A special request from the lovely Anastasia.
Our apple tree is abundant with beautiful, fresh cooking apples this autumn and, as apple puddings have recently become one of My Favourite Things, I thought I’d seize the chance to make a sweet strudel and continue the Austrian theme with one of mine and Flossie’s favourite recipes – our beloved Crisp Apple Strudel. It fills the kitchen with smells of Christmas spices and brings back delightful memories of Austrian cafes and Sound of Music film nights.
When the dog bites, when the bee stings, when you’re feeling bad, treat yourself to some delicious, surprisingly simple, apple strudel.
1 packet of filo pastry (6 sheets)
2 large or 3 medium cooking apples (roughly 800g)
1 lemon (zest and juice if desired)
¾ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp ground cloves
a pinch of nutmeg (optional)
40g light brown soft sugar (whatever sugar you happen to have should work just as well)
50g approx. butter
extra sugar for sprinkling (Demerara sugar works well for this stage if you have it)
1. Begin by peeling and coring your apples. Cut them into chunks of roughly the same size and place them in a large bowl.
2. Add your spices (feel free to alter the quantities according to taste), the sugar, the zest of a lemon and a little lemon juice (this can also help to keep the apples fresh).
3. Preheat the oven to around 190-200˚c.
3. Melt your butter in the microwave or in a pan on the hob.
4. Lay the filo pastry sheets on a clean surface and cover with a tea towel to prevent them from drying out. Take the first sheet from the top of the pile and replace the tea towel.
5. Brush the sheet with a generous covering of melted butter with a pastry brush, if you have one, or your fingers.6. Lay about a sixth of the apple mixture in a line along the short side of the filo sheet (as shown in the picture), leaving a bit of space at the top and the bottom so that you can fold along the long side to make sure the apple doesn’t escape. Once you have folded along the long sides, roll the strudel up, starting from the side with the apple, ensuring that it is all contained within the sheet of pastry.
7. Place with the fold down on a greased baking tray.
8. Repeat with all the sheets of filo pastry until you have six little strudels. Ensure that they are not touching as they sit in the baking tray and then brush the tops with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar to ensure ultimate crispness.
9. Place in your pre-heated oven and cook for 20-25 minutes.
10. Serve however you like , with a dollop of cream, or if you’re like me, covered in custard. I also think they look very pretty sprinkled with sieved icing sugar.