Apple Strudel is a tasty, fruity treat that provides a base of yummy dough surrounding naturally sweet apples. It’s a delightful dish that is often eaten as a dessert but some people certainly cheat and also enjoy it as a breakfast pastry.
According to some people, every day should be ‘apfelstrudel’ day–to give it its proper Austrian name. No matter what it is called, it’s time to learn about and celebrate National Apple Strudel Day!
History of National Apple Strudel Day
A dish that probably dates back to medieval times, Apple strudel consists of a center of apple slices, cinnamon, sugar and (sometimes, but not always) raisins. These ingredients are wrapped in crispy layers of pastry that puff up when baked in the oven. Often served with a dusting of powdered sugar and a dollop of thick cream, the apple strudel is a delicious display of comfort food at its finest.
Although many people think that this sweet dish comes from German origins, apple strudel is actually an Austrian food, hailing from Vienna. In fact, the original recipe for apple strudel, dated 1697, was handwritten in a Viennese cookbook and still survives today, in the Vienna Town Hall Library.
After its first recording, the dessert gained popularity throughout the Austro-Hungarian empire in the 18th century, making it an icon of the culture. However, due to the paper-thin layers of dough, it is actually possible that the recipe may have some influences from places further east, such as Turkey or possibly Greece (think baklava).
The German language meaning of strudel is “whirlpool”, “vortex” or “eddy”, which aptly describes the way the pastry layers tend to circle the filling.
Many varieties of this traditional dish have come into play over the years. In fact, nearly every family in Austria has its own particular recipe for apple strudel! Today, different types of strudel are eaten, including cheese strudel, apricot strudel, poppy seed strudel or even a savory strudel made with spinach.
All of these varieties are likely fun and delicious adventure, but they always point back to the iconic classic that is celebrated on this day: National Apple Strudel Day.
How to Celebrate National Apple Strudel Day
Get excited about National Apple Strudel Day by celebrating with some of these activities or coming up with other creative ideas:
Make Apple Strudel at Home
When creating this dish, the layers need to be worked until they are thin enough to read through. Now that’s thin! This dessert can be easy to create at home, using layers of buttered filo pastry, wrapped around layers of stewed apples.
The easiest apple strudel recipe will likely use a premade, refrigerated puff pastry dough, instead of having to make up and roll out the yeast dough at home. Once the premade puff pastry is secured, getting a few apples peeled, sliced, and prepared is actually pretty easy! Try out this simple recipe:
Easy Apple Strudel Recipe
- 3 Apples (Granny Smith or other tart apples) peeled and sliced ¼ inch thick
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 3 Tbsp flour
- ½ cup raisins (if preferred)
Mix these ingredients together in a bowl and stir just until evenly coated. Spread puff pastry out on a baking sheet and place apple mixture in the center (lengthwise). Fold the dough over the filling and press the edges together (use water as needed). Brush the top with an egg wash (1 egg and ¼ cup milk) and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Bake at 350 degrees F for 35-40 minutes.
Voila! Delicious apple strudel with very little work. Serve with a dollop of custard, whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. Share with family and friends in honor of National Apple Strudel Day!
Of course, those who are feeling more adventurous and want to challenge their inner pastry chef can certainly start with a yeast recipe to roll out their own flaky, layered dough. In any case, it is sure to make a delectable treat.
Enjoy an Apple Strudel in Vienna, Austria
There can probably be no better place to truly enjoy an apple strudel than in a bakery right in the center of Vienna, Austria. In these Viennese bakeries, it’s not just a pastry, it is culinary art:
- Cafe Landtmann. Located in an exquisite hotel in Vienna, this Patisserie has grown up since the 1970s and is dedicated to handcrafting all of their pastries, including, of course, the classic apple strudel.
- Schönbrunn Palace’s Café Residenz. The ultimate visit to Vienna would include this show that takes place in the imperial bakery where, every hour, a professional pastry chef offers a demonstration of making apple strudel, along with tasting (including coffee, of course).
- Kaffee Alt Wein (Cafe Old Vienna). Enjoy authentic Viennese decor and ambiance in this cozy cafe. Located in the Old University Quarter, this cafe was founded in 1922 and has been a family business almost the entire time, since 1939. Don’t forget to pair a slice of apple strudel with their classic Viennese coffee blend that was developed almost 100 years ago.
Channel those Inner Austrian Roots
Just because a person can’t exactly travel to Vienna to pop into a little bakery doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy the day!
In an effort to celebrate the Austrian culture that brought apple strudel into the world, why not celebrate National Apple Strudel Day by donning lederhosen, practicing some yodeling, and settling down to a warming plateful with a mug of hot chocolate on the side?
Along those lines, go ahead and enjoy a meal of WienerSchnitzel and end it with Apple Strudel and, of course, a cup of Viennese coffee (espresso).
Watch A Strudel Inspired Film
Take a peek at these movies and make a game of enjoying the scenes that encompass Apple Strudel:
- Inglourious Basterds. This Quinten Tarantino film has viewers on the edge of their seats as the protagonist sits down for an apple strudel with her enemy and he insists that they must wait for the cream.
- Winter in Vail. This Hallmark Channel film features Lacey Chabert as an event planner who quits her job and moves to a chalet in Vail where she meets an attractive man who teaches her how to make apple strudel for a local event called the Strudel Fest. The storyline might be improbable but the strudel is still delicious.
- The Illusionist. Set in Vienna, a scene in this film depicts Edward Norton as a magician who is trying to win the heart of Jessica Biel, who plays a duchess. The two don’t technically share an apple strudel together–but is it wrong to wish they would? They are in Vienna, after all.
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. This conversation says it all: Queenie asks Newt if he prefers pie or strudel. Newt replies that he has no preference, so Queenie corrects him and says, “You prefer strudel, huh, honey? Strudel it is.” Queenie must have known that it was National Apple Strudel Day, even in their fictitious world!