Friday, October 7, 2016

Apple Strudel

Last Year's Post: Smoked Salmon Cakes
Two Years Ago:  Pretzel Chicken Bites

It's fall, and you want to make something with apples.  Why not an apple strudel?  Contrary to what you might think, apple strudel isn't complicated or difficult to make.  In fact, I think it's actually easier than making an apple pie if you use puff pastry. (Phyllo dough is also commonly used but a bit more difficult to work with.) It's a relatively light and healthy dessert because the portion size is small and it doesn't have much sugar.  I've found that people generally fall into one of two camps when it comes to apple desserts:  less sweet or more sweet.  As written, this strudel is lightly sweet.  If you're one of those who like sweeter apple desserts, feel free to increase the amount of sugar by a tablespoon or two.  Or, there's always ice cream - cinnamon ice cream would be particularly fabulous.

Strudel is best eaten warm, so you could assemble it in advance and refrigerate it, then bake it while you eat dinner.  The added bonus is that your house will smell great.  Apple strudel also makes a great breakfast or brunch treat on a weekend morning.

Apple Strudel
Serves 6

Note that the puff pastry needs to thaw for 30 minutes so plan ahead. 

2 large (or 3 small) Granny Smith apples
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour (plus more for dusting the work surface)
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons raisins
¼ cup toasted pecans or almonds, chopped (optional)
1/2 of a 17.3-ounce package frozen puff pastry  (1 sheet), thawed for 30 minutes
1 egg
1 tablespoon water
2 tablespoons powdered sugar  

Heat the oven to 375°F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Peel the apples and cut into quarters through the stem end.  Remove the core from each piece and slice crosswise into thin slices.  Mix the sugar, 1 tablespoon flour and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Add the apples, raisins and optional nuts and toss to coat.

Beat the egg and water in a small bowl with a fork. 

Sprinkle a small amount of flour on the work surface.  Unfold the pastry sheet and roll out to a 16 x 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 edge.  Roll up like a jelly roll.  Place seam-side down on prepared baking sheet.  Tuck the ends under to seal.  Brush the pastry with the egg mixture. Cut five 2-inch long slits at even intervals in the top of the pastry (this will allow steam to escape and will help with slicing individual pieces later on).

Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown. Let the pastry cool on the baking sheet on a wire rack for 20-30 minutes. Lightly sprinkle with powdered sugar and cut into slices along the slit lines.  Serve warm.

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