apple strudel with the help of the tea-towel and roll it gently on to a lined baking tray.
Bake for 20-25 minutes until the strudel is golden brown in colour. Leave to cool, dust with icing sugar and enjoy with cream, vanilla ice cream, or custard, or indeed all three…