Thursday 26 December 2013

Christmas time and mini Apfel Strudels

It's the day after Christmas day and I'm still wearing my Christmas jumper, trying to get the most out of this holiday, while typing this blog today. Generally at Christmas, I'm the one who lights the candles, tidies the house, puts up the decorations and generally gives the house it's Christmas look. My parents are the ones who do the cooking and take great pride in it. My Mam's traditional German red cabbage with vinegar, sultanas and spices is incredible and the honey glazed ham and oven roasted turkey with stuffing is the best I've ever tasted. As a family, we always cook too much food, especially since my oldest sister, Anna, lives in Spain with her girls. Somehow, the fridge manages to get cleared in a few days and we all have very full Christmas tummies.

As a family, we're not really one for visitors so the number of desserts and cookies we have ready for guests is pretty minimal. Anything cooked or baked over Christmas is for our own consumption. The only real dessert that we make without fail every year is our Christmas pudding, a Brady womens-only tradition. It is always to die for, especially when heated with a large dollop of Bailey's whipped cream on the side. There's no way I could give that recipe away so I had to put on my thinking cap.

The last few months has seen my Mam have more energy and a renewed interest in all food German related so I thought I would have a go at making my own version of Apple Strudel but bite size. The kind of size you think you could manage as you sit through Home Alone a few days after Christmas to finish off a ham and turkey and cranberry chutney sandwich.

I'm proud to say, the recipe worked out unbelievably well and it was so bloody easy. I even got over my fear of filo pastry!

Filo pastry has a bad reputation. It's difficult to make, flimsy, prone to tearing, needs the right balance of melted butter when you brush it, difficult to handle.

Forget about all of that. These things could happen but when you panic and worry less about the problems, things have a way of working out.

This strudel recipe uses typical Christmas shop ingredients. I cheated with chilled ready made filo pastry-do yourself a favour and leave making it for another time.

6 sweet red eating apples
100 grams of dark brown sugar (or honey/agave/another sweetener but this sugar works best)
2 tsp of real vanilla essence
2 tbsp of brandy
100 grams of sultanas
80 grams of walnuts/pecans/hazelnuts
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
50 grams of butter/coconut oil

1 pack of chilled filo pastry
50 grams of butter

1 handful of flaked almonds

1 Muffin tray
Coconut oil/other oil for greasing the tray
Grease proof paper

1. Slice the apples into quarters and core them
2. Slice the quarters thinly into strips
3. Melt the butter/coconut oil (or a mix) in a heavy based frying pan and fry the apples until they are softened
4. While they are stewing, chop the nuts into small, rough pieces and mix the sultanas in with the brandy in a separate bowl.
5. Once the apples are cooked and are releasing their own sweetness, take off the heat and put in a large bowl.
6. Add the cinnamon, nutmeg, sugar and vanilla essence and mix well.
7. Clean the pan and lightly toast the nuts until browned and add to apple mix along with the sultanas.

Now the filling is ready. This can be done the night before if you don't want to make these straight away and freezes well.

8. Grease the muffin tray.
9. Melt the butter to use to stick the filo together
9. Layer two sheets of filo slightly overlapping and brush with butter to stick together. Drape it gently over the muffin tray and using a scrunched up tissue, squash little pockets into the muffin tray holes, ready for the filling.

For the filling
1. Put grease proof paper on your worktable and place one sheet of filo down on it.
2. Brush lightly with butter and put another layer of filo.
3. Repeat this until there you've run out of filo. ( the more layers the better)
4. Gently spoon the filling onto the pastry evenly
5. Roll the pastry into a sausage and cut into 12 rounds
6. Sit the rounds into each of the muffin tray holes
7. Sprinkle with icing sugar and flaked almonds
8. Put in oven for 25-30 minutes at 180 degrees until golden brown and crispy

Whipped cream, crème fresh or yoghurt with this just out of the oven is the bomb!


All images and text copyright Grace Brady busylittlefoodie 2013

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