For some people, the Oktoberfest celebration at Galveston’s First Lutheran Church means sausage in all its glorious forms.
For others, it’s all about the variety of imported and domestic beers.
For those with a sweet tooth, Oktoberfest brings fresh-baked German-style strudel just as surely as Thanksgiving serves up turkey.
When Oktoberfest opens Friday, strudel lovers will make a beeline past the German bands, kids’ games and crafts and head straight for Cindy Cornelison, “The Strudel Lady,” who has been baking strudel on site at Oktoberfest for nearly a decade.
“I’ll be baking apple, cherry, cheese and almond-apricot,” Cornelison said. “Apple is always the most popular, because when people think of strudel, they think of apples.”
In fact, apple strudel is the official state pastry of Texas.
Cornelison travels from North Texas with six large convection ovens and hundreds of frozen, ready-to-bake strudels from Helmut’s Strudels.
“We have to start baking early and get way ahead so we can have a bunch ready before Oktoberfest opens,” Cornelison said.
“We keep baking all day, so the strudels are still warm.”
Cornelison began baking strudel in 1982 alongside a master pastry chef from Innsbruck, Austria, the founder of Helmut’s Strudel.
“I helped him at his booth at the Houston Rodeo,” she said.
After years of helping at other events, she began developing her own circuit of festivals.
“The Houston rodeo is a really exciting event, but I really prefer Oktoberfest-themed shows because the people there are really looking for an authentic strudel,” she said.
“The Galveston Oktoberfest is one of my favorites. For a church event, it brings in a lot of people.”
While old favorites like Helmut’s Strudel return to Oktoberfest every year, the planning committee at First Lutheran Church makes sure that each Oktoberfest features some new additions.
This year, five Texas craft beers augment the selection of German beers.
The Texas Craft Bier menu includes selections from Karbach, Pedernales, Rahr & Sons, Saint Arnold and Southern Star.
Beyond the beer garden, locally produced wines from Haak Winery in Santa Fe offers more choices of beverages.
Since the event is family-friendly and features many children’s activities on Saturday, including animals and rides, nonalcoholic drinks also will be available.
Friday night’s kickoff to Oktoberfest features beer, sausage and dance music from Galveston’s homegrown band Mid-Life Crisis, champion yodeler Kerry Christensen and the Deer Park Folk Dance Group.
On Saturday, music and entertainment will go on all day on two stages and continue late into the evening with headlining polka-fusion band Alpine Musikanten covering everything from big band to rock.
Shoppers also will have a wide array of options with vendors and craft booths filling the Lyceum, First Lutheran’s restored historic Victorian structure.
At a glance
WHAT: 32nd annual Island Oktoberfest
WHO: Galveston’s First Evangelical Lutheran Church
WHEN: 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday
WHERE: On the grounds of and streets adjacent to church, 24th and Winnie streets
DETAILS: German costumes are encouraged
1⁄2 of a 17.3-ounce package puff pastry sheets
1 tablespoon water
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1⁄4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 large Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
2 tablespoon raisins
Powdered sugar, optional
Thaw the pastry sheet at room temperature for 40 minutes or until it’s easy to handle.
Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a baking sheet.
Beat the egg and water in a small bowl with a fork.
Stir the sugar, flour and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Add the apples and raisins and toss to coat.
Unfold the pastry sheet on a lightly floured surface, and roll it into a 16-inch-by-12-inch rectangle.
With the short side facing you, spoon the apple mixture onto the bottom half of the pastry sheet to within 1-inch of the edges.
Starting at the short side, roll up like a jelly roll. Tuck the ends under to seal.
Place seam-side down on the baking sheet. Brush the pastry with the egg mixture.
Cut several 2-inch-long slits 2 inches apart on the top.
Bake for 35 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown.
Cool on the baking sheet on a wire rack for 30 minutes.
Sprinkle with the powder sugar, if desired.
SOURCE: Recipe courtesy