Popping in with some apple strudel for you, my friends.
We’re at the tail end of our apple supply, just a dozen or so more baking and eating apples rolling around in the crisper, but this weekend when my parents are in Pennsylvania, they plan to swing by an orchard, so I’ll be putting in an order for a bushel of eating apples and a half bushel of baking. (Our local orchard closes over the winter.) Now that we have an extra fridge in the barn for (mostly dairy) overflow, storing apples is a lot easier.
The first time I made this strudel, I was not impressed: soft biscuit with apple mush. But then I ate another piece the next morning. The flavors had melded and deepened, and the filling and pastry felt more cohesive, like together they were worth more. My younger son was nuts about it. He kept slicing slabs of strudel to eat out of hand.
So I made it again, this time slicing the apples bigger and baking it longer. It was good after all, I decided. A couple days ago, I made it again (there’s all those apples to use up), and this time I made more changes. To the apples, I switched from white sugar to brown. To the dough, I added sugar, increased the salt, and swapped out some of the all-purpose flour for einkorn. And now I’m happy.
I realize some of you highbrow folks (“highbrow” because you raising your eyebrows judgily at us lowbrow folks who are working too hard to look up long enough to raise our eyebrows) will take issue with my use of the word “strudel” since the dough I’m using isn’t traditional: high gluten, super thin, with oil, no sugar, etc, etc. Mine is more of a biscuit-slash-flaky pie crust. But I’ve never had traditional strudel and mine is delicious, so there.
Einkorn flour is new for me. I learned about it at the bakery — the head baker once made a one-hundred percent einkorn bread — and then I decided to order some of the flour and give it a try. So far, it behaves similarly to whole wheat pastry flour (I’ve been adding some to my sourdough in place of whole wheat, and to biscuits, too), but it has a nuttier flavor and adds a pretty texture and a bit of speckling to the final product. In the case of the strudel, it elevates the whole thing considerably, I think. I’ll be ordering more soon.
I realize this strudel is pretty similar to pie — crust plus filling — but it feels about seventy-five percent easier. Maybe because it looks so rustic. Maybe because there’s no messy oven drips. Maybe because you can eat it out of hand. Actually, I think it has to do a lot with that last reason. Pie feels like an event. You need a plate. Maybe a special crumb topping. Perhaps some whipped cream or ice cream on the side.
Strudel, on the other hand, is its own thing. Cut a slab and eat it with a cup of coffee for breakfast. Or pass it off to a hungry kid for an afternoon snack, no dirty dishes necessary.
Adapted from Kate at Venison for Dinner.
for the dough:
2 cups all purpose flour
½ cup einkorn flour (or whole wheat pastry flour)
1 tablespoon white sugar
1¼ teaspoon salt
2 sticks (8 ounces) cold butter, cubed
1 egg, separated
¾ cup milk
Measure the flours, white sugar, and salt into a food processor (or mix by hand) and pulse to combine. Add the cold butter cubes and pulse until crumbly. Pour in the milk and egg yolk (save the white) and pulse briefly, just until combined.
for the apple filling:
6-8 apples, peeled, cored, and cut in thick slices
¾ cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon cinnamon
In a separate bowl, toss the fruit with the sugar, cornstarch, and cinnamon.
for the glaze:
1 cup confectioner’s sugar, sifted
½ teaspoon vanilla
several tablespoons milk
Whisk together all ingredients, adding more milk as needed to make a dizzle-able glaze.
Place two large pieces of parchment paper on the counter. Lightly flour one piece. Cut the dough in half; set one piece aside and roll the other half out into a thin, large rectangle on the piece of parchment. Place the parchment on a large baking sheet. Repeat the process with the other piece of floured parchment and piece of dough, making the two rectangles as similar in size as possible.
Tumble the sugared apples onto the piece of dough that’s on the pan, making sure to leave about a half inch of exposed dough around the edge. Flip the other piece of dough onto the top of the apples and peel away the parchment. Crimp by folding the bottom edge of the crust up over the top and pressing to seal. Beat the egg white with a fork until frothy and brush over the top and sides of the strudel. Using a sharp knife, cut slits in the top crust.
Bake the strudel at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes, or until golden brown. Drizzle with the glaze and allow to cool before cutting into squares. Leftovers keep well, uncovered, at room temperature in a jelly cupboard.
This same time, years previous: the coronavirus diaries: week 45, the quotidian (1.13.20), full house, Scandinavian sweet buns, cranberry bread, the quotidian (1.13.14), roll and twist, vanilla cream cheese braids, rum raisin shortbread.