Although German is the unofficial second language of Trento, capital of the Trentino region, the city has a much more Italian feel than Bolzano, its officially German-speaking neighbor to the north.
Trento’s great pastry specialty, apple strudel, has a decidedly Italian flair, even though it is Eastern European in origin. Usually made with puff pastry rather than the more traditionally Austrian stretched dough (see Strudel di Ricotta ed Amarene alla Bolzanese), the Trento strudel is quick to prepare and rather light.
Roll out the pasta sfogliata on a floured surface into a
For the filling, peel, core, and slice the apples into thin wedges. Place them in a bowl and add all the remaining filling ingredients except the butter, bread crumbs, and sugar.
Heat the butter in a small sauté pan and add the bread crumbs. Cook, stirring often over low heat, for about 5 minutes, until the bread crumbs turn a deep golden color. Remove to a bowl and cool.
To form the strudel, place the square of dough on a small cloth, such as an apron or large towel. Add the sugar to the filling and arrange the filling over one-third of the dough closest to you. Sprinkle the filling with the cooled buttered bread crumbs. Lift the end of the cloth closest to you and roll up the strudel, making sure that the filling remains in a compact mass and folding in the ends of the strudel several times while rolling. Continue rolling until the far edge of the dough is on the bottom of the rolled strudel. Carefully lift the strudel onto a jelly roll pan lined with a piece of buttered parchment or wax paper. For the egg wash, beat the egg and salt together, and paint the strudel with it.
Bake the strudel at 425 degrees for about 45 minutes, until it is a dark golden color and the filling is bubbling.
Lift the paper and the strudel onto a rack to cool. When cool, run a knife or spatula between the strudel and the paper to loosen it, slide both onto a platter, and, holding the strudel in place, pull away the paper.
Dust the strudel with the confectioners’ sugar immediately before serving. Serve the strudel on the day it is baked.
Confectioners’ sugar for finishing
During baking, the juices from the filling often leak out of the strudel. Since the juices contain a large proportion of sugar, they can begin to caramelize when they touch the hot pan. If you see the juices begin to exude, place another pan under the one on which the strudel is baking to absorb some bottom heat from the oven and to prevent the juices from burning and making the bottom of the strudel bitter.
© 1990 Nick Malgieri. All rights reserved.