1 1/4 Cups Unfiltered, sugar free apple juice
2 Tbsp. Cornstarch
1 1/2 Lbs. Apples (mix of granny smith and honey crisp), peeled, cored and sliced 1/4-inch thick (about 5 cups or four apples)
1/2 Cup raisins
3 Tbsp. Swerve granulated sugar substitute
1 Tsp. Cinnamon
1/3 Cup pecans, chopped
1 Sheet Puff pastry, thawed
Swerve Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
1) Preheat the oven to 415 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and put to the side.
3) In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the apples with the remaining 1 cup apple juice, raisins, sugar and cinnamon until the apples are tender, about 10 minutes. Stir the cornstarch slurry and add it to the apple mixture. Stir until the slurry is completely incorporated into the apples and there are no lumps. You want to cook and stir for about a minute to absolutely ensure all the cornstarch is dissolved into the liquid and everything is smooth. The liquid will get syrupy and thicken. Remove from the heat and let cool completely. Stir in the pecans, cover and chill for about 45 minutes.
4) Flour your kitchen counter and your rolling pin. Roll out the puff pastry sheet so it is about one inch longer and wider than the it’s original size. Lift the pastry and place on the prepared baking sheet. Spread the apple filling evenly onto the middle of the pastry so that it is right down the middle of the pastry. Leave a half inch at each end. Fold up the long sides of the pastry up and over the filling so they slightly overlap at the top. Gently press to seal. Fold the ends under the strudel so the apple filling is completely encased in pastry. Using your pastry brush, brush the strudel with the egg beaten with a tablespoon of water. Cut small slits into the top of the pastry to allow steam to escape. Place in the oven.
NOTES: This is a pretty classic take on Apple Strudel. I did not make my own dough but rather used store bought puff pastry for the crust. I have used this same filling recipe and phylo dough for a slightly different “crust experience”. Both work but I like the flaky, results that the puff pastry provides.
You’ll note, I used sugar substitute in the recipe. But, please feel free to use regular sugar and confectioner’s sugar in the same amounts if you prefer. Can’t find unsweetened, unfiltered apple juice? Just use regular. These are my personal preferences and I like to eliminate excess sugar where I can WHEN it doesn’t interfere with taste. It this case, the natural sweetness of the apples and raisins are just perfect and no one is missing the sugar.
Working with puff pastry is really easy if you make sure to do a couple of things.
A. Have your work table/kitchen counter ready to go. Flour both the counter and your rolling pin so they don’t stick to the pastry.
B. Be sure to thaw your pastry overnight in the fridge so it is easy to work with.
C. Roll out the pastry on your kitchen counter BUT move to the prepared baking sheet before adding the filling. This will keep you from struggling with transferring the pastry and will help you avoid the pastry ripping or tearing.
D. Be sure to tuck those ends underneath the roll so the filling is completely enclosed. Press the dough together to seal.
E. Make sure your oven is really hot so it makes fast and gets perfectly golden. The egg wash will help that happen.
F. Let it cool before you slice and enjoy.
When it comes to the apples, I always like a mix and I find the tartness of the Granny Smith goes great with the sweet, crisp Honey Crisp apples, so that is my preference. Use your favorites to create the taste you like.
I love both raisins and nuts but if you have someone that is opposed (Who are those people?) feel free to omit one or both.
One last tip is that cornstarch slurry. Make sure you mix it really well in the bowl before adding…you don’t want lumps. When you add it to the apples, mix, mix, mix. Check for lumps and cook until everything is very smooth. You are looking for a thick, syrupy consistency.
If you like German food, be sure to check out my Oktoberfest menu. Adding this strudel to a buffet of Knockwurst and Sauerkraut, Pork Schnitzel, German Potato Salad and Soft Pretzels and Beer Cheese Sauce will make any Oktoberfest party a success. Enjoy.