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  • Winchester Eats

Mountain Food - Apple & Ginger Strudel



We are currently getting sorted after half term week back to Bavaria. The good thing about a trip to somewhere you are completely familiar with is immediately feeling at home, tiring everyone out on the mountains each day, rebooting our (in my case rather inept) language skills, and best of all indulging in a few favourite foods...


Not only did our visit coincide with Karneval, or Fasching as it's more commonly known in Southern Germany, which meant amazing krapfen (doughnuts) in abundance, but everyone was in the carnival spirit. Believe me when I say that you were never quite sure what would come through a restaurant door of an evening...

Food in this part of the world is hearty, made to sustain a once mostly agricultural nation where potatoes and beetroot favoured the often colder climate. You aren't going to lose much weight here unless you eat nothing but salad perhaps, but that would be torturous in a place where dessert is still common on a Friday. As Bavaria is landlocked and has quite a Catholic Heritage, when fish wasn't available for a Friday, dessert was the order of the day instead...




Particular favourites on this trip were beautifully warming soups with dumpling islands made from day-old pretzels, a different kind of dumpling of the sweet variety - a germknodel - a large fluffy yeast dumpling stuffed with plum jam, swimming in custard and topped with crushed poppy seeds (which I would love the know the story behind!), Bavaria's version of Macaroni Cheese - Kasespaetzle - tiny noodles made by pushing dough through the back of a slotted spoon, boiled for seconds before being covered in Emmental and served with a crown of roasted onions. Authentic mountain food.


We managed to fit in another favourite - Kaiserschmarrn, chopped pancakes fried with butter, raisins and powdered sugar and served with a fruit compote of some kind, but one thing we failed to have this time is a decent strudel. Luckily, I have the recipe below as back up. Based on a strudel we had in a tiny Austrian guesthouse a few years ago. We are lucky in the UK that good shop-bought filo pastry tends to be easy to find... This is a surprisingly quick and easy recipe to make and better than any frozen version, even if I do say so myself... If you make this, and I hope you do, let me know what you think...



Preheat the oven to 200DegC.


Ingredients:

6-8 medium to large apples - cooking or eating, it doesn't seem to really matter which; Good shop-bought filo pastry; 25g melted butter; 100g fine caster sugar; 70 chopped crystallised ginger Icing sugar to dust.


Custard, cream or icecream to serve...


Slice the apples with a mandolin if you have one, if not slice as thinly as possible (I actually don't worry about peeling them!)  Rinse, and place to once side in a bowl. You will need to work quickly to stop the apples from going brown by the way - or you could add a few drops of lemon juice to stop this! On a clean tea-towel, lay the first sheet of filo pastry. Brush generously with melted butter, and lay another sheet on top. Continue until you are down to your last sheet.


Add the caster sugar and crystallised ginger to the sliced apples and give it a good mix. Lay the apple in a thick line down the middle of the pastry, then fold the pastry around the filling to give you that typical strudel shape, and brush the entire thing with the remaining butter.   Lift the apple strudel with the help of the tea-towel and roll it gently on to a lined baking tray.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until the strudel is golden brown in colour. Leave to cool, dust with icing sugar and enjoy with cream, vanilla ice cream, or custard, or indeed all three...




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