STRUCOLO DE POMI (Apple strudel from Trieste, common at Christmas and Suitable for our autumn)

I grew up in Trieste.
Trieste is in the Friuli Venezia Giulia region of Italy. It is close to Venice, but it is also close to the Slovenian border. In 177 BC Trieste was under the control of Roman Empire. As well as Italy, Trieste also once belonged to Austria and then Austria-Hungary for more than 500 years and much of the cooking of Trieste reflects these cultures.

Cooked strudel cut 2

One of the culinary specialties of Trieste is strucolo de pomi (in Triestine dialect). It is a popular autumn and winter sweet.

When my family came to Australia the pastry shops in Adelaide were not to our tastes (lamingtons, sponge cakes with raspberry jam and in most cases, mock cream). My mother felt it necessary to teach herself how to bake, something that she never did when we were living in Trieste; as is the common European way, we left the baking to the specialists and we bought all of our pastries and cakes, especially when we had guests.

For our first Christmas Eve celebration in Australia my mother and my aunty made a strudel together and making strucolo de pomi became our celebratory dessert for any occasion. Later my mother began making  Zuppa Inglese, this too became a perfect celebratory dessert especially for Christmas.

My only aunt living in Australia is zia Licia. She married my mother’s brother. Her maiden name was Ursich, which may not sound Italian, but like many of the people living in Trieste, she had a Slavic name.

When we first came to Australia our families lived next door to one another and they often cooked and ate together.

 

INGREDIENTS
Strudel dough:
plain flour, 250 g
salt, 1/4 teaspoon
sugar, 2 tablespoons
egg yolk, 1
warm water, 115 ml, plus more if needed,
vegetable oil, 2 tablespoons, plus additional for coating the dough

Filling:
apples, 1k – we used delicious apples (golden or red) but other people prefer more acidic varieties, e.g. granny smiths
sugar, 3/4 cup
sultanas, 3/4 cup
walnuts, (or pine nuts) 3/4 cup
ground cinnamon, 1teaspoon
lemon, 1 (juice and grated peel)
butter (unsalted), 70g
bread crumbs, 50g

 

PROCESSES
Mix the flour, sugar and salt together and then slowly add the water, egg yolk and oil to the dry ingredients and knead into a medium-firm dough. We always made any dough on our kitchen laminax table (these were great for mixing and rolling out pasta and pastry), however an electric mixer can be used.
For this option:
Combine the flour and salt in a mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment. Mix the water, egg yolk and oil and add this to the flour on low speed.  Knead it for about 10minutes until the pastry is soft and elastic. Even if I use the mixer, I like to finish this off with my hands so that I can feel when the pastry is right.
Shape the dough into a ball and throw it down hard onto the working surface a few times.
Spread a little oil on the surface of the dough, cover it with plastic wrap (a use a tea towel) and allow the dough to rest for a couple of hours.

DSC_1137

While the pastry is resting prepare the filling:
Peel, core and slice apples. Mix in sugar, sultanas, nuts, grated lemon peel, lemon juice and cinnamon and toss together well.
Stir well until the sugar dissolves and the apples are coated with the mixture.
Melt the butter in a frying pan, over medium heat. Add the breadcrumbs and toast, stirring constantly until lightly browned (about 5 minutes). Let cool.

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Roll out the dough:
Cover your working area with tablecloth and dust it with flour (this will help you move the strudel to the baking tray once it has been shaped).
Place the ball of dough in the middle, sprinkle with flour and beginning rolling from the centre roll the dough out into a very thin rectangle,. The dough my be a little resistant at first but will relax more as you roll it. If the dough tears a little it can be patched with off cuts of pastry before you add the filling.

DSC_1140 (2)

 

Assemble the strudel:
Spread the breadcrumbs bread evenly over the dough and leave a clean border  on all sides.
Arrange the apple mixture evenly on top of the crumbs.
Shape the strudel: begin rolling the strudel into a fairly tight roll, starting at one end and gradually working down the roll. The finished roll should look fairly even in circumference.
Use the table cloth to transfer the strudel and place strudel on a buttered baking tray (I line it with baking paper).
Brush it either with melted butter or oil, or egg yolk mixed with a little oil.
Bake strudel for 60 to 80 minutes in a 180 C oven.

