In the 1968 British musical movie Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, this sentence is sung by Anna Quayle, who stars as Baroness Bomburst to Gert Frobe, who plays Baron Bomburst. Even if the Baron and the Baroness sing this love song while trying to kill each other, the apfelstrudel remind us, above all, of a sweet famous pastry popular across Central Europe: the strudel filled with apples.
The name strudel comes from the German word for “whirlpool”. The rolled version of the pastry indeed looks like the inside of a whirlpool. It is most often associated with the Austrian cuisine, especially in the Vienna region, or with Hungarian cuisine, but is also a traditional pastry in the area formerly belonging to the Austro-Hungarian Empire. For example, it is nowadays well known in Trieste, a town in Italy that was for centuries the port of the Empire.
The origins of the strudel are probably linked to another Turkish pastry popular in the Balkans and in the Middle East, the baklava which consists of layers of phyllo pastry filled with nuts and spices and drenched in syrup. It is very likely that the technique behind the phyllo pastries came to Central Europe via the Ottoman Empire, as the Habsburgs had constant interchanges with the Ottomans. It is most likely that the strudel arrived in Hungary first, and was then brought to Austria. It is difficult to establish a specific date but the oldest handwritten recipe dates back to 1696. It is in Vienna’s National Library, and it gives instructions for making a milk-cream strudel.
Finally, the strudel was recognized as an official state pastry of Texas between 2003 and 2005. Many names of towns in Texas show clearly the German influence in this state: Fredricksburg, New Braunfels, Bergheim and Boerne. According to the State symbol non-profit organization “in the mid 1800’s social and political conditions became intolerable in some areas of Germany, and fearing persecution in their homeland, about 10,000 German families immigrated to the hill country of Texas. German artists, writers, poets, university professors and scholars came to Texas” This is probably the reason why today the 17th June is the National Apple Strudel day in the USA!
Written by Francesca Bisiani
Terminology trainee at TermCoord