So somehow, in the blink of an eye, I was at the point in my life where my friends started sending me fruit baskets for my birthday….
One of my oldest friends that I’ve known since first grade sends me a sweet gift for my birthday every year. Some years it’s been wine, some it’s been a cute succulent. This year I got apples and pears in a giant Harry David style fruit basket. And you know what? I was freakin hype. She knows me. I just didn’t realize I hit the point in my life where fruit baskets, bath towels, and new spoons are things to look forward to receiving. Like really look forward to receiving. Like, send me spoons, guys.
So anyway, I had a dozen gorgeous apples and pears and what better to make in this chilly weather than a strudel?
This is the perfect fall/winter dessert for beginners and pros alike. Secret hint? This is the same dough I use for my cinnamon bun recipe, so you can adapt and change as you like. Once you master the dough, you can stuff it with just about anything and form it into just about any shape for a variety of crowd pleasers your family won’t get bored with. I pretty much use whatever fruits I have in excess. Persimmon jam cinnamon rolls and plum strudel will be on the blog soon.
Ingredients for dough:
2 teaspoons quick rise yeast + ½ cup warm water + 2 tbsp sugar
2 cups all purpose flour
¾ tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp oil
1 flax egg or equivalent egg replacer
4 large apples (I used Jonathan and Honey Crisp)
4 large pears (I used Williams pears)
2 tbsp cinnamon
1/3 cup sugar
In a food processor with a dough blade, or in a large bowl if using a hand mixer, add ½ cup warm water to 2 teaspoons yeast and 2 tablespoons sugar. Let this sit for five minutes so the yeast has time to react. If you use hot water, it will kill your yeast, so it is important to use luke warm water. The sugar acts as food for the yeast, and adds just a twinge of sweetness to the dough. You can use any kind of sugar here from traditional white to date or coconut if you’d like to skip refined sugars. You should see little puffs forming in the water and you’ll know it’s ready for the next step.
Make a flax egg at this step using 1 tablespoon of ground flax seeds and 2 tablespoons water. Let this sit for a minute or two until it forms a gelatinous solid. When you scoop it out of the dish or measuring cup you made it in, it should come out as one unit rather than pour out as a liquid. Add your flour, salt, baking powder, and oil to the water with yeast. When your flax egg is ready, add this in as well.
Mix for about five minutes or until the dough seems elastic, and set aside to prepare your filling. If you don’t really know how to tell when it’s ready, whatever happens after five minutes is fine, this dough is pretty hard to mess up. Next, slice all of your apples and pears into 1/8 inch thick slices.
With a roller, roll the dough out flat so it’s about 9” wide and 18” long. I usually do this on a silicon mat so it doesn’t stick, but you can 100% do it on the counter if you add a little flour to both the counter and the pin to prevent sticking. Cut little slats diagonally up the sides of your dough. These slats should be 1” apart and about 3” long.
Layer apples and pears throughout the middle as neatly or as sloppily as you feel – there is not correct way to do this step. Just make sure you leave about 2-3 inches at the top and bottom to fold over so the juices are sealed in. Once the fruit is layered inside, sprinkle the cinnamon and sugar mixture on top and fold up the bottom and top portions of dough to create end caps. Begin folding your dough slats over, right then left, etc. Feel free to stretch these as they are pretty sturdy. If one rips, pinch the dough back together, this is a fairly forgiving recipe. I sprinkled coarse bakers sugar on top and popped in the oven for 18 minutes at 375 degrees on a baking pan. You could also make a quick glaze or serve with a big heap of vegan vanilla bean ice cream too to celebrate your victory. Bon appetit!