I have a real sweet tooth, even more so in the latter stages of pregnancy, but I’m in no way a baker. I don’t have the patience or precision when it comes to cooking, which is essential when baking as we can all probably admire from the Great British Bake Off.
I do love a good pastry (cinnamon swirls are my absolute favourite) and find the ready made pastry packs the ideal solution to my baking laziness when I really get the urge to knock something up at home – it’s hard to go wrong with the filling and the technical bit of the pastry is done for you! I love apple-filled desserts too so when I uncovered a spare pastry pack in the freezer I took the opportunity to make something Autumnal and apple-y, and created a little Apple and Sultana Strudel.
I found a hundred recipes online but was looking for one without butter (the only thing I didn’t have in the fridge) so have merged a few recipes to create my own easy one:
- Two large apples (I used Cox), peeled, cored and thinly sliced
- Two tbsp light brown sugar
- One tbsp plain flour (plus extra for flouring)
- Squeeze of lemon juice
- Half a tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
- Handful of sultanas
- 1 egg beaten with a tbsp cold water
- Pack of puff pastry (pre-rolled is easier!)
- Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 7
- Mix your sugar, flour and cinnamon in a bowl, squeeze in the lemon juice and add the vanilla extract if you’re using.
- Add the apples and sultanas and stir until all of the apple slices are coated in the mix (which should only be slightly wet). Set aside.
- If you’re using a block of pastry (rather than a pre-rolled one), flour a flat and clean surface and put your defrosted pastry block on it. Add some flour to your rolling pin and roll the pastry out flat, to around a £1 coin thickness and into a rough rectangle shape.
- With the short side of the rectangle closest to you, spoon the apple mix onto the lower half of the pastry, leaving around 1 inch around the edge.
- Starting at the edge closest to you, roll the pastry sheet with the mixture inside, then turn the ends under to seal your log – it doesn’t have to be neat!
- Put the log, pastry seam side down, on a baking tray covered in baking parchment or well oiled with butter.
- Brush the beaten egg all over and use a knife to add some slits into the top of the log – don’t cut all the way through, just score the surface.
- Chuck in the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes until the pastry is golden brown and the filling is hot all the way through.
The burnt looking bits are in fact, burnt bits. I tried adding some brown sugar to the strudel before putting in the oven, which promptly burnt. That teaches me for going off-piste. Easily rectified with a little scraping, you’d never have known if I hadn’t told you!
Eat warm or leave to cool, whichever you prefer – I later heated a piece in the microwave and ate with some caramel ice cream. It’s not pretty or neat but it was a slice of Autumn heaven!!