Medieval apple and olive oil strudel

l1060350No. You are not pretty my dear, not even in that red dress. Before baking you, I asked “frog, will you please turn out into a princess?”.
I know frogs are supposed to turn out into a prince, but this one wasn’t promising. Besides, in the fairy tales princes tend to be clad in white. So you stayed frog, thank you very much.
You’re flavorful though, and full of fruity goodness, spices and texture. Slightly crunchy outside with a soft, squishy heart. You are Christmassy as well as Umbrian in your own peasant, medieval, rustic way.
You are not even made with butter, how healthy it’s that at this time of the year?

  • 300 gr (2 and 1/2 cup) Italian 00 flour
  • grated rind of 1/2 lemon
  • 5 tablespoon good quality extra virgin olive oil + extra for oiling the pastry
  • 1 tablespoon sugar + extra for sprinkling
  • 1/3 cup white wine
  • 1/4 cup cold water


  • 4 large apples, diced small
  • 12o gr (1/2 cup) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon anise seeds
  • 150 gr (5 oz ) chopped nuts of your choice
  • 150 gr ( 5 oz) rasins or sultanas
  • juice and rind of 1 lemon
  • 3 tablespoon alchermens liqueur.

Alchermens is an Italian speciality which contributes a floral scent and the bright red color to the pastry. Read here to learn how to substitute and here about it’s tradition.
Make the pastry by mixing all ingredients to obtain a firm dough. Cover and let it rest at least 30 min so it will be easier to roll.
Peel and dice apples, transfer into a bowl and add all other ingredients. In contrast with the dough, make the filling just before you need it to avoid release of juices wich will break the pastry while baking.
Now roll the dough into a long rectangular shape wich must be about 25 cm (10 inch) wide. The pastry must be as thin as possible but it should not break otherwise the filling will pour off the gaps. Brush the pastry sheet with 1 tablespoon olive oil and sprinkle lightly with 1 additional tablespoon sugar.
Spread the fruit down the length of the pastry to within 1 inch of the edges.  Roll up from a long edge. Brush lightly with olive oil. Shape the roll into a coil and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Drizzle with 1-2 tablespoon extra Alchermens for decoration.
Bake at 180 °C (350 °F) for 45 min or until slightly golden. Brush with 1 tablespoon sugar mixed with a little water to make a soft paste and cook another 5 min.
Serve at room temperature.
Rocciata is a delicious Umbrian style strudel filled with apples, raisins, aniseed and nuts then sprinkled with alkermens liqueurPS. Sometime I cut the dough in 4 pieces and make 4 smaller strudels rather than a large one. They are easier to serve as a dessert for a large party. This way it makes 14-16 portions.


  1. This sounds amazing – and I just decanted a batch of homemade Alkermes last week! I plan to make this for Christmas!

  2. I love learning new things and I always do from you, Letizia. This liqueur is now on my must taste list. It is definitely pretty for the Christmas season – I did go to your links. Cannot imagine the flavour, but will trust you on that!

  3. If you ask me, it’s not ugly at all!
    But you’ve touched on one of my pet peeves about food blogging—there’s so much focus on the visual, when cooking and eating is really (mostly) about smell and taste. So frustrating!
    Happy Holidays!

  4. You are so right Frank, thank you! That’s why I love home food. Lots of pretty pictures and lots of bad recipes around. Same in restaurants, sometimes the decor is gorgeous but after what they give you it feels the only edible thing is the furniture!

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