This easy German Apple Strudel with Puff Pastry features a flaky crust, warm spiced apples, crunchy walnuts, and sweet raisins studded throughout the store-bought puff pastry. All the charm of homemade apple strudel, in under an hour.
It's one of my favorite desserts to make and serve throughout fall and the holiday season. Warm apple strudel with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream is an irresistible finale to a dinner party or just a weeknight with the family.
Here's what you'll need to make this recipe:
Before we get to the step by step directions, a few notes about the ingredients:
Apples: Pink Ladies are my preference, but use what you have on hand. I recommend avoiding Gala, Fuji, Red Delicious and McIntosh, which become too soft when baked.
Raisins: regular or golden raisins will work in this recipe. I like to rehydrate the raisins in a bit of juice or cider before adding them to my apple filling, but this is an optional step. Dried cherries or cranberries could be deliciously non-traditional in this recipe, as well!
Walnuts: the recipe calls for chopped walnuts, because they're a delicious part of all my childhood strudel memories. Feel free to substitute your favorite nut or omit altogether.
Full ingredient list and measurements included in the printable recipe card below.
Step-by-step instructions for this recipe:
1. Rehydrate raisins
To begin, rehydrate your raisins in a small dish of cider or juice by microwaving for about 60-90 seconds, then setting aside the soaking raisins to rehydrate while preparing the rest of the strudel.
2. Make sweet filling
Next, melt butter, add 3 tablespoons to a large mixing bowl and reserve the final tablespoon in the pan. To the butter, add ¼ cup brown sugar, ¼ cup walnuts, ¼ cup fine breadcrumbs, 1 teaspoon vanilla and ½ teaspoon cinnamon.
Mix well. (The breadcrumbs are the traditional way to thicken the apple juices in an apple strudel recipe. They add a subtle toastiness in the background that complements the walnuts and the apples beautifully).
3. Add apples to filling
Preheat oven to 375℉. Peel and dice apples. I prefer to keep the dice fairly small so the apples cook through in the oven. Pour lemon juice over the diced apples and toss to coat.
Add apples to bowl of sugar and nuts. Drain raisins and add to the bowl of apple mixture. Gently mix.
4. Fill puff pastry
Unroll ready-made puff pastry dough on a floured surface or a sheet of parchment paper. If your pastry is showing folded marks or needs a little consistency, use a rolling pin to gently flatten, being careful not to deflate the pastry crust too much. (At this point, I move the sheet of puff pastry onto a sheet of parchment to make transferring the unbaked strudel easier.)
Pour the apple filling in a line down the center of the dough rectangle (the long side, as shown in the photo).
Gently fold the end of each side of the roll in onto the top of the apple raisin filling. Fold one side in, over the short ends, then the other, sealing them gently. Transfer the unbaked strudel to the baking sheet. Place seam-side down.
5. Finish strudel
Using a sharp knife, make 6-8 cuts in the top of the soft dough to allow steam to escape the baking strudel.
Brush the reserved melted butter onto the top of the strudel, then sprinkle with about 1 tablespoon raw sugar.
6. Bake to a golden brown perfection
Transfer to the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove the strudel from the oven and place the baking sheet on a cooling rack for at least 10 minutes.
7. Serve with ice cream
At this point, it will be easy to transfer to a serving platter or cutting board, as the bottom of the strudel should be crisp and easy to move. Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
FAQ's and Serving Suggestions:
I use Pink Lady Apples most often, because I love the sweet-tart flavor and texture. I find them consistently perfect. But a good apple strudel can handle a variety of apples, including a tart apple like Granny Smith, or more mellow varieties like Gala or Honeycrisp.
Golden raisins or black raisins work well in this recipe.
Brown sugar adds a light caramel flavor in the strudel that I love. But a quarter cup sugar of any variety will work in this recipe.
We use a pastry brush to apply a thin coat of melted butter instead of egg wash, but if egg is your game, use it instead.
Apple strudel consists of an oblong strudel pastry jacket with a spiced apple filling inside. The filling is made of cooking apples sugar, cinnamon, and bread crumbs, and sometimes nuts.
The crisp apple strudel will taste best the day you bake it, as that is when that puff pastry crust will be at the peak of crispiness. To store, wrap and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat on a baking tray at 350℉ just until heated through.