Raisins Are The Simple Pantry Ingredient That Elevates Apple Strudel

When you make apple strudel, you probably grab ingredients like cinnamon, puff pastry sheets, and apples, of course. But if you're looking for a way to elevate this fluffy pastry filled with apple filling, head to the pantry and grab some raisins. The raisins might have been on the top shelf of the pantry for a while because many people don't appreciate dried grapes, but using them in an apple strudel is beneficial for a couple of reasons.

In fact, our recipe for simple apple strudel uses raisins. Jennine Rye, who developed the recipe, says the raisins "get lost in the general sweet flavor of the strudel," but it's a traditional ingredient.

Despite raisins not being the standout ingredient of the pastry, there are benefits to using them in apple filling. First, they're dehydrated so they will soak up some of the liquid in the filling. That means you'll have bursts of juicy sweetness and the secret ingredient will also soak up some of the extra liquid in the filling. Another benefit to using raisins is that they will provide bits of soft chewiness to match the texture of the cooked apples.

Adding raisins to apple strudel

There are different types of raisins out there because there are many varieties of grapes. Some options include golden and green raisins, but those regular sun-dried ones that you probably have in the back of the cupboard will work fine. You can also swap it for whatever raisins are in the kitchen, or go with a medley for different colors. Our recipe for apple strudel uses ⅓ cup of raisins, but if you're not a fan, toss a small handful into the filling. If you're using another recipe, refer to the instructions, but don't overdo it because the texture of the raisins might overpower the apples. 

When it comes to prepping the raisins, our recipe suggests stirring the raisins into the mixture after the heat is turned off. Other recipes suggest soaking the raisins in hot water to rehydrate them before adding to the filling. Some recipes instruct you to cook them in the pan with the apples, so follow the recipe accordingly. And if you don't like raisins but still want more texture, Rye suggests swapping them for chopped walnuts.