I did these at the request of Northern Stage, to provide them with some “amuse bouche” for a script reading in November, 2019. I made a strudel filling and partially cooked it on the stove top, so the small strudels would cook properly; I wanted a soft filling and crisp, puff pastry, without having to worry about anything burning.
It is best to make the puff pastry a day before, and let it rest overnight in the fridge. Make sure the filling is completely cool before beginning assembly.
1 batch of Rough Puff Pastry, chilled
- Six baking apples (I used Macouns, Granny Smith or Macintosh would work, too) peeled and sliced into small pieces
- 8oz walnuts, chopped
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- pinch salt
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp corn starch
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 large egg
- 1 tbsp water
- sugar for dusting
To start with, peel, core and chop the apples. Set them aside. In a saucepan, cover the walnuts with water, bring to a boil, simmer for 2-3 minutes to remove some of the tannin, then drain and allow to dry.
Combine the sugar, spice, cornstarch, and water in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Heat until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture starts to bubble. Add the apples and nuts, stir to combine, reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring, until the apples are tender. 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat. At this point, you can refrigerate the filling for up to a week.
To make the strudels
Preheat the oven to 400. Line two baking sheets with Silpats or parchment paper. Take the egg and water and beat together to make an egg wash. Set next to your workspace, along with enough sugar for dusting (1/4 cup or so).
Divide the puff pastry in half. Put one half back in the fridge. Roll the other half out into a rectangle, 9 x 15″. Using a straight edge and a sharp knife or roller, cut into 1-1/2″ wide strips. Trim the edges square. Again, using a ruler, cut each strip into 5″ long pieces. Save all of your scrap pastry.
Take each strip and put a tablespoon of filling in the middle. bring the ends up over the filling and pinch together. Place the strudel, seam side down on the baking sheet. Repeat until you have used all of your pastry or the baking sheet is full. Slash the tops of the strudels with a sharp knife, then brush with the egg wash and sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 400 for 20 minutes, or until the pastry is golden and the filling is bubbling.
Repeat this process with the other half of the dough. Saving all of the dough scraps. Combine the dough scraps, re-roll, and cut again. With my typical rough puff pastry, you will use half the filling and end up with 30 mini strudels.