This recipe was handed down from my Czech Grandmother and my Mother. I've been making this since I was old enough to reach the table with them. You can get creative and add dried fruits and nuts you like, such as cherries & different kinds of raisins. My family's favorite has pineapple and raisins, too. You can freeze these (prebaked) and pop them in your 375 degree oven for 25 minutes straight from the freezer on a cookie sheet. Just be sure to completely open the foil wrapper before putting in oven. Your guests will never know you made them a month ago when your favorite apples were still in season. Don't forget to powder sugar them before serving.
Peel, core and slice apples 1/8" - 14" thin in bowl, mix varieties together & Put aside. If apples are too thick, you could tear the dough when you roll the strudels. Do not use lemon juice on apples.
Melt 2 sticks of butter in a small saucepan. Be careful not to brown butter or clarify it.
In large saucepan, melt lard or crisco.
Add salt & vinegar
Add cold milk and vinegar to crisco and salt
Hand beat egg in separate dish with fork (I use a coffee mug). Gradually add beaten egg to still warm but not hot mixture so you don't cook the egg.
White warm, add enough flour to make a soft, but not too sticky dough in pot so that you can easily remove it from pot.
On lightly floured surface, kneed enough flour into dough to make dough so it's not sticky but still very soft.
Form dough into log and cut into 4 equal parts. Touch raw ends to flour to keep them from sticking and put back in pot while working. Put either lid or plate on top of pot to keep dough warm and moist while working with it.
Take one part of dough and roll out almost paper thin on lightly floured surface to form an oblong shape, with longer length leading away from you. You want the narrowest length L-R to fit inside your cookie sheet plus 2 inches on each end to fold over dough.
Brush melted butter on entire surface of dough.
Starting from the top edge farthest from you, lay the apple slices longways L-R across dough, leaving those 2 inches for folding without apples on both sides. Continue laying apples in rows next to each other as you work your way towards you on the dough. Leave another 3 inches of dough for folding over nearest you.
Add raisins if used, sparingly around surface of apples. I don't add any more than about 12 raisins in a strudel because raisins have a strong flavor and you don't want them to overtake the apples.
Add the pinapple or other moist fruits throughout the apples and raisins. You can add more pineapple since it's a milder flavor and it adds sweetness to the strudel...it's all a matter of taste.
Cover the entire surface heavily with cinnamon and sugar mixture. I use about 1 1/2 cups of the mix for 4 strudels.
Starting from the top edge farthest from you, begin rolling the strudel towards you, being careful to keep the apples in rows so the strudel keeps it's nice log shape. When you get to the end of the apples, fold the bare long edge over the top of the strudel, Be careful not to tear the dough as you roll it. If it does, you'll just have the apple juices running out onto the cookie sheet, loosing some of the moisture in the strudel. This will be addressed later on in the instructions.
Carefully lift the strudel onto the greased cookie sheet and drop the long flap of dough. Brush butter on the inside of the flap and use it to glue the flap onto the strudel. Do the same with the 2 inch pieces on each end, dripping the butter into the crevaces as you fold them over. Brush butter over the entire surface of the strudel. You can get 2 on a sheet.
Continue process until 2 strudels are on a sheet. Put that sheet in the 375 oven for about 25 minutes or until golden.
You can have the other 2 strudels ready to bake by the time these 2 are baked.
Immediately upon removing them from the oven, you must use 2 large spatulas to lift them from the sheet and place either on platters or (as I do) on sheets of aluminum foil for freezing. If you allow them to sit even a minute on those sheets, any leaked apple juice will quickly turn into hard candy and your now glued down strudel will be impossible to remove from the sheet. If you want to freeze them, layer the 4 sheets of foil on your cooling rack and place the strudels directly from the oven onto the foil, lifting each one and moving it to another cooling surface. Do not seal them in foil until completely cooled or they will get mushy.
Continue process untill all 4 are done. You can double this batch but allow another hour if you do.
Just before serving, sprinkle powdered sugar on the strudel, slice in about 2 inch pieces and serve on either a pretty oblong platter or arrange on a circular plate.
OPTIONS: chopped pecans or walnuts, other moist or dried fruits chopped in small pieces sparingly.
NOTE: You can refrigerate for about a week or freeze for weeks, using heavy duty aluminum foil. To reheat, just preheat oven to 400 degrees and carefully unwrap foil and put foil with strudel on cookie sheet in oven for about 20 mins for frozen strudel and 10-15 mins for refrigerated one until the dough is crisped back up. It will taste like you just baked it.