Is Apple Strudel Italian?

Strudel di Mele History

Apple Strudel is considered to be the national dish of Austria. However, this cherished dessert is celebrated on both sides of the border. Trentino Alto-Adige was part of Austria before World War I and because of this tie, Austria and Trentino share many traditions including some dishes. Here’s a little foodie history and our favorite Strudel di Mele recipe that may have you yearning to visit Trentino!

 

Strudel di Mele (apple strudel) from Trentino ingredients.
Strudel di Mele from the Trentino Alto-Adige region contains Pine nuts and Renneta apples.

 

Some Strudel Facts

First of all, puff pastry is believed to have originated in Turkey – think of Baklava.

It is said that the best apples in Europe come from Trentino Alto-Adige, where apple orchards are situated at very high altitudes.

The word strudel is of course, Austrian and it means whirlpool because of the swirls of filling between the layers of puff pastry.

 

apple orchard in Val di Non
Apple Orchard in Val di Non.

You’ll find apple strudel on the menu of most restaurants in Trentino Alto-Adige. However, residents near Val di Non say that their version is the best.  The Renetta apple is the variety typically used and it’s both sour and sweet.

The Renetta apple originated in France where it is called “Reine” meaning queen. The variety spread throughout Europe in the 1600 and arrived in the Non Valley at the end of the 1800.

See the benefits of adding the Renetta apple to your diet below the recipe. 👇🏼

If you’re in Canada, you can probably find them, otherwise substitute Golden Delicious apples.

 

How to Make Strudel di Mele

We looked for the most authentic apple strudel recipe from Trentino, although there are many versions that you may wish to try.

 

sprinkling confectioners' sugar on apple strudel (strudel di meli)
Making Strudel di Mele is easy!

For the pastry:

 

  • 2 1/2 cups (300 grams) flour
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) warm water
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons sunflower oil, plus more for brushing
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar (white wine or apple cider are best)

For the filling:

 

  • 4 apples (Golden Delicious preferably), about 750 grams
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 tablespoons (50 grams) currants
  • 2 tablespoons (30 grams) pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup (60 grams) turbinado sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2/3 cup (70 grams) breadcrumbs
  • 1/3 cup (80 grams) butter
  • 2 tablespoons rum, optional
  • confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Place the flour in a bowl and make a well in the center. Place the water, egg, 2 teaspoons olive oil, salt, and vinegar in the center and whisk with a fork to combine, until it begins to get too difficult to whisk. From here, knead the dough until soft, elastic, and well-combined. Brush the dough with olive oil and let rest, covered, in a bowl for 30 minutes.

Peel and core the apples, and chop them into thin slices, then place immediately in a bowl with the zest and juice of the lemon and toss. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, combine the currants, pine nuts, turbinado sugar, and cinnamon. Set aside.

In a small skillet, toast the breadcrumbs in half of the butter over a medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes, until the breadcrumbs become coated in the butter. Set aside.

Divide the pastry into 2 balls. Roll out 1 ball of pastry on a floured tea towel to a rectangle roughly 12 x 16 inches (30 x 40cm) and thin enough to see your hand through the other side.

Brush melted butter over the whole pastry.

Scatter half of the toasted breadcrumbs evenly over the pastry, leaving a border of about 4 inches (10cm).

Combine the chopped apples with the currant mixture and the rum (if using), then toss to combine.

Place half of the apple mixture (drained from the liquid) over the breadcrumbs and, with the help of the tea towel, gently fold the pastry from the long side, then roll to close the pastry firmly (but not so tight that it stretches and breaks!). Fold the ends underneath.

Transfer the pastry to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and brush with melted butter to cover entirely. Repeat with the rest of the pastry and filling to create the second strudel.

Bake the strudels at 350ºF (180ºC) for about 30 minutes, or until the top is golden brown. Let cool slightly, then transfer to a baking rack. Dust with confectioners’ sugar.

Enjoy either warm or cold with a dollop of whip cream or vanilla ice cream if desired!

 

An Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor Away!

 

Renneta apples from the Trentino Alto-Adige region.
Renetta apples from the Trentino Alto-Adige region.

It’s the truth! The Renetta is a panacea and is full of anti-aging elements. This variety also keeps all of its antioxidants even after cooking.

Learn more about apples from Trentino at the Melinda consortium’s website.

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