A Brief History of the Apple Strudel

One of the most popular treats in any traditional Viennese café, this iconic dessert is considered by many to be the national dish of Austria.

“You’re the Apfelstrudel of mein eye”

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968)

Often mistaken for being of German origin, the oldest known strudel recipe dates back to 1697 and survives today in a handwritten cookbook in the Vienna Town Hall Library. The dessert gained popularity in the 18th century particularly throughout the Austro-Hungarian Empire but it’s likely a collaboration of cultures helped in its creation – the paper-thin layers of pastry particularly reminiscent of Turkish baklava.

The making of a traditional Viennese strudel is complex. The chosen filling is spread intermittently between layers of the finest unleavened dough, making for the characteristic swirling pattern of pasty and filling when cut. No wonder strudel derives from the Middle High German word meaning ‘whirlpool’.

With many different varieties, both savoury and sweet, arguably the most well-known is that of the Apple variety – Apfelstrudel. It is often accompanied by tea, coffee or even champagne and toppings of vanilla ice cream, whipped cream or are all popular.

And if all this talk of strudel has made you hungry?

The Delaunay Counter is currently selling a spectacularly long Viennese Apple Strudel ‘by the inch’, accompanied by either vanilla anglaise or homemade ice cream, to eat in or take away.