When I was growing up my mother used to make the most amazing apple strudel. It has been years since I have tasted this fall treat with apples picked right off the tree in our backyard. When I was back in Iowa last month I made my mother dig deep into her memory banks and teach me how to make it. It tasted as good if not better than I remembered it. I knew this recipe was a keeper, so the best way to remember something is to teach it to someone else. Fortunately for me, I had two willing participants. My niece Liz and my most adorable and energetic great niece Halle were up to the task. They completed the mission with excellent results.
The 4-ingredient dough is simply mixed together and chilled for 3-4 hours. Chop the apples into small pieces. I left the peeling on because they were organic from my parents tree. If you use store bought apples scrub the skins well or peel. Mix apples with lemon juice and spices and set aside. Divide the dough into 3 equal-sized pieces. Put 2 pieces in the refrigerator until you are ready to roll them. Roll out the first ball on a floured surface into 14-16″ rectangle. Spread 1/3 of apple filling along the 14″ side, about 2 inches away from the edge. Carefully roll up the dough around the filling. Place the roll on an un-greased baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining two pieces of dough and apples. Sprinkle the top with cinnamon and bake for 40-50 minutes. They was quite the discussion on how to measure the powdered sugar glaze and my mom is convinced everyone knows how to make it. But we finally worked out the recipe. Simply mix powdered sugar, melted butter, vanilla and milk – 1 tablespoon at a time, until spreadable (mixture will thicken slightly as it sets). When strudel is out of the oven and still hot, pour glaze over strudel.
- 1 cup butter, room temperature (I always use Kerrygold)
- 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- 2 cups flour
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- 4 cups apples, chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon almond extract (or vanilla)
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ginger
- Optional: ½ cup chopped walnut
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons milk
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Put butter and cream cheese in a mixer and blend until smooth. Mix in flour and powdered sugar. Chill dough for 3-4 hours.
- Mix chop apples with lemon juice, almond extract and spices. Mix in walnuts if desired.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Divide dough into 3 equal parts. Roll out first ball on a floured surface into 14-16" rectangle. Spread ⅓ of apple filling along the 14" side, about 2 inches from the edge. Carefully roll up.
- Place roll on an un-greased baking sheet, seam side down. Repeat with remaining two strudels.
- Bake for 40-45 minutes.
- While the strudel is baking, make the glaze.
- Mix powdered sugar, melted butter, vanilla and milk - 1 tablespoon at a time, until spreadable (mixture will thicken slightly as it sets).
- When strudel is out of the oven and still hot, pour glaze over strudel.
- Serve with ice cream or whip cream.
The hardest part is rolling out the dough, and if child can do, so can you. Special thanks to my mom for being a great baker and my nieces for doing such a great job with a family favorite. May great family recipes never get lost. …and then, she paused for thought.