Every family should have a grandma who loves to bake. If you don’t, I am so sorry for you!
In my family, it was my Grandma Bernadette. This women always had a bowl of lemon drops and M&Ms on the counter, a drawer of other candy treats, and a freezer full of ice cream. Needless to say, she was my favorite grandma.
But of all the sweet things my grandmother bought or made, everyone’s favorite was her apple strudel. Not only was it a staple dessert for any family gathering, it was also the one dessert that everyone tiptoed around. You had to feign politeness while trying to steal an extra piece without anyone seeing.
My grandmother was not the best at record-keeping. You either learned in person how to make apple strudel, or you suffered through her confusing written directions. Her directions did not include a list of ingredients with nice measured amounts; rather, the ingredients came along as she gave the directions. In addition, the measurements included “a bit,” “right size,” “nice thickness” and — my personal favorite — “goodly amount.”
Being a mother in the 1950s and 60s also gave her many conveniences, one of which was the invention of the packaged mix. Her favorite? Pillsbury Hot Roll Mix. This grocery shelf staple was the base for my grandmother’s strudel.
Now that my grandma has passed away, other relatives have tried to take her place as the official strudel baker. Sure, they all taste good, but none of them taste as good as hers, possibly because she really never told anyone just exactly how she did it.
I’ve decided to update the recipe just a tad. Rather than using the roll mix, I prefer to make my own dough from scratch. I’ve also included an ingredient list, measurements, and even baking times!
I hope you enjoy it as much as my family has, and remember the message my grandmother included for others while on their personal apple strudel journey, courtesy of her recipe: “Good luck. It took me a bit before I got it right, but I didn’t have any recipe. I just put it all together out of my little old head.”
1 package active dry yeast or 2¼ tsp active dry yeast
¼ cup water warmed to 110 degrees
1 cup milk, scalded to 180 degrees
4 Tbsp sugar
4 Tbsp butter
1 tsp salt
3½ cups flour
½ pint of heavy whipping cream
⅓ cup brown sugar
¼ cup butter, melted
½ cup brown sugar
5 medium tart apples, peeled and sliced evenly
¼ cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1. In a small bowl soften the yeast in the water. In large bowl combine the milk, sugar, butter and salt; cool to lukewarm, about 80 degrees. Add 1 cup of the flour; beat well. Beat in the yeast and egg. Gradually add remaining flour to form soft dough, beating well. Cover and let rise in a warm place until it has doubled in size, about 1½ to 2 hours.
2. When the dough has risen roll it out on a floured surface to 9” by 12”. Brush the melted butter over the dough and sprinkle the ½ cup brown sugar over the butter. Spread the apples over the dough to within an inch of the sides. Sprinkle the ¼ cup brown sugar and cinnamon over the apples. Roll the dough starting on the long side and rolling to end with a log that measures 4” by 12” and pinch the sides to prevent the filling from spilling out.
3. In a jelly roll pan mix the whipping cream and ⅓ cup brown sugar. Carefully lift the strudel into the center of the jelly roll pan, being careful not to rip the dough. Cover with a dishcloth and let rise in a warm place for 15 minutes.
4. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 35-40 minutes until golden brown. Carefully pour the caramel into a bowl. Take a larger pan and place it on top of the strudel. Flip the pans and with a spatula carefully remove the strudel from the jelly roll pan it baked in. Pour the caramel over the strudel and enjoy!