Friday, 6 November 2009

Lazy apple and pecan strudel

I know the daring bakers made their own strudel dough not long ago, but I am not a daring baker (daring cook perhaps). I didn't even think that I liked strudel all that much! But then I began to realise that I didn't like the mixture of stewed apple and raisins (or even apple and cinnamon!) and perhaps that was why I had only mildly enjoyed strudels in the past. I came across a recipe in Feast: Food for sharing from central and eastern europe; it didn't involve raisins, cinnamon or making your own strudel dough, and it DID involve pecans. I am a sucker for the pecan. And it turned out rather marvellous if I do say myself-light, appley and crisp on the outside. It's the kind of light cake I can stomach for breakfast as well as for pudding. However, it did look like a monster-I rolled it up tight but it ballooned during baking!


You will also need a pastry brush.

70g butter
500g apples (weight after peeling, coring and cubing)
1 tbsp lemon juice
100g pecans, roughly chopped
85g caster sugar
10 large sheets of ready-made filo pastry


1. Preheat the oven to gas mark 6/200C/400F.

2. Line a flat baking tray.

3. Cook the apples and lemon juice in a saucepan until the apples are quite soft.

4. Place the apples in a bowl and add the pecans and sugar.

5. Melt the butter in a small saucepan on the lowest heat. Once melted remove the saucepan from the heat source so that it does not continue cooking.

6. Once you remove the filo pastry from the fridge you need to move quickly so that it doesn't dry out. Place the pile of filo pastry onto a plate and cover with clingfilm and/or a damp towel (I do both). Take the sheets out one at a time and cover the plate again straight away. The first time you do this you will feel like a bomb-diffuser, only to become more blasé the more you get used to working with filo pastry.

7. Lay one sheet of filo onto a work surface and brush gently yet generously with the melted butter. Get a 2nd sheet out from your clingfilm, place it directly over the first sheet, and brush with the melted butter as before. Repeat with the next 8 sheets. Your first few sheets may rip a bit, but don't worry, as the sheets layer up they will become stronger in combination, and individual rips will be covered by another sheet of filo. Together they will make a whole.

8. Once all 10 sheets are stacked up, place the apple mixture into the middle and smooth out evenly, leaving a generous margin on all sides.

9. I folded both left and right sides in by one inch, then rolled up from bottom to top like a swiss roll.

10. Butter the roll on all sides and sprinkle some extra sugar over the top. Place on the tray and into the oven for 20-30 minutes, until golden brown.

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