17 October 2010
Yesterday morning it was unseasonably cold and I had an urge to bake something (not least to help warm the house). The cupboard was fairly bare of baking necessities, and I had no desire to battle the freezing winds and rain to bring any home.
What I did have were apples, sour cream and frozen pastry. And what came to mind immediately was the easy apple struedel that my mum used to make and sell on cake stalls to raise money for the school.
In the small town where I grew up, there were cake stalls most Saturday mornings on the main street. Two trestle tables would be loaded with home-made cakes and biscuits and the occasional craft object; there would be a raffle for a meat tray* or a hamper**; and all the money would go to some good cause or other, a school, a sporting team, the senior citizens centre and so on.
A baking bonanza would take place in our kitchen the night before and the morning of the cake stall. My mum used to make dozens of these struedels because they sold well and were easier and quicker than cakes (though she did make many cakes as well).
This is what I could remember of the recipe. It turned out fine. If you wanted to be more authentic, you could make your own pastry, but if it’s a cold rainy Saturday morning where you are, use the frozen stuff.
:: saturday struedel ::
1 sheet of frozen puff pastry, defrosted
1 large Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and cut into 1cm cubes
3 tbsp sultanas
3 tbsp sugar (any kind)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground coriander (yes I know this seems odd, but trust me on this)
200 ml thick sour cream.
A little milk, for brushing
Preheat the oven to 180 C
Mix the sugar and spices in a bowl.
Add the apple and sultanas and toss until the apples are well-coated in sugar and spices.
Pile the apple mixture into the centre of the pastry in a rough rectangle.
Spread the sour cream over the top
Brush round the edges of the pastry with milk.
Fold the pastry to meet in the middle and pinch the edges together firmly. Fold and pinch the pastry together at the ends.
Prick the top of the struedel with a fork and brush with milk.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the pastry is puffed and golden. The strudel might split along the top seam, but this doesn’t matter.
Allow to cool a little before eating.
* for the uninitiated, a meat tray is an Australian raffle tradition. It is a polystyrene tray of all different cuts of meat and a bunch of sausages. It is only worth winning if you can get it home pretty quickly and you’ve got a freezer; or if you were planning a big BBQ that night anyway.
** ‘hampers’ at my school consisted of a plastic washing basket, filled with all the tinned goods that everyone’s mums wanted to get out of their cupboards. I can imagine that if you won one, you would get a lifetime supply of things like spam, condensed milk, tinned peas, and tuna. I suspect that some hamper contents had been part of several hampers in their time, and were on an endless cycle from the back of one pantry to a hamper to another pantry to another hamper and so on.