We soaked the sultanas in rum beforehand. Small pieces of dark chocolate mixed into the filling was also a variation.

13 thoughts on “STRUCOLO DE POMI (Apple strudel from Trieste, common at Christmas and Suitable for our autumn)”

  1. By accident, I saw a bit of that Pommie sheila on TV who thinks herself a Kitchen Sex Goddess (can’t remember her name, altogether forgettable), and she is such a lazy cook. She would die with her leg in the air rather than put the time and love into a dish such as this. I suppose that means I had better have a go at it or the God of Hubris will get me!

  2. I too migrated with my parents to Australia from Trieste and yes we too initially settled in Adelaide. We then moved to Sydney. My favourite dessert has always been strucolo di pomi. Since my parents and aunts have passed away I have not had strucolo. I watched my mum (and grandma who remained in Trieste) make strucolo every Christmas and Easter as well as frittole and crostoli.
    Your recipe has inspired me and will attempt baking it.
    By the way Trieste is still the most pleasant city in Italy (My wife who is of Irish heritage loves it especially Muggia.
    Thanks

  3. Hi I’m from Gorizia and we make very similar strucolo at Easter. We marinate the filling with a bit of grappa and some other small variations. Have just made mine this Easter weekend along with crostoli and mandorlato
    Ciao tutti e buona pasqua

    1. Gorizia is a lovely little town. It is amazing how some memories remain after many years. Every time I think of Gorizia I think of Stinco di maiale braised with beer. That is because I ate these and gnocchi con gorgonzola at a wonderful little trattoria in Gorizia. Buona Pasqua.

  4. What a coincidence — I’ve eaten strucolo countless times. I was born in Isola D’Istria and we migrated to the US because our little town was no longer be Italian. I really feel badly about that whole situation. And as you can see my name is “Marisa”.

    1. Yes, as a child I remember all that nasty business and how we needed passports when we wanted to go to Pola because it was no longer part of Italy. Many Istriani were very unhappy about their little towns having to become part of Yugoslavia.
      So Marisa, please to “meet” you.

  5. Hi! My husband comes from Isola and I am trying to remember a recipe that my mother in law would make. I think it was called patate in crosta – she would boil the potatoes – rice them?? and then add sautees onions, butter and cheese and put it in a skillet which she first cooked on top of the stove and then, put it in the oven so the crust would form all around.
    It was like a cake of potato with a great crust around it.
    Do you have the recipe??
    I would really appreciate it and would love to surprise my husband for Easter.
    If not, I will try the recipe as I explained above.

    1. Hi, Grace, if it is not Patate in teccia they could be grated raw potatoes. When raw potatoes are grated they release their flour/starch, the cheese would also help to bind them. I am writing this on Easter Sunday from Tasmania. I am sorry that I was not able to reply sooner, but I am In Tasmania and phone/ internet services are dismal! Such a beautiful island but very little service. My mother used to call these Nidi(nests) di patate.

  6. Hi Marisa
    I had my 67 birthday a couple of days ago and my youngest daughter asked me if I want domething special for her to make me
    Strucolo di pomi jumped into my head
    She got onto Google and came up with your recipe
    My first bite took me back so many years when my mother used to make it for special occasions
    Thank you for the memory!!!

    1. It’s a pleasure.
      Perhaps for your 68th birthday your daughter can make you “Iota From Trieste, Italy. Made with Smoked Pork, Sauerkraut, Borlotti Beans” – there is a post.
      I was only thinking about frittole the other day. Do you remember those? I lived in Trieste as a child – so many memories.

  7. Thank you for the nice recipe. The only recipes I found online that explain the “strucolo de pomi” are in English so thanks for posting it!
    Marisa Radin

    1. Yes, my mother also saved the broken biscuits to add to the strucolo. It is a great dessert – I have not made one for years.

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