Apple strudel extraordinaire

rsz_strudel_2So a little while back I caught wind of a syndicate of bakers in the Putney area who gathered monthly to share their wares. The group is known as the Putney Bake Club, and as far as I’m concerned it’s one of the best ideas I’ve come across in a while.
Each month the organisers choose a theme, and then on the assigned date everyone brings their baking (along with a guest if they’d like) and spends a lovely couple of hours chatting, drinking tea and, of course, eating plenty of baked goods. What could be better?
On this particular occasion, the Bake Club’s theme was ‘film-inspired’, so I chose to bake an apple strudel reminiscent of the one Landa tucks into in Inglorious Bastards. The recipe is based on Jamie Oliver’s but includes a couple of substitutions.

What you’ll need

rsz_strudel_15 small sweet eating apples
juice of ½ lemon
150g pecans, chopped
ground cinnamon
150g dark muscovado sugar
80g butter
4 large (or 8 smaller) sheets filo pastry
60g caster sugar
1 handful sultanas
icing sugar to dust
ice cream or custard to serve

What to do

Begin by preheating your oven to 180°C/160°C fan/350°F.

Then, to get started with your prep, you’ll need to peel and core your apples, and slice them thinly. Once sliced, transfer them to a large bowl filled with water and the lemon juice to keep them from going brown.

rsz_strudel_5Next, in a small bowl, mix the pecans, cinnamon and muscovado sugar, and set aside.

For the construction of your strudel, you’ll need to clear a bit of counter space an lay out a clean tea towel. Trim your filo pastry sheets so that they measure 30cmx50cm (if you’re using smaller sheets, you can use 2 sheets for each layer) and place your first sheet on the tea towel.

Melt your butter in a small pan (it may require some reheating during this process to keep it liquid-y) and brush the first layer of filo with butter. If you’re using two smaller sheets, you’ll be able to bind their connecting edges with a bit of water. Sprinkle a third of your pecan/cinnamon/muscovado mix over the sheet and repeat the process another two times, finally topping with the fourth sheet of filo.

rsz_strudel_3Drain your apples (getting rid of as much water as you can) and mix them in a large bowl with the caster sugar and sultanas. Transfer your apple mixture to the filo pastry, laying it in a strip down the long edge of the pastry. Brush the opposite (long) edge with water and you’re ready to roll (quite literally!).

Starting with the apple edge of the pastry, gently roll the strudel (like you would a swiss roll) using the towel to help you as you go. Once it’s completely rolled, press down the wet edge to seal the strudel. At this point you can also wet the two ends of the pastry and press them to seal. Transfer the strudel rather carefully to a baking sheet.

Pop it in the over for 20 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Leave it to cool slightly on the baking sheet, then dust with icing sugar when you’re ready to serve. Slice the strudel and accompany with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or custard.

There was some pretty stiff (if friendly) competition for this rather rustic strudel at the Putney Bake Club…

I warn you, this isn’t the tidiest of desserts to serve and you’ll need to be prepared for a bit of crumbling and flaking, but that won’t stop it from being delicious!