Living in Berlin was great, for many reasons, the food scene definitely being one of them. A very nice place for breakfast, lunch and brunch is Meierei, previously an old dairy shop. They serve classical Alpine dishes such as Milchreis, Käsespätzle, goulash and a devine Apfelstrudel. The recipe is over a 100 years old and is to remain a kitchen secret, but I was lucky enough to get some instructions from co-owner Sandra. On weekdays the Meierei bakes two or three Apfelstrudel, but in the weekends it easily sells four. It takes 15 pounds of apples to make two of these. The challenge was to convert Meierei’s recipe into something doable for home cooks. I received a few guidelines, to help me succeed. Use the same apples as you would for apple pie. Furthermore: use a lot of cinnamon and sugar, a lot of butter, chopped almonds and a handful of raisins. So there I went, home bound, with 4 pounds of apples. Quite a comforting thought: according to Sandra, you don’t have to make a perfect Strudel. Wobbly and cracked, that’s just fine.
And when in Berlin, do visit the Meierei.
Kollwitzstraße 42, 10405 Berlin (Prenzlauer Berg), open daily.
Action Time: 30 minutes + 30 minutes resting + 40 minutes oven time
8.8 oz/250 g spelt flour, plus extra
1/2 tsp salt
1.4 oz/40 g butter, melted
3.8 fl.oz/100 ml milk or water
For the filling:
5 lb/2 kg apples for pie
3.5 oz/100 g sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
juice & grated zest of 1 organic lemon
3.5 oz/100 g raisins
1.75 oz/50 g white almonds
1.75 oz/50 g butter, melted
icing suger, to sprinkle
Extra: food processor (optional), large tea towel, baking tray lined with parchment paper
1. Mix flour and salt in a bowl. Take the flour and pile it out on a work surface. Dig out the top of the mound so that it looks like the crater of a floury volcano. Break the egg in it. Knead with your hands (or use a food processor for this). Add butter and milk or water and knead until you have a smooth dough. Let rest under a cloth for 30 minutes.
2. Preheat the oven to 390°F/200°C. Peel the apples and cut into thin slices or into cubes. Mix with sugar, cinnamon, lemon juice, zest, raisins, and almonds.
3. Place the tea towel on a work surface and sprinkle some flour over it. Put the dough on top; roll it out into a very thin long, wide rectangle. Or -when you have a small oven- roll it into two thin rectangles.
4. Brush the sheet of dough with the melted butter and sprinkle over the cinnamon. Divide the apple mixture over the middle. Using the tea towel, roll the dough up lengthwise and place it carefully on the baking tray. Brush the top of the Strudel with the remaining melted butter. Carefully remove the towel from under the Strudel. Bake the Strudel approx. 40 minutes in the oven; turn down the temperature if the Strudel brownes too quickly.
5. Remove from the oven, leave to cool until lukewarm or cold. Sprinkle with icing sugar, cut in slices and serve each slice with some whipped cream, vanilla sauce or a scoop of ice cream.