The best part about using puff pastry to create this strudel is the fact that when it bakes up, golden brown, puffed and flaky, it looks as if you’ve labored away for hours and hours in the kitchen, fashioning this beautiful masterpiece, that actually took less than a minute to braid up. Since a package of puff pastry (found in your freezer section at the grocer) has two sheets of dough, I like to go ahead and create two strudels, then freeze one for later; it makes a great gift for someone to bake fresh in their kitchen and these guys freeze great. Use your favorite Kansas apples each Fall for the sweet/tart flavor profile you prefer.
As seen on Chef Alli’s Farm Fresh Kitchen as part of WIBW 13 News This Morning, sponsored by Kansas Farm Bureau, Oct. 2014.
Makes 2 Strudels
1 box frozen puff pastry, thawed (2 sheets puff pastry)
3-4 Tbs. unsalted butter, softened
6 Granny Smith or Jonathon apples, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. ground cardamom
zest and juice from 1 lemon
1 tsp.vanilla extract
2 Tbs. cornstarch
2/3 cup dried cranberries
Egg Wash: 1 egg beaten with 1 Tbs. water
2 Tbs. unsalted butter, softened
2 Tbs. cream cheese, softened
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ – 1 Tbs. milk (depending on desired consistency of glaze)
2-3 Tbs. toasted almond slices
In a large sauté pan over medium heat, add all filling ingredients; stir to combine. Bring to a boil then reduce to a gentle simmer for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Let filling cool completely. Meanwhile, prepare egg wash and set aside.
On a work surface lined with parchment paper, lightly dust parchment with flour. Carefully unfold thawed puff pastry and place onto parchment. Using a rolling pin, roll out puff pastry to form a 12” x 9” rectangle on top of parchment. Lift parchment and dough to a baking sheet; place the cooled prepared filling down the center of dough, leaving 1/2” of space at short ends and approx. 4” of space along long sides. Using your kitchen shears, cut strips along the long sides of the outer thirds of pastry, approx. 1” apart.
Beginning with one short end, form the braid: Fold the half-inch edge of dough up over the filling at each short end, then pull the first strip on the right over the filling at a 45-degree angle. Now fold the first strip on the left over the filling, overlapping the first strip. Continue folding strips of dough from alternate sides to form a braided pattern. Using a pastry brush, gently brush prepared braid with egg wash. Bake in preheated 375 degree F. oven on center rack for 20-25 minutes, or until braid is golden brown and puffed.
To prepare glaze, beat cream cheese with butter in a mixing bowl until smooth; add confectioners’ sugar, vanilla extract, and milk to desired consistency and smoothness. Let pastry cool for about 15-20 minutes before glazing; sprinkle with almonds while glaze is still soft. Slice braid into slices and serve warm.
*To Bake From Frozen: Place frozen braid onto baking sheet and pop into a preheated 375 degree oven. Bake, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and continue to bake an additional 5-10 minutes until braid is golden brown, puffed and hot throughout. Glaze as directed above.
Now You’re Cookin’,