I'm a bit odd when it comes to certain foods. Peanuts for example — I could sit and eat a whole jar of peanut butter in one sitting, yet whole peanuts make me sick.
I love raw apples. Particularly Granny Smith and Honeycrisps. I love apples dipped in peanut butter, chocolate, or caramel. Cooked apples? I'll pass. I'll bake apple pies, or the apple "strudel" below, since I love the smell of baking apples, but I don't care for the taste.
I've made this recipe below (from Bo Friburg's The Professional Pastry Chef) many times, and it's always a hit. But I've never personally tasted it. My parents have each requested it on a number of occasions to bring to the office, as its suited for a crowd: easy to slice and serve.
The filling can be made a day or two ahead of time, and stored in the refrigerator. Once assembled, this pastry freezes well. You can bake it straight from the freezer.
Apple "Strudel" Ingredients
From The Professional Pastry Chef
- 1 sheet puff pastry, thawed but still cold, if buying frozen
- 1 ½ pounds Granny Smith* apples
- 5 oz granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- Egg wash (recipe below)
- Cinnamon sugar (optional)
Make the filling:
- Peel and core the apples. Chop approximately two-thirds of the apples into ½-inch chunks.
- Place the chopped apples in a saucepot with the water, sugar, and lemon juice. Adjust the amount of sugar according to the tartness of the apples and your taste. Stir to combine and cook over medium heat, stirring from time to time, until the apples have broken down and the mixture starts to thicken.
- Chop the remaining apples into ¼-inch pieces and add to the saucepot. Continue cooking the mixture until it has reached a jam-like consistency, adding a bit more water if necessary. Let cool at room temperature.
Prepare the pastry and assemble:
- Roll the puff pastry dough out on a well-floured surface to 23 by 8 inches (will be about ⅛-inch thick).
- Fold the dough in half over a 1-inch rod, so that the long edges meet and are closest to you. Using the blunt side of a knife, mark (but do not cut) a line 2 inches away from and parallel to the rod.
- With the sharp edge of the knife, cut ¼-inch strips along the length of the dough up to the impression you just made, leaving the folded edge uncut.
- Use the dowel to lift the pastry onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Unfold the dough, and lay it flat, making sure the fringes are separated.
- Spoon the apple filling down the uncut center of the pastry. Spread the filling evenly, but leave a ½-inch margin away from the fringe.
- Fold the strips in a criss-cross pattern across the filling. Use the rod to press lightly in the center, to ensure the strips do not unfold in the oven. You want to leave an indentation, but not press the filling out.
If freezing to bake later, stop now, wrap the sheet pan in a double layer of plastic wrap, and place in freezer.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Remove plastic wrap from sheet pan, if frozen.
- Brush the pastry lightly with egg wash. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar, if using. Bake pastry for 35 minutes (additional time will be needed if baking from frozen). If the top begins to brown before fully baked, cover the pastry with an additional sheet of parchment paper.
- Can be served warm or room temperature.
* Granny Smith apples work best in this recipe, as they cook down most easily. Jonathan or Pippin apples can also be used. Avoid Red Delicious and Fuji apples for this recipe, as they are almost impossible to cook down to the consistency needed.
Egg Wash Recipe
- 1 egg
- Pinch salt
- Splash water
- Beat all ingredients together. Store in the refrigerator. Keeps for one week.