My Family’s Recipes: Strucolo de Pomi
Words & Photography Giulia Mulè
Apple Strudel is a traditional Austrian dessert served in cafes and restaurants in the country all year round. This cake is also popular in the European regions that once belonged to the Austro-Hungarian empire, so it’s not uncommon to find it in the north-east of Italy (Trentino-Alto Adige, Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia). Many local variations exist, but the recipe I’m sharing with you today is from Trieste, a city in the north-east of Italy where my grandma lives. She makes the best apple strudel I have ever tasted, or “strucolo de pomi” as the apple strudel is called locally.
The secret to preparing the perfect “strucolo de pomi” is to make the dough from scratch and stretch it as thin as paper, so that it melts in the mouth when you are eating it. Another tip is to use different varieties of apples to get the perfect mix of sweet and sour taste and leave them to soak with sugar for a few hours before cooking them with breadcrumbs, raisins and cinnamon. Follow this recipe and tips to make the best apple strudel you will ever taste!
For the dough
250g plain flour
pinch of salt
2 tbsp sunflower oil
2 tbsp warm water
1 egg and 1 egg yolk
For the filling
1 kg mixed apples
1/2 small lemon
100g bread crumbs
60g unsalted butter
1-2 tbsp rum or brandy
50g pine nuts
2 tbsp cinnamon powder
1 egg yolk for brushing the cake
Peel and chop the apples into small pieces. Place them in a colander over a bowl and cover them with the sugar and lemon juice. Let them macerate for a few hours to release water. Leave the raisins to soak in a small bowl with the liquor for the same amount of time.
To prepare the dough, sift the flour on to a clean work surface. Add a pinch of salt and make a well in the middle. Pour the oil, egg, egg yolk and two tablespoons of warm water. Mix the ingredients into a soft batter then knead with your fingers until you obtain a smooth dough, not sticky. Add flour or more water if the dough is too wet or too dry.
Wrap the dough in a clean tea towel and leave it to rest for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Strain the raisins to remove any liquor left in the bowl. Fry the bread crumbs in a large pan with butter for a few minutes. Add the cinnamon, apples, raisins and pine nuts into the pan with low heat and mix well.
Stretch out the dough into a rectangle (long and narrow) on top of a sheet of baking paper. Make the dough as thin as possible without breaking it. Distribute the filling on the dough, leaving one centimeter out on each side.
Gently lift the edge of the paper and carefully roll the strudel, sealing the edges with your fingers. Transfer the baking paper with the strudel to the oven tray. Brush the strudel with one egg yolk (diluted with a teaspoon of water).
Bake in the oven for about 45 minutes. Serve warm. Sift icing sugar over the strudel just before serving.