Every summer, my family eagerly anticipates local apples. After Labor Day, we take a road trip to an apple orchard in Shafer, Minnesota. It's about an hour from home, but we make the drive because it's so peaceful and beautiful, and not too crowded. They have all our favorite apple varieties, a hiking trail, and even a couple of goats!
We came home with a peck of Zestar apples and a 1/2 peck of Wealthy apples. Judy, mom of the family that owns the orchard, recommended Wealthy for baking. We also got a couple treats -- caramel apples and cinnamon apple strudels. I had a strudel on the way home in the car, and it was delicious. When I got home, I found this easy recipe for Individual Apple Strudel on landolakes.com. It uses frozen puff pastry and makes six strudels, which seemed perfect for a family after school snack. Plus, I really wanted to bake something with our apples.
This recipe only requires two apples, so peeling went fast. I used a vegetable peeler and tried to get all the peeling off in one long strip! Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t!
I cut the apple off in sections around the core, starting with the first half.
Rotate the apple and cut off the next side ...
... and the next and ...
When you have all the pieces cut off around the core, lay them flat and slice them into thin slices, about 1/8-inch thick.
Make sure you have 2 cups of apple slices. Then melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a non-stick pan.
Add the apples, brown sugar, raisins and cinnamon. I found the 8-inch pan too small. My apples kept falling over the sides, so I switched to a 10-inch pan.
Much better! I used a spatula to flip the apples while they cooked, and after about 6 minutes they began to get tender.
To test for tenderness, I cut one in half. It cut easily, but was still slightly crisp, The apples were just the way I wanted them for this recipe. So, I turned the burner off.
For the final filling step, add the pecans and salt. Smells divine!
While the apple mixture cools slightly, get the pastry and toppings ready. Begin by mixing the remaining cinnamon and sugar, which will be used to sprinkle on top just before baking!
Open up a thawed puff pastry sheet onto a floured board.
My pastry was about 9 x 12 inches in size, so I pulled out my rolling pin to flatten it out to 12 x 18 inches.
Keep rolling, from the center to the outside, trying not to roll over the edges which can make them too flat. Keep the board and rolling pin floured enough so that it doesn't stick, flipping and reflouring as needed until it is 12 x 18 inches.
Then, cut the pastry into six, 6 x 6-inch pieces.
Lay the pieces out so the points are at the top, bottom and sides, and brush the top points with the beaten egg.
Almost done! Divide the filling among the 6 pastry pieces, and fold. Start by folding the outside corners in over the filling.
Then, like a mini-burrito, roll from the bottom up over the filling.
Finish by pressing the top corner onto the roll to secure the strudel.
Ready for the pan! Place each strudel, seam side down on a baking sheet, and brush with melted butter. Brush the tops and a little over onto the sides so you have lots of area for the cinnamon sugar to stick to!
The final step is to sprinkle the cinnamon sugar onto the strudels. I used a tiny sieve, tapping the sides to shake the mixture loose. You can also use a spice bottle with a shaker top, or tap through a larger sieve or mesh strainer.
Use a bread knife or another sharp knife, and make two diagonal slashes on the top.
When the strudels are baked, the pastry will be puffed and lightly browned. The filling will be bursting out of the little "windows" created from the slashes in the dough.
I set mine out on the table on a cake display platter, and waited for the "oohs" and "aahs" as kids and Dad came home.
We ate them while they were still warm, and I must say they were every bit as good as any Swedish bakery. Amazing!
Because the recipe made six and there are four of us, I had two extra. I brought one over to a neighbor, and I ate the last one for breakfast the next day. Not surprisingly, it inspired me to find another apple recipe to bake...
If you have fresh apples where you live, or even if you just pick up a couple Granny Smith's from the supermarket, you should definitely try Individual Apple Strudel. No one can believe how easy it is, and of course no one needs to know. I'd love to hear back from you if you try this recipe; remember to rate it on the web site and offer up your tips and thoughts!
Check back in a few days when Mallory makes a fun version of spaghetti with some special helpers …
Liz is paid to write for the Land O'Lakes Recipe Buzz® Blog.