Friday, June 11, 2010
From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...The ghosts with whom I share my kitchen are restless tonight. I took a short cut and made a strudel that bares no resemblance to the one they taught me to make all those years ago. I could argue that this pastry is difficult to make. That is true. Experts demand that the dough be stretched so thin a newspaper can be read through it. That is also true. My excuse tonight is that I had no one to help me stretch the dough. That led me to take a short cut, and, for my efforts, end up with a pastry that bares little resemblance to the "real" strudel I wanted to make. I could have gone with puff pastry, but I decided instead to use filo to form the skin of my strudel. The crackly crispness of the filo leaves appealed to me. That's where my plan went wrong. The filo sheets are so fine that that they can't handle the juices released by the fruit as it cooks. The pastry becomes water logged and most unappealing. I hasten to add that I love filo, I just don't love it for this application. I used an apple filling that I've made since childhood and I had no problem with that, but I do want to warn you that if you like cooked fruit it would be best to saute the apples before rolling them in pastry. This just doesn't bake long enough to do anything but soften the fruit. I also had difficulty getting the filo to brown. The best I could come up with was pale blond and I was really looking for a deep golden brown roll. My results were middling at best because the component parts did not work well together. If any of you plan to make strudel using anything but classic techniques, I'd advise using puff pastry instead of filo. The recipe, save for the "skin" remains the same. This makes a pleasant dessert served straight from the oven, but it does not keep well. It's best I keep the adjectives to myself. I will not make this again. Here's the recipe I used.
Apple Strudel...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Quezi
1 sleeve thawed filo dough
1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
4 cups apples, cut in 1/2-inch dice
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
1 cup raisins
1 cup toasted finely chopped walnuts
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
1) Melt butter in microwave or stovetop in a small pan. Set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2) Combine apples, sugar, cinnamon and lemon juice and zest in a medium bowl. Toss well to distribute sugar and spices. Let sit for 30 minutes.
3) Unroll defrosted filo dough. Remove one sheet and place it on a pastry board. Cover stacked filo with a damp towel of plastic wrap. Brush sheet of filo with melted butter. Repeat with at least 4 more layers. You may use up to 10 sheets. Do not cover the last sheet with butter. Sprinkle surface of dough with walnuts. Drain apples and squeeze out juices that have accumulated. This is done to prevent filo from getting soggy. Scatter apples and raisins over filo stack, leaving 1-inch uncovered on all sides. Turn in edges of dough. Starting at short end loosely roll filo. Roll so seam is at bottom of roll when end of dough is reached. Transfer to an ungreased baking sheet. Brush top and sides of roll with remaining butter.
4) Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes and check for progress. How long it will take to bake strudel depends on how many sheets of filo and what kind of fruit you used. Strudel should be golden brown. If it’s not done at 15 minutes increase baking time.
5) When done, take strudel out of the oven and immediately cut it into 6 – 8 slices with a serrated knife. Separate slices so that steam from hot fruit can escape. Strudel will become soggy if not sliced immediately. Sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired. Yield: 6 to 8 servings.
You might also enjoy these recipes:
Apfel Sahne Torte - One Perfect Bite
Cran-Apple Crisp - One Perfect Bite
The Apple Lady Apple Cake - One Perfect Bite