I make this on a regular basis at the shop…..It is , in my flour- dusted opinion, one of the top comfort foods of all time. I know when one watches a sappy movie, and the distraught “dumpee” sits down with a carton of ice cream….Well it would be so much better, sitting atop a slice of this! I don’t know how adept most of you are with making puff pastry….So I’ll suggest, for successes sake, we use the best quality store-bought puff pastry you can find: Preferably one made with butter. It has been a VERY long time since I purchased puff pastry, so, I’m not sure how thin the store bought stuff is. I presume it is ready to use, with a minimum of manipulation required. Spread out your puff pastry on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Here is the recipe I like to use for my filling:
3 lbs tart apples: (Granny smith, Spy or any firm-fleshed apple will do), cut into 8th’s and cored
8 ozs granulated sugar
Toss these 2 ingredients together, so that the sugar coats the apple pieces, set aside.
After 20 minutes, drain apples in a collander, there should be plenty of liquid to discard…..This is a good thing, too much liquid in your strudel makes it soggy, we want crisp outside, and tender inside. Return your apples to the large bowl that they were in. To the apples add:
8 ozs brown sugar
1oz balsamic vinegar, or apple cider vinegar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
8 ozs toasted walnuts
4 ozs melted butter
8 ozs cake crumbs, if you don’t have cake crumbs, toasted plain white bread crumbs are fine.
Egg wash for appearance
With a rubber spatula or your hands, blend all ingredients together, till coated and sugary. Starting at the top left part of your puff dough rectangle, arrange the fruit in a line, like the dyke alongside a riverbank. Spread the filling out, end to end. When this is completed, egg wash the lower portion of your dough rectangle: This is important, as it will keep our yummy filling inside our pastry cylinder. Roll the filling, encasing it in the dough, from top to bottom. When you get to the base of your egg-washed dough, gently press the pastry roll down on the seam, this will seal the pastry. Egg wash the pastry and preheat oven to 400F, place strudel on top shelf, and bake for 8 minutes, lower heat to 350F. I like to watch the color of my strudel, but generally when the pastry is a medium caramel color, with a properly browned bottom, results in a tasty, crisp and tender strudel. If you have a stick thermometer, poke it into the center of the strudel…..If it registers 160F or above, it’s a good bet your filling is cooked, and if you’re happy with the outside color, you can retract it from the oven. When it has cooled, dust with icing sugar, or brush with melted apricot jam/glaze…..it matters not, it’s all good. ENJOY!!