Final Vail Farmers’ Market of the season this Sunday
Celebrate fall and the fresh produce of the season with a traditional Austrian apfelstrudel recipe
The Vail Farmers’ Market is holding its final market of the year this Sunday, closing out a 17-weekend run that has filled the streets of Meadow Drive with fresh produce, artisans, food vendors and a wide range of local products selling everything from t-shirts to children’s books to dog accessories.
The market will go into hibernation until next summer, when it reemerges in June for its 23rd season, but if you have become hooked to a certain local product that you discovered among the tents, you don’t have to wait for the market to resurface to resupply. All 148 vendors are cataloged at VailFarmersMarket.com and the majority include links to the companies’ personal websites, where product can be ordered and the relationship between local businesses and shoppers can continue throughout the year.
The one element of the market that is difficult to replicate during the winter months is the direct access to farm fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables that bring the best of Colorado’s crops straight to tables in the valley. There are a number of produce items currently in season, but nothing says fall festivities like apples. That is why in celebration of the last market of the season, we are bringing you a traditional Austrian “apfelstrudel” recipe to take full advantage of a fresh produce haul and fill your home with the warm tastes and smells of fall.
This apple strudel recipe was given to us by Anna Zeuli, an Austrian-born resident of Edwards, as her go-to when baking the authentic Austrian pastry. The key to getting that flaky, airy texture is to hand-stretch the dough, getting it as thin as possible before baking it in the oven. This process is more time-consuming than others, but Zeuli’s neighbor, Martha Milbery, said that the finished product is well worth the effort.
“It was sensational,” Milbery said. “Better than any restaurant or store-bought version I’ve ever had, and I’ve been eating apfelstrudel here in the high alpine for over half a century.”
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When grabbing your last farm-to-table produce picks of the season from the market, pick up some apples and spend an afternoon indulging in a sweet, warm, crisp apfelstrudel in the mountains.
Traditional Austrian “apfelstrudel” recipe
- ½ cup (75 grams) raisins
- 2 tablespoons dark rum
- 1 ¼ cups scooped and leveled, minus 1 tablespoon (150 grams) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- Pinch of salt
- 3 tablespoons sunflower oil or other neutral vegetable oil
- ⅓ cup (80 ml) water
- 2 ¼ pounds (1 kg) apples or about 6 or 7 medium (Use cooking apples. varieties of apples that would work well here include Granny Smith, Cortland, McIntosh, Pink Lady, Bramley, and Northern Spy)
- Juice of 1 lemon
- ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons (75 grams) granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 8 tablespoons (115 grams) unsalted butter
- ½ cup (60 grams) unseasoned dried bread crumbs
- 1 tablespoon Vanillezucker (vanilla sugar)
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
- Schlagsahne (whipped cream) or vanilla ice cream, for serving
- The day before you plan to bake, place the raisins and rum in a small nonreactive bowl and cover. Set aside for 24 hours.
- The day of baking, make the dough. Combine the flour and salt in a small bowl. Pour the oil into the flour mixture, and then slowly add the water, using your index finger to stir. The mixture will be very wet.
- Continue to stir with your fingers, and as soon as the dough has come together, dump it out onto a work surface (you may lightly flour it if needed, but once you get started with kneading, you won’t need to add more) and start kneading the dough.
- Knead for 10 minutes (set a timer; the time will pass faster than you think). At the end of the kneading, the dough should be soft, supple, and silky to the touch. Form it into a ball and place it on the work surface. Invert the bowl over the dough and let it rest for 30 minutes.
- While the dough is resting, prepare the apple filling: Peel, quarter, and core the apples. Slice the quarters thinly, and then cut the slices in half crosswise. Place in a large bowl and toss with the lemon juice, sugar, and cinnamon. Add the plumped raisins and any rum left in the bowl.
- Melt 3 tablespoons (40 grams) of the butter in a small pan over medium-high heat; add the breadcrumbs, Vanillezucker, and salt. Stir to coat and then cook the bread crumbs, stirring constantly, until they are golden brown and very fragrant, 5 to 8 minutes. Don’t let the bread crumbs burn. Set aside.
Assembly and Baking:
- Heat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Line a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper.
- Melt the remaining 5 tablespoons (75 grams) of butter in a small pan and set aside.
- On your work surface, spread out a clean cotton or linen kitchen towel that measures at least 16-by-24-inches (40-by-60-cm). The long side of the towel should be horizontal and the short side vertical. This is how you want the dough to be positioned later when you fill it.
- Sprinkle flour lightly over the towel. Place the dough in the middle of the towel and roll it out several times in both directions with a rolling pin until it’s about 10-by-13-inches (25-by-33-cm). Then ball your hands to loose fists, put them under the rolled-out dough, and gently start stretching out the dough using the back of your hands. Alternate with pulling on the dough gently with your fingers to continue stretching the dough. This takes patience and some confidence. You don’t want the dough to rip, but you do need to stretch out the dough with some assertiveness. If it does rip, press the dough together again around the rip.
- Continue stretching out the dough evenly until it measures 16-by-24-inches (40-by-60-cm) and is thin enough that you can see the pattern of the towel through it. Make sure you pull the edges of the dough as thin as you can, too. The dough should be uniformly thin all over.
- Brush the dough evenly all over with some of the melted butter. On the right side of the rectangle, distribute the toasted, lightly sweetened bread crumbs from top to bottom over one-quarter of the dough, leaving 1 ¼-inch border at the edges on the top, bottom, and right.
- Drain off any juices that have accumulated at the bottom of the bowl of apples and raisins, and then pile the apple mixture evenly over the bread crumbs. Gently pull the top and bottom edges of the dough over the sides of the filling, stretching slightly if necessary, and then pull the right edge of the dough up and over the filling as far as it will go without tearing. Working carefully, use the towel to roll up the strudel all the way.
- Using the towel as a sling, gently roll the strudel onto the baking sheet with the bread crumbs and the seam on the bottom. If the strudel roll feels sturdy enough, you can instead transfer the roll with your hands. If the strudel is lumpy or larger at one end than the other, use your hands gently but firmly to form the strudel into a uniform shape–it should be the same thickness all the way along its length. Brush the strudel liberally and thoroughly with more of the melted butter.
- Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake the strudel for 15 minutes; remove from the oven and brush the strudel thoroughly all over with more of the melted butter. Rotate and bake for another 15 minutes; remove again and brush liberally with the remaining butter. Rotate again and bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes. When ready, the strudel should be crisp to the touch and a deep golden brown.
- Remove the baking sheet from the oven and put it on a rack to cool for at least 20 minutes before serving. Slice into 2-inch pieces using a serrated knife, dust with confectioners’ sugar, and serve with schlagsahne (whipped cream) or vanilla ice cream alongside. Strudel is best the day it is made, but it keeps one to two days at room temperature. Before serving, crisp up leftover strudel in a 350°F (180°C) oven for a few minutes.
This recipe is originally from the book Classic German Baking by Luisa Weiss.