How do I love thee, apple strudel… let me count the ways! Apple strudel has been a perennial favourite of mine for more years than I can remember. What’s not to love, with its crunchy filo pastry and spiced apple filling? I love it any way it comes – warm, room temperature, or straight out of the fridge for a cheeky morning left-over treat!
I have no idea why I haven’t made it until now. After all, I’ve made just about every other apple-based dessert from apple pies and galettes, to tarte tatins and crumbles. So, when my brother suggested I make it for dessert last week, I was more than happy to oblige.
It was good timing actually, as I’d just watched Rick Stein make his version of Apple Strudel on tele and then promptly located the recipe online, thanks to BBC Food. And, joy oh joy, I didn’t have to make my own filo! Not that I wouldn’t be up for the challenge but, frankly, I have neither the time, the space or the inclination.
Truth be told, I’ve made this recipe two weeks in a row. The first week I wasn’t completely sold on the result. While the filling was to die for, the pastry seemed a little on the soft and chewy side. It’s not a good sign when you see discarded pastry sitting on otherwise empty plates! So I made a few adjustments (popping a pizza stone underneath the tray to ensure the bottom cooked quickly and adding almond flour in between the filo layers for more crunch), and second time around, it worked like a charm.
I should mention that the choice of apple is absolutely crucial to this dessert’s success. My absolute favourite apple this summer is the Yummy Fruit Company’s SweeTango apple. It’s just the right blend of sweet and tangy (hence the name!) and perfect for strudel where you want a bit of ‘bite’.
Second time around, plates were licked, ‘seconds’ were had, and comparisons were made with the genuine article you find in posh European eateries. What more motivation do I need to make it again in the near future?! None. Enjoy!
- 10 oz Bramley apples, peeled, cored, quartered and sliced (I used SweeTango apples)
- 1-1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 unwaxed lemon (zest only)
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 3-1/4 oz golden or raw caster sugar
- 2-1/2 oz raisins
- 3-1/2 oz butter, divided
- 1-1/2 oz white breadcrumbs (I used gluten-free)
- 6 large sheets filo pastry
- Approx. 3/4 cup almond flour, ground almonds
- 1 tbsp icing sugar
- Preheat the oven to 190C (374F) and, if possible, place a pizza stone on the oven rack. Line a baking tray with raised lip (to catch any juices) with baking parchment.
- Mix the sliced apples with the cinnamon, lemon zest and juice, sugar and raisins. In a small frying pan, melt (3/4oz) butter and fry the breadcrumbs until golden-brown, then add to the apple mixture and fold in to combine.
- Melt the remaining butter in a pan. On a clean, dry tea-towel lay a sheet of the filo and brush liberally with some of the melted butter. Lightly sprinkle over some almond flour. Lay another sheet on top and repeat until you have used all of the filo and almond flour.
- Pile the filling along the length of the pastry along one side about 2-3cm/1in from the edge and sides and using the tea-towel to help you, roll the pastry up to enclose the filling, ending with the seam side down. Tuck the ends in and gently lift it seam-side down onto the lined baking sheet. Brush with the remaining melted butter.
- Bake for about 45 minutes, until the pastry is golden-brown (don’t worry if the pastry has cracked and juices have escaped – it all adds to the charm). Leave to cool to room temperature and dust liberally with icing sugar. Slice and serve with lashings of cream, ice cream or custard.