Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Oodles of strudel

What better way to spend the afternoon than by adulterating the buttery, flaky layers of an apple strudel with yet more quince?

This version has a lovely, almost baklava-like pastry, with the nuts and sugar forming a crisp, caramelised base for the soft fruit within. You can serve this with thick cream or ice cream for a really sinful pudding, but I rather like it on its own, still warm from the oven while the base is at it's crunchiest.

A crisp apple and quince strudel

400g bramley apples, peeled, cored and thickly sliced (kept in water with a drop of lemon in)
2 large quince, peeled, cored and sliced a little more thinly (in lemon water)
70g butter
filo pastry
45g crushed unblanched almonds
35g ground almonds
20g breadcrumbs
a scant ½ tsp ground alspice
100g light brown muscovado sugar
40g caster sugar

1) You'll need 4 pieces of filo pastry about 45cm x 30cm - if your filo pastry isn't large enough, you can glue pieces together with the melted butter. Yum yum!

2) Mix the breadcrumbs, nuts, spice and muscovado sugar together in a bowl, and melt the butter. Now place the first sheet of filo pastry onto a chopping board or baking sheet and brush all over with melted butter. Scatter the sheet with one quarter of the nut mixture, leaving a 5cm gap around the edges. Now place the next layer of filo pastry on top of the first, and repeat with more butter and nuts until you have used all 4 sheets of pastry. You should end on a layer of nuts.

3) Drain the apples and quinces and toss in the caster sugar.  Now pile the fruit into a log shape down the length of the pastry, fold over the long edges towards the centre so they overlap, then tuck under the ends. Cover the whole thing with more melted butter. If you have any little holes don't worry, just patch them up with some more filo pastry.

4) Bake for 45-50 minutes at 180°c/350°f/gas mark 4, until the pastry is golden and crisp.

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