Thursday, January 21, 2016

Easy-to-Make Apple Strudel Braids

Crispy and buttery, braided mini strudel filled with 
soft apples, sweet raisins, and a dash of cinnamon
A perfect way to warm up these cold winter days!

It goes without saying that I love apple desserts. You probably have guessed it by the many recipes with apples on the blog. Apple roses, apple crostata, classic apple pie, soft and moist apple cake ... Ok, ok. You got me. But what's not to love about healthy, naturally sweet and juicy apples wrapped in buttery and crispy pastry?!? Wholesome and comforting. Especially on cold winter days. Yes, even here in Southern California we've had, strangely enough, a bit of winter showing this year!
Chilly and rainy days are perfect for baking, especially a warm and deliciously sweet apple strudel. The aroma of the apples mixed with cinnamon will make your kitchen smell like the holidays, all over again.
I really meant to make the pastry from scratch, just like they do in Austria. I even asked my good friend from Vienna how she makes the dough - with or without an egg, with butter or oil, bit of sugar or no sugar at all... There are a few different recipes out there. In all of them, once you knead the dough (no yeast!!), let it rest for an hour, and stretch it super thin using your hands, making a huge, paper thin pastry, that will be wrapped around the apple fillings many time around. Delicious!! I really want to try it. But sorry, not today. Apparently it's easier if two people pull the pastry. This time, it was just me in the kitchen. So maybe next time... anyone around interested?!?  :)
In today's recipe, I used frozen puff pastry. And rather than making one big strudel to then cut in slices, I made six cute braids. 
Start by toasting the breadcrumbs with a bit of butter and a dash of cinnamon. Peel, slice and cut the apples in pieces ... this is actually the most time-consuming part of the whole recipe!  Mix the apple pieces, with a bit of lemon, sugar and raisins. Stretch the puff pastry and cut in 6 parts. You can see in my video, how easy is to make the braids: 

Piece of cake, right?!?
You can serve at room temperature, or right out of the oven Don't forget a scoop of vanilla ice-cream! Heavenly :)


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Ingredients: to make 6 braids
  • 1 sheet of puff pastry, thawed (I used Pepperidge Farm frozen puff pastry)
  • 1/2 cup (65 gr) of raisins
  • 4 tablespoons (55 gr) of unsalted butter, divided
  • 1/3 cup (45 gr) of white, plain bread crumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup (65 gr) of sugar, plus one tablespoon
  • 2 medium apples (about 1 lb, 450 gr) I used Granny Smith
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon of flour for dusting
  • white coarse sugar (optional ) for top

Preparation time: about one hour and 15 minutes

Directions:

1. Thaw the puff pastry, at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 375º F (190º C).

2. Soak the raisins in a cup of warm water to soften, for about 10 minutes, or while you prepare the rest of the filling.

3. Melt 3 tablespoons (40 gr) of butter in a skillet and sauté the bread crumbs, stirring until golden brown. Add the cinnamon and one tablespoon of sugar. Mix well and set aside.


4. Peel the apples, remove the core, and cut in slices and than pieces. Sprinkle with lemon juice, so they will not turn brown. Mix in half cup of sugar. Drain the raisins and mix in with the apple slices


5. Roll the dough on a lightly floured surface. The pastry sheet was originally 9x9 in (23x23 cm). Roll it to about 12x15 inches (30x38 cm). Cut in 6 parts, each should be about 6x5 in (15 x 12.5 cm).


6. Spread some of the bread crumbs in the middle of each pastry, lengthwise, as shown in the picture. Leave a little space on top and bottom. Spoon the apple mixture on top of the breadcrumbs. Cut the pastry as shown, on top and bottom, so you can fold in the top and bottom pastry so that the filling won't fall out. And cut about 4 to 5 slits on each side. Fold the pastry strips over the apple, alternating sides, just like a braid. Tuck in the bottom under the braid. 


7. Brush with the remaining one tablespoon of butter (melted), and sprinkle with coarse sugar if you'd like to use it.

8. Place the six braids on a baking sheet cover with parchment paper. Bake at 375º F (190º C) for 30-35 minutes until golden on top.

Enjoy :)


2 comments:

  1. This looks delicious! I love your blog! I am afraid of getting overweight with so many nice recipes. Thank you for sharing them, though.

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    Replies
    1. Haha!!! Thank you so much David!!! Just do what I do, extra15 minutes workout any time I bake something new!! Or to save some time, you could try doing sit ups while eating these apple strudels... but not recommended! Haha ;)

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