In honor of National Apple Strudel Day, we’re taking a look at the history behind this beloved pastry. Apple Strudel is often considered the national dish of Austria, its country of origin. The oldest known strudel recipe dates all the way back to a handwritten cookbook penned in 1697. Strudel became popular in the 18th century throughout the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It’s thought that multiple culinary traditions helped create the dessert we know and love today – for example, the thin layers of pastry are similar to Turkish baklava. Traditional Viennese apple strudel features a characteristic swirling pattern that’s surprisingly difficult to produce. This may account for the name, which is derived from a Middle High German word meaning “whirlpool.” Today, there are many varieties of strudel, but the most popular remains apple strudel, or Apfelstrudel. The dessert is popular around the world and is often served with tea, coffee, champagne, vanilla ice cream, or whipped cream.