Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Apple strudel

Our puppy loves apples, actually she loves to eat most things, but apples are one of her favourite things at the minute. On our daily walks we pass by some public land where an old orchard has been left in situ. Our dog soon sniffs out some windfall apples, plays football with one or two and then sinks her teeth into one or two apples for good measure. As well as providing entertainment for exuberant puppies, the orchard allows passers by to take a bag and fill them with apples to take home.

We bring a few apples home from time to time and make a variety of apple-based products. This week I made an apple strudel, which everyone loved.  It is made with shop bought filo pastry, so it is quick to put together and takes about 20 minutes to bake. The dark muscavado sugar turns into a tasty toffee once baked. My family thought that this pastry is like eating a wonderful toffee apple or a sticky toffee pudding. It is superb served with a dash of cream, or with some good vanilla ice cream.

Serves 5
4-5 small, sweet eating apples
juice of ½ a lemon
80g butter
4 sheets of filo pasty
150g pecan nuts, chopped
ground cinnamon
150g dark muscovado sugar
60g caster sugar
a handful of dried cranberries
icing sugar, to dust the strudel
cream good-quality vanilla ice cream, to serve

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4.
2. Peel and slice the apples thinly, and put them in a bowl of cold water with a little lemon juice to stop them going brown. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over a low heat and keep warm.
3. Carefully take out the filo pasty and place one sheet on a clean tea towel. Mix the pecans, cinnamon and dark muscovado sugar together.
4. Brush the first sheet of filo with melted butter. Sprinkle over a third of the pecan mixture. Lay another sheet of filo pastry on top, brush with butter and sprinkle again with a third of the pecan mixture.  You can have three or four sheets. On the final sheet op with the apple mixture.
5. Drain your apples well and toss with the caster sugar and drained cranberries. Spread them out along one edge of the top sheet of filo pastry. Brush the opposite edge with a little water. Starting at the edge with the apple mixture on, gently lift the edge of the tea towel and use it to help you roll the pastry up lengthways like a Swiss roll – the apples will end up at the centre. Once it’s all rolled up, press your strudel together gently.
6. Place it on a baking try and bake in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes or until golden brown. Dust with icing sugar and serve cream or with some good vanilla ice cream.

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