This is my go-to “guests at the door and I have nothing to serve with tea” recipe. It requires a little bit more work than the apple charlotte, but is still quick to make, and the results are reliable time after time.
5-6 large granny smith apples (or another good baking apple that will retain its shape)
1 sheet of puff pastry (about a pound)
1/2 to 1 cup of sugar, preferably brown
1 stick of butter (8 tablespoons)
1 egg, beaten, for eggwash
nutmeg and/or cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 375F.
Melt about half the butter in a pan and add sugar, then apples. Cook the apples until they brown up, but not falling apart. Watch the caramel sauce, because it can burn quickly.
While the apples are cooking, roll out your puff pastry on a floured surface. Do not roll it out too thin, or you will not be able to wrap the strudel. You need at least a quarter inch thickness to be able to wrap the apples without tearing the dough.
Place the rolled out dough onto the cookie sheet and arrange the apples in the middle (I also added some brown sugar to apples here). I found that it is a lot easier to do the wrapping while the dough is already on the cookie sheet, rather than wrap and then transfer the strudel onto the sheet.
Start wrapping: first, fold the bottom to cover the apple layer:
Now add more apples on top:
Cover with the remaining flap of the dough:
Moisten the dough to adhere any loose edges. Brush with the beaten egg and sprinkle additional brown sugar on top. You don’t have to use eggwash but it makes the strudel pretty.
Place the strudel in the preheated oven and cook for 20-30 minutes, or until golden brown.
Your strudel may explode. It is OK. It does not make it any less tasty, and that is what whipped cream is for. And once you cut it up, nobody will know.
Strudel goes very well with ice cream, should you not have whipped cream on hand. Actually, judging by the fact that I had to wrestle the strudel from my family’s hands and forks to photograph it, strudel goes quite well on its own, too.