Apple strudel – enhanced by candlelight

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It was the last night of the holidays and there were three Howgate Wonder apples left from this year’s crop.  I had been saving them for an apple strudel for some point over the festive season. This seemed to be the night. There was the added dubious advantage of a full house of assistants, ready to mock as I nobly struggled with a recipe, which included such instructions as ‘Don’t worry it’s not as difficult as it looks’ and ‘don’t panic’. I didn’t worry and I didn’t panic, but my efforts were rewarded with unhelpful comments:  ‘It looks like one of those creatures from Star Wars’, ‘It reminds me of that UFO they saw in space last year’. It maybe wasn’t the most beautiful strudel, but it more or less worked, and it wasn’t as difficult as the recipe looks. Here’s the recipe if you’re feeling brave.

Apple strudel

Pastry

  • 150g flour
  • 1 egg
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tblsp oil
  • 3 tblsp warm water

Filling

  • 15g butter
  • 25g breadcrumbs
  • 500g cooking apples (the original recipe said 675g but I think that was a little too much, contributing to the alien effect so have adjusted the quantity here)
  • 25g flaked almonds
  • 25g raisins
  • 25g sugar

To decorate

  • 25g melted butter
  • a little icing sugar

First make the pastry:

  1. Sieve the flour and salt into a bowl
  2. Add the egg, mixed with the oil and water
  3. Mix with a wooden spoon until the dough forms a ball
  4. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for about five minutes, adding a little extra flour if too sticky
  5. Put back in a bowl, cover with a damp cloth and leave for 30 minutes

Make the filling

  1. Melt the butter and fry the breadcrumbs until golden brown
  2. Peel, core and slice the apples finely, leave in a bowl with a little lemon juice until ready to use (I didn’t peel the apples as these are so beautiful but you may wish to if using a tougher variety)
  3. Weigh out the sugar, almonds and raisinsWP_20180103_22_10_59_Pro

Construct the strudel

  1. Take a clean tea towel and lay it out flat on a work surface
  2. Sprinkle flour all over the towel
  3. Place the dough in the middle and roll it out with a floured rolling pin until it covers the whole towel (the recipe in the book says here ‘don’t panic’ – I agree, the dough will stretch)
  4. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs evenly across the pastry
  5. Cover with a layer of apples, spread evenly across the pastry
  6. Sprinkle the almonds, sugar and raisins on top

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Assemble the strudel

  1. Grease a large baking tray
  2. Taking one end of the tea towel, lift it and gently let the strudel roll over itself like a Swiss roll – don’t panic at this point either
  3. When it has completely rolled up, carefully transfer it to a greased baking tray
  4. Bake in an oven at 180 degrees/gas mark 4 for about 25 minutes
  5. Take out and brush with butter and return to the over for 5 minutes
  6. Sprinkle with sieved icing sugar

*based on a recipe from ‘The Apple Book’ by Jane Simpson and Gill MacLennan, 1984

My charming assistants admitted in the end that it was really rather good, an appropriate celebration of the end of (some of) our holidays, a fitting use for the last of the Howgate Wonders and definitely enhanced by candlelight.

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