• Itai Svirsky's favorite - Savta Aviva's Apple Strudel. Photo: Adi Shilon
    Itai Svirsky's favorite - Savta Aviva's Apple Strudel. Photo: Adi Shilon
  • Itai Svirsky. Photo: Courtesy of the Family
    Itai Svirsky. Photo: Courtesy of the Family
Recipe

Heroic Aviva’s Apple Strudel, Itai Svirsky’s grandmother

Their favorite dish: Itai Svirsky especially loved his Grandma Aviva, and like all her grandkids, her strudel was his favorite. Adi Shilon prepares it

Itai loves people. His humble smile draws people in and makes them fall in love with him. An exceptional and curious mind, Itai dedicated his time to the study of Philosophy and Psychology, and personal and Satya coaching; he is always there to lend a hand and support. Itai is a wonderful conversationalist who connects easily and does not shy away from deep meaning. Even if he’s just met you, he’ll find a way to your heart.

Born and raised in kibbutz Be’eri, Itai is sandwiched in the middle of a large and loving family with two older and one younger brothers. His grandparents were among the first settlers of Be’eri and helped build the kibbutz from the ground up. His Aba Raffi, Ima Orit and his brother Yoni still live there. After years of living in Be’eri and working at the Be’eri Printing House, Itai decided he needed a change and moved to Tel Aviv to continue his studies and his path to personal growth. But make no mistake, the distance didn’t change him at all, and he remained the brother/uncle you could call upon at any hour to babysit.

He’s endlessly patient, a ton of fun and incredibly silly. A true kid at heart and 38 years young, Itai always enjoys a good ice cream or delicious cake and spending time with his large family all of whom share a very close relationship. They are his tribe. Itai is especially close to Savta Aviva and appreciates every moment the two spend together. Like all of her grandchildren, Aviva’s apple strudel is Itai’s favorite.

Itai Svirsky was in Kibbutz Be’eri visiting his family on October 7th. He never returned home. His parents Orit and Raffi were murdered. His brother Yoni survived. His 97 year old grandmother Aviva survived after Hamas terrorized her home for hours. Aviva’s care taker was murdered as well.

Itai Svirsky was murdered in Gaza on January 16th.

Ingredients for Apple Strudel

For the dough:

  • 11.8 oz (335 grams) white flour
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil or olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 5.6 oz (160 grams) soda
  • 1 pinch Salt
  • 5.6 oz (160 grams) butter soft, divided into four

For the apple filling:

  • 5-6 green apples (Granny Smith)
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • cinnamon to taste (optional)
  • raisins (optional)
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs or panko

Instructions

Apple filling:

  • 1. The night before, chop the apples with the skin but without the seeds and mix together with the other ingredients. Keep in a sealed box in the refrigerator.

Prepare the dough:

  • 2. Place all the dough ingredients, except the butter, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook and mix for about ten minutes until the dough is smooth and flexible.

  • 3. Divide the dough in half, place in a greased bowl, cover and set aside to rise for 30 minutes.

  • 4. Roll each ball of dough into a rectangle and spread with 40 grams of butter. Fold into thirds.

  • 5. Rotate the dough 90 degrees and fold the dough in half. Roll up a little, wrap in plastic and put in the freezer for 30 minutes.  

  • 6. Remove the dough from the freezer and roll each one into a rectangle again, spread again with 40 grams of the butter and fold in the same way as before. If not using right away (that day) wrap in plastic wrap and freeze until ready to use. If you are using right away, put it in the freezer for another half hour.

Assemble and bake:

  • 7. Preheat the oven to 428F (220C) degrees.

  • 8. On a floured surface, roll out each dough into a rectangle as large and thin as possible. Spread a nice layer of breadcrumbs on the long side of the dough, about an inch away from the edge, leaving the rest of the dough clean for folding.

  • 9. Drain the liquids from the apples, and place half of the mixture on top of the bread crumbs.

  • 10. Fold the sides of the dough over the apples, roll from the bottom (where the breadcrumbs and apples are) to the top edge and place in a pan. Repeat with the other half. Gently cut thin strips into the top gently with a knife.

  • 11. Bake for about half an hour until golden but not brown, cool a little, sprinkle a lot of powdered sugar and serve.

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This recipe is part of Adi Shilon’s “Their Favorite Dish” project, which tells the story of 60 abductees through the recreation of their favorite recipe for a pastry or dessert. For all the details and additional recipes in the project.

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