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Flaky Crust, Gooey Filling: Comparing Apple Pies and Strudels

Flaky Crust, Gooey Filling: Comparing Apple Pies and Strudels

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Apples are one of the world’s most versatile fruits. They add a unique flavor and texture to any dish.

That’s why the ingredients are incredibly popular in many desserts. Sadly, that makes picking a favorite treat sort of tricky.

So, if you’re debating apple pie vs. strudel, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s take a look at some of the major similarities and differences between the two dishes.

Apple Pie History

Apple pies originated in England in the 14th century, with influences from all over the world.

For starters, the crust has roots in the Middle East, where wheat cultivation was common. As for the filling, a few different French and Dutch dishes inspired the treat.

The first recipes for apple pies were basic and relied on local ingredients. Over the years, we’ve perfected the instructions to make an even better dessert.

Traditional Apple Pie Recipe

Let’s take a look at what goes into making a traditional apple pie.


To make the crust, you’ll need the following:

  • ¾ cup cold, diced butter
  • 2 ½ cups of all-purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons of sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons of water
  • A pinch of salt

Once you’ve gathered all your ingredients, start assembling the dough. You can do this part by hand, but using a food processor will be much faster.

To begin, mix your flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Then, pour the mixture into the food processor and pulse for a few seconds.

After that, you can pull the butter out of the fridge and dice it into small chunks. This will make incorporating it into the dough easier.

Next, turn your processor on low speed and add the butter one chunk at a time. Keep doing this until you run out of butter and your mixture looks like grainy cornmeal.

At this point, you can add your egg and pulse the dough for a few seconds. Once all the ingredients come together, tip the mixture out of the processor and inspect it.

If you see a couple of dry patches, add a few splashes of water. Then, pat the dough into the shape of a disk and place it in the fridge for about an hour.


To make the sticky filling, you’ll need the following:

  • ¼ cup of unsalted butter
  • ⅔ cup of granulated sugar
  • 3 pounds of apples (sliced)
  • 2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon
  • A pinch of nutmeg

For this simple recipe, start by cutting your apples into quarter-inch slices. Next, mix your sugar, spices, and lemon juice to create a runny paste.

Once that’s ready, drop your apples into the mixture and let them sit for a few minutes.

Then, grab a skillet and melt down the butter. After that, it’s as simple as frying up the apples until they soften.

The entire process can take around two or three hours.

Apple Strudel History

Apple strudels have been around for hundreds of years, but few of us know how they came about. The oldest recipe for the dessert dates back to 1697, in Austria.

Some people believe that the sweet treat was a spin on the Turkish dessert, baklava. It’s an intricate dish with many tiny, crispy layers.

Today, apple strudels are popular all over the world.

Traditional Apple Strudel Recipe

To make a traditional apple strudel, you can follow these instructions.

  • 1 ½ pounds of apples (¼-inch slices)
  • 1 ¼ cups of apple juice
  • ½ cup of raisins
  • ⅓ cup of chopped pecans
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons of sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons of breadcrumbs
  • ⅓ cup of melted butter
  • 4 sheets of phyllo dough

The first step is to combine your apple slices, juice, raisins, sugar, and cinnamon.

Place the mixture into a skillet and cook it down until the apples soften. After that, gradually add the cornstarch to the frying pan while constantly stirring.

Simmer the apples for an additional minute, then pull them off the heat and let them cool down. This is usually the best time to add the pecans.

Next, it’s time to pull out the phyllo dough. Spread out a sheet on a floured surface and brush it with melted butter.

Then, sprinkle on a healthy layer of breadcrumbs. You’ll want to repeat these steps a couple more times.

Once that’s done, spread your apple filling on top of the phyllo tower, leaving a half-inch border.

Finally, roll the dessert into a log and it’s ready for the oven. Assembling a strudel can take about an hour or so.

Nutritional Similarities and Differences

As you can tell by looking at the two recipes, there are quite a few similarities between the dessert.

For starters, both of them use apples, flour, cinnamon, butter, and sugar. That means the flavor profile of the treats will be almost identical.

Yet, when it comes to nutritional value, you can see strudels use more carbohydrates.

Therefore, on average, apple pies will have fewer calories per bite.

Other than that, strudels use additional raisins and pecans. This will increase the concentration of vitamins and minerals in the dessert.

Textural Similarities and Differences

When it comes to texture, the two treats are surprisingly similar. Even though the baking methods are different, the results have many aspects in common.

For example, both desserts have a flaky, crispy crust.

The only noticeable difference is the consistency of the fillings. Because of the added cornstarch, the strudel mixture is much thicker and creamier.

Plus, the pecans add an extra crunch to every bite of strudel.

Final Thoughts

Figuring out which is best, apple pie vs. strudel can be a little tricky. To compare the two, it’s a good idea to look at the recipes.

You’ll quickly notice that both desserts rely on a similar set of ingredients. That means that the two will usually taste incredibly similar.

However, strudels tend to have more calories and a crunchier filling. It’s also important to note that apple pies typically take more time to prepare.

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