Bavarian Style Apple Strudel (Apfel Strudel)
Apple strudel is synonymous with Germany, but there are many variations in other countries (such as Austria). My mother's roots are from Bavaria, and so I wanted to create the Apfel Strudel of my childhood memories. Authentic apple strudel dough is a laborious and painstaking process of rolling the dough paper thin-- so thin you could read a newspaper through it. This recipe takes a shortcut, by using prepared, frozen puff pastry. In Bavaria, neither bread crumbs nor nuts are used in the filling. Instead, I used fresh apples and golden raisins, with a delicate balance of cinnamon and sugar. This is much easier to make than you would imagine. It's delicious, freshly baked and served warm with fresh whipped cream as an added bonus.
- 1 package frozen puff pastry (I used Pepperidge Farm brand), thawed overnight in the refrigerated, per package directions
- 3 apples (I used a combination of Granny Smith and Jonigolds-- golden delicious are a good choice, too)
- 3/4 cup golden raisins
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon Clearjel* (a useful thickener purchased from www.Kingarthurflour.com)
- 1/4 cup boiled cider** (optional, purchased from www.Kingarthurflour.com)
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 2 to 3 teaspoons cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- 3 to 6 tablespoons sour cream (approximately)
- 1 egg (beaten with a splash of water)
- Coarse sugar (optional)
Preparation time 30mins
Cooking time 75mins
Adapted from afeastfortheeyes.net
NOTE: I find that rolling out the puff pastry on a lightly floured sheet of parchment paper is ideal. This helps with the rolling of the strudel and for the transferring of the filled strudel onto a baking sheet a breeze!
Peel and remove the core. Slice the apples thinly. NOTE: I invested in an apple peeler, corer, that makes this process so easy to do. I simply attach the apple to the fork, turn the crank and my apple is peeled, cored and sliced thin very quickly!
I also drop the prepared apples in a bowl of cold water, with the juice of half a lemon (to prevent browning).
If using Clearjel thickener, add it to the sugar and mix together. Add the sugar, lemon juice, golden raisins, boiled apple cider** (if using)and cinnamon to the apples and mix to combine. Set aside.
**Boiled cider is a heavily concentrated cider that has been boiled down and reduced to a very thick syrup. I use this to enhance my apple pies, crisps and strudels. It's also a great way to make apple juice, or pour it over pancakes.
Gently roll the sheet of puff pastry out to smooth out the fold marks into a rectangular shape.
Brush an even layer of melted butter onto the pastry.
I "plop" about 3 tablespoons of sour cream right down the center and spread it evenly, leaving at least a 2-inch border all the way around.
The apple mixture might become watery, as the apples begin to release their juices. So, use a slotted spoon (or clean hands) to add half of the apple mixture into the center of the pastry sheet-- leaving at least a 2-inch border.
Lift up one side of the parchment paper to cover the center filling. Lift up the other side to cover the fruit entirely.
Pinch together the long seam and both ends, to seal the pastry. Tuck the ends over the top and gently press to seal.
Lift the parchment paper over a parchment lined baking sheet and gently roll the strudel on to the sheet, with the sealed side down.
Repeat the process with the second puff pastry sheet.
At this point, you can refrigerate the strudel until you are ready to bake it (within a few hours).
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Brush the egg wash over each strudel and sprinkle with coarse sugar (if using).
Using a sharp knife, make diagonal slices across the top 2-3-inches apart.
Bake between 35 to 40 minutes, or until golden brown.
Allow to cool on a baking rack, for at least five minutes.
The strudel is best served warm or at room temperature, and is best eaten on the day that is is baked. If desired, you can whisk powdered sugar all over the top right before serving.
Fresh whipped cream is a lovely garnish, as well.
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