Mouth the word strudel and it feels almost as good as it does to eat the flaky pastry. Hot from the oven, rum-laced apples and buttery brie melt into the dough.
Add some cinnamon, raisins, vanilla, and lemon zest to the mix and it’s time to celebrate. Invite a few friends over for brunch and say farewell to spring. If you have any apple filling left over, bake and serve as a hot dip with grilled toasts or spoon it up by itself.
The May Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Linda of make life sweeter! and Courtney of Coco Cooks. They chose Apple Strudel from the recipe book Kaffeehaus: Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafés of Vienna, Budapest and Prague by Rick Rodgers.
A few notes about the following recipe: it uses natural, unrefined sweetener and whole wheat pastry flour unlike the Kaffeehaus one. Also note that the brie can easily be left out for a vegan version of the recipe. Try replacing the cheese with tofu cream cheese along with a teaspoon or two of fresh squeezed lemon juice.
adapted from Sweet and Natural by Meredith McCarthy
1 1/2 pounds crisp, tart apples, about 4 ½ cups, peeled and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons golden rum
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup walnuts, toasted and finely chopped
3 tablespoons cane sugar
2 tablespoons whole wheat bread crumbs
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
zest of 1 lemon
optional: 6 ounces brie cheese (softened)
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup unbleached white flour
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/3 cup grapeseed oil (walnut, canola, sesame, almond, sunflower, safflower, etc.)
4 tablespoons agave nectar
1/3 cup rice milk
Preheat the oven to 350º. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or lightly coat with oil.
Mix the filling ingredients reserving 1 tablespoon sugar to sprinkle on top later; set aside.
Prepare the pastry. Mix the flours with the salt. Stir in the oil until lumps form or until it resembles coarse meal. Add agave nectar; then gradually and rice milk. Mix quickly until you have a somewhat soft, pliable ball in the center of the bowl. Add a little more flour or rice milk, if the dough is either too wet or too dry.
Roll it out to a large, thin rectangle between sheets of parchment paper. Transfer to the baking sheet so you don’t have to move it later after it’s filled. Trim the edges by cutting along the inside edge of the baking sheet with a knife, or use a pastry wheel for wavy or zigzag edges.
Arrange the filling lengthwise on the central one third of the dough. Cut the side portions of dough into 1-inch strips on the diagonal with a knife or pastry wheel. Fold the sides and short ends of the dough in. Fold dough strips over the filling, alternating one side and then the other in crisscross fashion.
Cover pastry with foil and bake until fruit is soft when tested with a thin sharp knife and you can hear and see the juices, 40 to 50 minutes. Remove foil and sprinkle the top with reserved tablespoon dry sweetener. Return to oven until golden brown, 10 minutes more. Let cool slightly, then serve.