I don’t know about you but I am sucker for anything with an apple and cinnamon filling and so apple strudel is one of my favourite sweet treats. It’s quite a traditional thing to bake for Xmas in many countries of central Europe and it used to be a staple of my childhood Xmas too. Strudel has quite a reputation for being impossible to make, but I don’t actually think it is that difficult provided you don’t expect yours to rival that of an accomplished strudel master on your first try 😉 .
The dough traditionally used for strudel resembles that used to make pierogi or ravioli. It’s made of wheat flour and oil and most of the non-vegan versions contain an egg, which I replaced with extra oil for good dough elasticity. Elasticity is what scares most people. The dough is first rolled out using a rolling pin and then stretched out super thinly using your hands. The thinner the dough the better and it is said that you must be able to read a newspaper print through it or at the very least clearly see the pattern of the kitchen towel underneath.
If handling a massive sheet of dough in your hands scares you, don’t worry. Simply roll it out as thinly as you can using a rolling pin and then gently stretch with your hands without lifting it off the table – just be sure go round the table pulling the dough very gently in all directions.
While strudel does taste heavenly, it is not much of a looker so please do not get discouraged if it doesn’t look that appetising when you are done with it. Sprinkle it with a generous amount of icing sugar and serve it still warm with (it’s not traditional to do that) or without a scoop of vanilla ice cream for that nice contrast between hot and cold. Enjoy!
PS: If you make my vegan apple strudel, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram as @lazycatkitchen and use the #lazycatkitchen hashtag. I love seeing your takes on my recipes!
25 g / 2 tbsp neutral tasting oil (I used coconut oil (melted), plus more to grease
approx. 60 ml / ¼ cup warm water
15 g / 1 tbsp neutral tasting oil (I used coconut oil (melted)
30 g / 3 tbsp breadcrumbs, toasted on a dry pan
800 g / 28 oz apples (I recommend sour apples, like Bramley)
approx. 100 g / ½ cup sugar* (coconut sugar for refined sugar free version)
1-1½ tsp ground cinnamon, adjust to taste
30 g / ¼ cup raisins, soaked in boiling water for 10 min (optional)
icing sugar, to decorate
Mix flour and salt together in a medium mixing bowl.
Add oil and warm water and mix together with a fork until scraggly dough forms.
Empty the dough onto the work surface and knead for about 10 minutes alternating between kneading the dough and throwing the dough ball against the work bench as if you wanted to bounce it off. By the time you’ve finished the dough should be elastic and silky smooth.
Form the dough into a ball, grease it lightly and place it on plate. Cover it with an upside down bowl rinsed with hot boiling water. Rest the dough for about 30 minutes and move onto the filling (see below).
Just before you are ready to roll out the dough, preheat the oven to 200° C / 390° F. Line a large baking tray with a piece of baking paper.
Once the dough has rested and the filling is ready, roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface.
Keep on rolling the dough until it is so thin that you can see the pattern of your workbench. If you have the skills you can grab the rolled out dough and stretch it gently in all directions using closed fists (remove all your jewellery beforehand) so that you don’t tear holes in the dough. I have simply rolled it out as much as I could using a rolling pin and then placed it on a clean kitchen towel (which is handy to help you roll the strudel later) and gently stretched the dough using my hands, remembering not to pull too much in one direction at once. The thinner the dough the better but if you are a beginner, don’t worry, do the best you can! If you get any small tears, patch them up quickly.
Go round your dough and cut off thick edges with a sharp knife as you don’t want thick lumps of pastry anywhere in a strudel. Brush the entire sheet with a little oil and generously sprinkle with toasted breadcrumbs.
Decide where your filling is going to go, taking into account the size of your baking tray. Designate the area for the filling leaving a wide margin alongside the filling so that you could cover the filling with it and a smaller margin at both ends. Pile the filling in the designated area making sure that it is compact and even.
Start folding the pastry over the filling like you would fold a burrito. Fold the sides over the filling first and then the bottom flap of pastry – see photo above.
Using the kitchen towel underneath – roll the strudel so that it gets wrapped up in the rest of the pastry as it rolls – see photo above.
Using your kitchen towel, transfer the log gently to the prepared baking tray. Brush the strudel with oil.
Bake for about 45 minutes – until golden. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with icing sugar and allow it to cool off a little before cutting.
Peel and core your apples and slice them paper thin using a sharp knife or a mandolin.
Just before filling the strudel, mix in sugar, cinnamon and well drained raisins. Mix well and fill the strudel.
*The amount of sugar depends on the variety of apples used and your personal preference. I used sour cooking apples (Bramley) and 1/3 cup sugar as I like a bit of tang in an apple filling and the strudel gets a good sprinkling of icing sugar too, but please adjust to your taste.