Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Strudeling through the Val Gardena

Feb. 2010 159

On Wednesday, she ate apple strudel. And on Thursday she ate apple strudel. Same goes for Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday – all in the interest of research mind you. When you’re in the beautiful Dolomite mountains of Italy’s Val Gardena, you can’t avoid apple strudel. I don’t try to. I embrace my apple strudel gene. In fact, I think my husband has one type of apple strudel gene and I have the other (more below). Well maybe I have many more of the other since I ate apple strudel daily along the ski trails in the Val Gardena.

image My husband prefers the apple strudel with the thin, phyllo-type pastry, commonly eaten in Vienna and throughout Austria. It’s offered at many places in the Val Gardena too, which is not too far from the Austrian border. Mind you, I won’t turn this down either.

Jan-Feb 2010 Italy 552  But in pursuit of my favorite kind – the kind with a “cakier” type of pastry – I had to stop at a refugio or restaurant each day to try out the different versions along the slopes. This one at the top of the Ciampinoi gondola is more my style:

Jan-Feb 2010 Italy 508 And if it comes with vanilla sauce (crème anglais) that’s not too thick and a cafe macchiato, like this one at the Spitzbuhel refugio, so much the better:

Jan-Feb 2010 Italy 587Now if ever there was a temptation to flee with the goods, here it was, fresh from the oven and cooling out in the open:

Jan-Feb 2010 Italy 554

On my last day of skiing, we stopped for a final apple strudel before heading down the mountain, and it was perfect – just the way I like it, and with a crème anglais that wasn’t too thick. Jan-Feb 2010 Italy 710

To my surprise, Sonia, a barista working at the restaurant – the Mont Seuc on the Alpi Di Siusi - gave me the recipe for the pastry – something she called 1,2,3. If you read the Italian recipe she gave me, it’s named 1,2,3 because it requires 100 grams of sugar, 200 grams of butter, and 300 grams of flour. Don’t worry, I’ve given you the recipe in English too. The filling is the same as I used in the apple strudel recipe I blogged about last year. However, I overstuffed the strudel this time and still had too much left over. So in making the recipe, I would use six small apples, rather than six large apples (or use four large ones.)

I’ll take you though the process, step by step:

After you make the dough and let it rest in the refrigerator a half hour, roll it out on a floured board to about 18” by 12”. Notice that there are little bits of butter still in the dough – that makes for a flakier crust, so don’t mix it so much that it’s completely homogenous.

Feb. 2010 104 Take a floured rolling pin and wrap it around one end, continuing loosely to at least half-way on the pastry:

Feb. 2010 105  Carefully lift it and place it on a cookie sheet that has been lined with parchment paper, then dump the apple filling along the center. I had to remove some of these apples, because it was too much to allow the pastry to close.

Feb. 2010 108

Bring the ends of the pastry together and seal shut, using a little water to moisten the edges. Here’s what it should look like. At this point, you may be wondering how to turn it over without breaking it. It’s simple. Just take another cookie sheet lined with parchment and place on top of the strudel. 

Feb. 2010 109

Then flip it over and you’ve got a nice clean-looking pastry with no patched-together areas. But don’t make the mistake I made and bake it just like this. Now you've got to poke a few holes to let the steam escape – something I forgot to do.

Feb. 2010 110  Otherwise, you end up with a strudel that looks like it underwent surgery and now the doctors can’t figure out how to get the parts back together:

Feb. 2010 114 But even that doesn’t matter, because it all tastes fabulous and once you get the powdered sugar on top and a puddle of vanilla sauce beneath, nobody will even notice the rupture.

Feb. 2010 164 See? What did I tell you?

So what are you waiting for? Maybe you won’t have the benefit of the alps to get you going, so I’m sending you a few recent photos from our recent trip to the beautiful Val Gardena to give your apple strudel gene some inspiration:

Jan-Feb 2010 Italy 702 Jan-Feb 2010 Italy 693 Jan-Feb 2010 Italy 662  Jan-Feb 2010 Italy 667

Jan-Feb 2010 Italy 673

1,2,3 Apple Strudel

printable recipe here

1/2 cup sugar (use slightly more if you like a sweeter dough)

1 stick plus 6 T. softened unsalted butter

2 cups flour

pinch of salt

1 t. vanilla

4 medium eggs (if you use large or extra large eggs, add a bit more flour - maybe 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup)

6 small apples, peeled and sliced thinly (or four large ones)
3/4 cup finely grated breadcrumbs
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
1/2 cup white raisins, soaked in rum
1/2 t. cinnamon
pinch of cloves
pinch of grated nutmeg

grated peel from 1/2 lemon

one beaten egg yolk to brush on dough

Blend the flour and butter in a food processor. Pulse until butter is broken up and mixed with flour (but don’t over mix or you’ll get a tough dough) Add the sugar and salt, then add eggs, one at a time, pulsing just enough to blend. (Alternately, mix everything in a mixer.) When everything is well blended, place the dough on a work surface. If the dough is too sticky to work, you need to a bit more flour, so just knead it in, but don’t overwork it. (I needed to add another 1/2 cup or so of flour). Wrap in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 1/2 hour to make it easier to roll out.

