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Strudel di Mele (Apple Strudel)

Strudel di Mele excerpted from Italian Snacking by Anna Francese Gass.

Apple strudel is one of the most popular autumn desserts of Trentino–Alto Adige. This dessert traces back to the Turkish domination of Hungary; the Hungarians tweaked a Turkish snack similar to baklava, where nuts and honey were wrapped in a thin pastry, to its current form, which incorporates fruit. As a result, it is enjoyed throughout Austria and Northern Italy. Trentino–Alto Adige has a few different versions, with each kitchen personalizing the dough and the filling. Some prepare it with Austrian-style dough that is rolled so thin, you can see your knuckles through it, while others roll out a more rustic shortbread crust. Rum raisins and pine nuts are very common additions, along with a bit of cinnamon for a spiced filling to adorn the golden apples grown in the region. I decided to simplify the process by using store-bought puff pastry. It gives the strudel a flaky, buttery crust. For the filling, I added ground shortbread cookies to soak up the rum and apple juices. This recipe makes two beautiful strudels (the puff pastry comes in a pack of two sheets), so why not make one now and freeze the other for a rainy-day snack?

Strudel di Mele excerpted from Italian Snacking by Anna Francese Gass.

Strudel di Mele (Apple Strudel)

Anna Francese Gass
Course Dessert, Snack
Cuisine Italian
Servings 2 strudels


  • 1/2 cup (80 grams) raisins
  • 3 ounces rum
  • 10 or 11 shortbread cookies, like Walker’s or Lorna Doone
  • 1 cup (113 grams) pine nuts
  • 3 large Golden Delicious apples (about 1-1/2 pounds), peeled, cored, and cut into
  • 1/4 inch dice (about 4 cups)
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon (2 teaspoons zest and 3 tablespoons juice)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 (17-ounce) package frozen puff pastry, preferably all-butter, thawed
  • 1 large egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting


  • Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  • In a small bowl, combine the raisins and rum. Set aside while you prepare the filling.
  • In a food processor, pulse the cookies until they are the consistency of fine sand. Process enough cookies to yield 1 cup.
  • Scatter the pine nuts on a rimmed baking sheet and toast in the oven until shiny and nutty, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  • In a large bowl, combine the apples, lemon zest, lemon juice, cinnamon, granulated sugar, salt, toasted pine nuts, and ground cookies. Drain the raisins, discarding the rum, then add them to the mixture.
  • Unfold 1 sheet of puff pastry on a lightly floured piece of parchment paper. Use a rolling pin to lengthen the pastry sheet into a 9 × 13- inch rectangle. Place the parchment with the pastry sheet on a baking sheet. Spoon half the apple mixture down the middle of the pastry. Leave a 1-inch border at each short end. On an angle, cut six slits about 2 inches apart down each of the outer sides.
  • Beginning with one outer side, lay one diagonal strip across the filling, then repeat with a strip from the other side. Continue folding the strips, creating a diagonal braid all the way down the center. Fold the top and bottom borders over the filling and press to seal. Brush the top with the egg wash. Repeat the process with the remaining puff pastry sheet, filling, and egg wash to make the second strudel.
  • Bake for about 40 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown and the apples are fork-tender.
  • Set the strudel, still on the baking sheet, on a wire rack to cool for 20 minutes. Once cooled, dust with confectioners’ sugar and cut crosswise into 8 to 10 slices.


Italian Snacking by Anna Francese Gass (© 2024). Photographs by Linda Xiao. Published by Union Square & Co.Recipe reprinted with permission from Italian Snacking by Anna Francese Gass (Union Square & Co., 2024). Photography by Linda Xiao.
Keyword Anna Francese Gass, Cinnamon, Confectioners’ sugar, Dice, Egg, Golden Delicious apples, Italian Snacking, Kosher salt, Lemon, Pine nuts, Puff Pastry, Raisins, Rum, Shortbread cookies, Sugar

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