Desserts/ Recipes

German Apple Strudel (Apfelstrudel)

A traditional German apple strudel (apfelstrudel) made simple with flaky layers of pre-made phyllo dough and a deliciously sweet apple filling.

We have been so busy over here! The past few weeks have involved remodeling our kitchen (I have plans to share the finished kitchen with you!) and working on Venture Creative projects. Life has been craaazy and it shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. But, I guess it’s better to be busy than bored, right?

With the holidays fast approaching, I figured it is about time I share another dessert recipe on here. This one is perfect for Thanksgiving or Christmas, and it gives nod to my German heritage.

Jacob and I traveled to Germany, Austria, and Italy last year. It was so cool to finally travel to the land of my ancestors (my grandpa moved to the states from Germany when he was a kid). Germany was one country I have always wanted to visit, and it certainly did not disappoint. The forests were so lush and green, probably more so than any forest I have seen. And the castles everywhere were absolutely stunning. One of my favorite parts about Europe is all of the history and the beautiful buildings that have been there for centuries. There is nothing quite like it here in the states! But of course one of the things I loved about Germany, and one of the many reasons why I travel, is the food. 

When we visited Germany, we shared an apple strudel with vanilla ice cream at a cute little restaurant. The flaky pastry layers with sweet apple filling and juicy plump raisins was a pleasant treat. I couldn’t get enough! So, of course, I have since decided to recreate it at home. But with a baby on my hands, I decided I needed to take the easy route with this recipe. Instead of making the dough by hand, I used frozen phyllo dough. I know it’s not as authentic this way, but it’s just as tasty. And it’s much easier if you don’t have the time or energy to make your own dough (kudos to you if you do though!).

Apple strudel on a white plate.

Ingredients in German Apple Strudel

  • Apples: I like to use a combination of Gala and Granny Smith apples.
  • Cinnamon
  • Lemon juice: Lemon juice balances out the sweetness and prevents the apples from burning.
  • Sugar: Try substituting for brown sugar if you want the filling to have a richer flavor.
  • Flour
  • Salt
  • Raisins: Soak the raisins for ten minutes, prior to making the strudel, if you want them to be plump and juicy.
  • Panko: Panko adds the perfect texture to the filling.
  • Butter
  • Frozen filo dough: Since we’re taking the easy route, I’ve opted to use frozen filo dough for the strudel. But, if you are filling super ambitious, you could always make your own dough!
  • Eggs
  • Vanilla
  • Milk
  • Heavy cream: For the vanilla sauce, you can omit the milk and use all heavy cream if you want a richer sauce.
Close up shot of apple strudel.

Apple strudel is traditionally served with vanilla ice cream, vanilla sauce, or whipped cream. So I’ve included the recipe for vanilla sauce as well, which I highly recommend making to go with your apple strudel!

This dessert will be the perfect addition to your Thanksgiving or Christmas feast. You could even switch things up a bit this year and enjoy apple strudel instead of pie for dessert. Although, I don’t think anyone would complain about having both!

What is the difference between apple strudel and apple streusel?

Apple strudel is made with thin sheets of pastry dough that are wrapped around a filling. Streusel is a sweet crumbly topping made up of sugar, flour, and butter that is often used to top muffins and quick bread. They sound similar, but the two are very different!

Should apple strudel be served hot or cold?

Apple strudel can technically be served hot or cold, but I prefer to enjoy it hot served with ice cream or vanilla sauce.

Slice of apple strudel.

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Apple Strudel
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
35 mins
 

A traditional German apple strudel made simple with flaky layers of pre-made phyllo dough and a deliciously sweet apple filling.

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: German
Keyword: apple
Servings: 2 strudels
Ingredients
Apple Strudel
  • 2 large apples peeled, cored and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 3 Tbsp flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 2/3 cups panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter melted
  • 2 rolls frozen filo dough
Vanilla Sauce
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • dash of salt
Instructions
Apple Strudel
  1. Preheat the oven to 350. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. In a small bowl, soak raisins in hot water for 10 mins. Drain and add to a large mixing bowl along with the apples, cinnamon, lemon juice, sugar, flour, salt, raisins, and breadcrumbs.

  2. On a linen towel, place down one sheet of filo and brush with melted butter. Lay another sheet on top, then brush with more butter. Repeat until you’ve used all filo sheets. Make sure to cover the unused filo dough with a towel while you are working to keep it from drying out.

  3. Turn filo dough so the short side is facing you. Pile half of the apple filling on the third of dough closest to you, leaving a 2” border on one side. Fold the short edges over the Filling. Roll up jelly-roll style, starting with the side with the 2-inch border.

  4. Repeat steps two and three with the second roll of filo dough.

  5. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet and brush with melted butter.

  6. Bake until golden brown, about 35 minutes. Let cool to room temperature, then sprinkle with powdered sugar and cinnamon before serving.

Vanilla Sauce
  1. Beat the egg yolks and sugar together until the yolks are thick and pale yellow and the sugar is dissolved about 4 minutes.

  2. Bring the milk to a boil in a saucepan. Transfer to the bowl with the egg yolks and sugar by slowly pouring in a thin stream, while whisking or using an electric mixer at the same time.

  3. Pour mixture back into pan and heat over low heat, whisking constantly for 2-3 minutes or until it coats the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract or vanilla bean. Pour through a fine sieve. Serve with the apple strudel.

Recipe Notes
  • If the vanilla sauce curdles, you can blend it in a blender for a smooth sauce.
  • If you want a richer sauce, you can use cream instead of milk.

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