Friday, 13 January 2012

Easy Apple Strudel

The smell of this beautiful dessert filled my kitchen with it's cinnamon and apple aroma, so much so that it was like a siren call for dinner time! Okay so I bought far too much food for Christmas, perhaps I thought I would be feeding the Irish Army and of course you need to buy two of everything!! So our bags of eating apples fell at the first fence, aargh. I peeled, cored and sliced the remainder which are now in my freezer and this is what I did with the smaller ones, phew.
Now I know some of you are on the look out for the healthy option, if so then substitute the puff pastry for 3-4 sheets of filo pastry instead (each brushed with melted butter and layered on top of each other) and then carry on as normal or if you are feeling a bit more extravagant then I suggest the following, soak raisins in a little brandy, spread apricot jam thinly on rolled out dough, leaving out the sugar (warm jam for easier spreading) and finally add some sliced almonds to the filling and on top of the strudel before baking. I will make these recommendations, roll that pastry as thin as you dare and trim the ends for presentation but not before. Happy baking!!

If you are new to puff pastry this might help calm your nerves.
1. Heat is the enemy of Puff Pastry—it handles best when cold. So avoid working with it on hot, humid days, in a stifling hot kitchen or next to your oven.
2.When serving Puff Pastry, cut with a serrated knife for the most even, attractive presentation. Puff Pastry can puff up to 8 times its original thickness. That means even a sheet rolled to a thin 6mm thickness will rise 50mm.
3.Use a marble pastry board to help keep Puff Pastry cold while rolling and cutting.

Serves 6-8

1 egg
1 tbsp. water
2 tbsp. granulated sugar
1 tbsp. Plain flour
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 large Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
2 tbsp. raisins
350g - 400g Sheet Pastry Sheet
Icing sugar

Heat the oven to 190C/375°F. Beat the egg and water in a small bowl with a fork. Stir the granulated sugar, flour and cinnamon in a medium bowl.

Add the apples and raisins and toss to coat, make sure to toss the apples and raisins until they're evenly coated with the flour mixture.

The flour helps to thicken the juices released by the apples as they cook. Sprinkle additional flour on the work surface. Unfold the pastry sheet on the work surface. Roll the pastry sheet into a 40cm x 30cm rectangle.

With the short side facing you, spoon the apple mixture onto the bottom half of the pastry sheet to within 2cm of the edge.

Roll up like a Swiss roll. Place seam-side down onto a baking sheet. Tuck the ends under to seal. Brush the pastry with the egg mixture.

Cut several slits in the top of the pastry.

Bake for 35 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown. Let the pastry cool on the baking sheet on a wire rack for 20 minutes.

Sprinkle with the icing sugar, if desired. Serve with cream, custard or ice-cream. For Pear and Cranberry Strudel, you can substitute firm pears and dried cranberries for the apples and raisins in this recipe.

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