I love to bake. And I love to eat. I also have a special place in my heart for all things Austrian, so when I came across the Cafe Strudelka’s Apple Strudel baking lesson recently, I signed up immediately.
For a bit of back story, you have to know that I’m getting tired of (AKA, so done with) Berlin. I’ve been here seven years, three of which were spent in an exhausting, traumatizing and expensive fight with my now (thankfully!) ex-husband. Ever since then the city which I once loved and thrived in drains me. But it’s not quite time to move on, so in the meantime I’m filling my days with things that I love.
Which brings us back to baking Apple Strudel. If you’ve never had it, you should. It’s a lightly sweet dessert made of a deliciously thin, buttery dough filled with apples with a touch of cinnamon and maybe a few raisins. Strudels can also be filled with berries and other fruits, and savory versions exist as well.
I first saw strudel being made at Vienna’s Schönbrunn palace years ago. It was both impressive and intimidating, because to make the lovely dessert, the dough has to be spread out into a paper-thin, large disk. You work the with your hands in a somewhat similar fashion to pizza baking, but as the dough is soooo thing it is a challenge.
At Strudelka the course was small and fun. A welcome drink of sparkling rosé, also from Austria (I think!), was given. I was hoping for seconds but we each just got our one glass. The owner and strudel teacher is from Austria and learned to bake from her grandmother, so I knew we were in for a treat.
The six of us in the class that night did it all. From prep – mixing together ingredients for the dough and letting it rest for an hour, to chopping apples and dousing them with apple cider vinegar to break them down before baking, to sautéing Semmel (Austrian bread crumbs) in loads of butter for the topping.
In about an hour and a half we each had our very own, authentic and very yummy Apple Strudel. We ate a piece – some of us had two – together with coffee, and we got to take the rest home. Which means – apple strudel was both the midnight snack and breakfast the next morning.
Conclusion? Fun class to take if you want to learn how to make a real and pants-tightening classic European dessert by a pro. But as delicious as it was, I still prefer to eat my Strudel made by someone else – in Vienna.