On a floured surface, roll dough to about 12” x 18”. I actually roll it out right on a sheet of parchment paper so I can transfer it easily to a cookie sheet. Mix all the filling ingredients in a bowl and place in a line down the middle of the dough. Bring the long ends together, moistening the ends with water to help them stick.

Flip over onto another cookie sheet that’s been lined with parchment. Prick in several places to allow steam to escape. Brush with beaten egg yolk. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to 1 hour, turning the pan in the oven at the midway point.

Sprinkle with powdered sugar when ready to serve.

In Italiano:

1,2,3 Apple Strudel

100 gr. zucchero

200 gr. burro

300 gr. farina 00

4 uova

un pizzico di sale

1 bustina zucchero vanigliato


  1. Ummm...I want to be!!!
    I want to make that right now!

  2. Look at the ski bunnies!!!

    I like the "top of the gondola" version the best. My mouth is watering. I love apple strudel, and never realized how many types there were, depending on the region.
    I like to make an easy version with frozen puff pastry and raisins in the fall.

  3. linda, io sono andata per anni a sciare ad ortisei e mi sono sempre mangiata trooooooppo volentieri lo strudel!!! Belle le tue foto e bello lo strudel. un bacione

  4. This looks like a wonderful recipe Linda...the dough much easier than stretching dough thin enough to cover a tabletop...I have only done that once...
    I love the look of it and I can tell it is delicious!
    Thanks for sharing!

  5. Wow wonderful photos. I think I would be with the little children, I have no idea how to ski!

    I am going to make this, looks pretty easy.

  6. I grinned all through this. You are one heckuva researcher! (Oh! And I covet your plate). I adore strudel in all ways, always. I will be making this. I will pierce holes in the dough. I will eat it no matter what! Love the little ones on the top of the slopes. My first time on skiis, I plowed down the intermediate class. And I never got better. But the vistas were worth it. Happy strudelling!

  7. This looks so delicious. I have never wanted to attempt the dough of strudel, it's nice to see something not so complicated. Your travels also look wonderful!!

  8. It's a shame we went to the same place in different times of the year. We could have met! The only thign I have to say, we couldn't fidn a decent apple strudel anywhere adn we did try at least four different places! They were all cold and sometimes with raw pastry. Awful.
    But we wer only up on Alpe di Siusi I have to say.
    Anyway. 1, 2, 3. Must try.
    Lovely pics.

  9. Like others who have commented, I also didn't know that strudel had regional variations and was made with any other dough than the thin, flaky kind which alas, I never learned to make from my grandmother's, avid bakers all. This regional variety with the thicker pastry looks heavenly. I would fire up the oven right now if I weren't in the midst of three other baking (and art) projects! But I'll put it on my list. I love the photo of the strudel resting outside to cool - you did have some self-control not to take it! (or at least steal a little corner . . .) Enjoying immensely all these gorgeous and delicious looking posts from your trip. Thank you.

  10. I'm making this-it looks wonderful! Thanks for the recipe.

  11. I can totally make strudel with this recipe! thanks

  12. Oh how I would love to strudel my way through the Alps! All of the strudels look so delicious - your photos are gorgeous. I have never made apple strudel but I will definitely be trying out your recipe.

  13. you have been on a mission since you got back! love the photos and the strudel looks amazing.

  14. If I had that view before me, a capucino, and that strudel, (either one) I would think I died and gone to heaven! Can I be you for a day?

  15. Your photos are fantastic and now I'm seriously jonesing for some strudel!

  16. Won-der-ful post Linda! I believe I am going to try your recipe this weekend...the photos are so beautiful and show exactly what you feel while in those wonderful places.

  17. I have been craving apple pie...this would work! You want to come and make me some, by chance? ;)

    P.S. If you'd like to exchange links, please send me an email:


  18. Okay, so this is ridiculously beautiful. The dream of the good life. Place and food and nature all together. Oh those snowy mountains. Oh those apples.

  19. Looks like a great time was had by all, it is beautiful there, just stunning, and the apple strudel don't look too bad either-who needs toasted mini wheats when this could be my breakfast!

  20. I am so inspired by this post, Linda, I am ready to make some strudel. I had no idea there were so many different kinds. Your photos capture it so well. Bellisimo!
    And I love that plate. :)

  21. I want to spend the rest of my days studying apple strudel.
    Wonderful post!

  22. I love strudel and can't think of a better dessert to have after a fun day of skiing!

  23. Wonderful photos! It looks like a magical area to ski!Your strudel sampling story reminds me of our last family trip to Italy.  We traveled for a month from the sole of the foot up to Torinno and Sousa.  Every place we visited we felt obligated to sample the gelato! I may have returned home 10 pounds heavier, but it was worth it! :-)This apple strudel dough is so much easier than making the laminated style German strudel dough .. and I'm all for that!

  24. How gorgegous! I love your photo's of your skiing trip! How lucky you are! Beautiful plate the apple strudel is on.

  25. I worked on the mountain in Aspen for Gretl Uhl in the late 1970's, she was famous for her strudel.

    Your post reminded me of her, so I went and googled, and found a website about her life.

    Thanks for the inspiration to do that.