Times like this call for easy cures. After a long day of the start of Holiday hustle dance, a sweet treat is in order. Too tired to make a perfectly chilled pie crust but quick enough to thaw puff pastry for 30 minutes. This easy apple strudel will cure those sweet tooth woes.
Puff pastry is my angel in a disguised cardboard box. I always keep a few boxes in the freezer for emergencies like this. Easy enough to pull off a fancy lookin’ pear tart or desperate enough when craving something fall-like and sweet. I’ve seen true strudel’s being made and that’s tough business. The dough has to be paper, paper thin risking small tears and is stretched out more than an O.C. housewife. I’ll leave that to the professionals and use my cheater best friend.
Simply toss apples in any flavors you like. I chose for the traditional, sugar, citrus zest and fresh vanilla bean with a few twists of cardamom. Let it sit and merry white you taste a few apples, just to be sure. I also had some cream cheese on hand (another staple in the house…hello rugelach!) and spread a nice layer under the apples. I planned on adding raisins because yes, I am one that loves raisins (again, the rugelach) but didn’t remember to add them in. So add some raisins with the apples if you like.
- 3 apples peeled and chopped into 1/2 inch cubes (I used Pink Lady's)
- 1 vanilla bean split and seeds removed
- 1 lemon zest and juiced (or small orange)
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp cardamom optional
- 1/4 cup sugar more for tart apples
- Pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup cream cheese softened
- 1 sheet Puff Pastry thawed
- Flour for rolling
- 1 egg for egg-wash
- Powdered sugar for garnish
First, pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F.
In a large bowl, add the apples, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, spices, salt, lemon juice and zest. Toss together and taste for seasoning. Set aside.
On a lightly floured surface, unfold puff pastry and use a rolling pill to gently roll it out a bit thinner. Lay the puff pastry horizontally in front of you and spread the softened cream cheese towards the bottom 2/3 in an even thin layer.
Gently pour the apples over the cream cheese, making sure no apples are poking out and any liquid is left in the bowl.
Fold the top off of the puff pastry over the apples making a tight seal and place seam side down. Pinch and tuck the ends of the puff pastry under the strudel. Place on non-stick baking sheet.
Lightly whisk the egg with a splash of water and brush egg-wash all over the strudel. Use a knife to cut small slits into the puff pastry.
Bake at 375 degrees F for 35-40 minutes. Check strudel at 30 minutes and if it is browning on the top too quickly, cover with foil and continue baking.
When done, remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes, then dust with powdered sugar.
Oven temperatures may vary, so check strudel at about 30 minutes for browning. If puff pastry is undercooked, cover with foil and continue baking until cooked through.