Pate a Etirer and an Appel Strudel

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When you take a challenge you know sooner or later you will have to face your fears. When it comes to baking I have two major ones, puff pastry and strudel. It’s not that they are a bit more complicated and time consuming to make. It’s about getting the right texture.To get a perfect strudel you need a very thin and crunchy dough that is filled with an incredibly smooth and flavourful apples. Easier said than done 😉
I was a bit afraid but also very excited when I started with this recipe. I admit it is some extra work, but I think it’s worth it. If you make the dough yourself it will be far superior to any ready made filo pastry you can get. I guarantee you that. The most important thing in this recipe is stretching the dough. It’s not that difficult actually. Just work delicately and keep calm. And if it tears? Well, no one will see it anyway, so don’t be bothered by it too much. Let it be fun! Ever since I made my first strudel I can’t wait to start with the puff pastry. It’s coming in a couple of weeks! 😀
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Apple Strudel
adapted from Christophe Felder
For the Strudel Pastry:
  • 350 g of flour,
  • 1 egg,
  • 150 ml cold water,
  • pinch of salt,
  • 400 ml grape seed oil.
Those ingredients will be enough for 2 strudels.
  1. Sift the flour into a bowl.
  2. Add egg, salt, water and a tablespoon of oil.
  3. Knead until the dough is smooth, it shouldn’t stick to your fingers.
  4. Shape into a smooth bowl. Put in a deep container and pour the remaining oil over it. Leave for 7 minutes and the discard the oil. Cover with a plastic foil and chill in the fridge for 2 hours.
For the Apple Filling:
  • 6 large baking apples,
  • 30 ml of dark rum,
  • 200 g of sugar,
  • 125 g clarified butter,
  • 75 g powdered sugar.
  1. Peel and core the apples. Slice them lengthwise in 2 mm slices and transfer to a large bowl.
  2. Mix the apples with rum and 40 g of sugar.
Assembling the pastry:
  1. Place the dough on the cutting board and flatten it with your hands. Roll it out slightly to make it perfectly smooth. Cut it in half. Cover half in a plastic foil and reserve for later.
  2. Now you need to stretch the dough. I recommend looking at this video for detailed instructions.
  3. When the dough is thin and even (should be around 120 by 80 cm) melt the clarified butter. Brush the dough lightly with the butter and sprinkle with half of the remaining sugar.
  4. Cut into 10 squares of 25 by 25 cm.
  5. Arrange 8 sheets in the 24 cm tart pan with a removable bottom, leaving some dough to overhang.
  6. Fill the dish with half of the apple slices. Fold the dough over the apples and arrange two remaining squares on top.
  7. Sift the top with the powdered sugar.
  8. Bake for 30 minutes at 180 C, until the pastry is crisped and lightly browned.
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Apples or Pears?

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Autumn is here! I love this season. The weather turns towards worse, so I turn towards the more of a comfort food, to keep warm.
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There are two great fruit at abundance now (and for quite some months to come): apples and pears. I always feel like people give way too much attention to apples, completely forgetting about an even more amazing pears. I mean, they are as versatile as apples, can be used for cooking, baking, eating fresh, just like apples again, and yet a pear pie recipe is not a part of so many cuisines as an apple pie. Why? I love pears, I think they are great and should be appreciated a bit more by everyone (a pear appreciation society?). But when it comes to a pie I like to mix both apples and pears. This makes the filling for my recipe a little bit more special. If you use nice baking apples, after cooking them for 15 to 20 minutes they will loose some water and change into an incredible mousse.  Pears won’t do that, they will stay in the nice slices. And that will create the ultimate filling: nice crispy pears in an apple mousse. Just give it a try and you will see my point.
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Apple and Pear Pie
For the pastry:
  • 120 g of butter, softened,
  • 80 g confectionery sugar,
  • 1 vanilla bean, split in half, seeds removed,
  • 75 g ground walnuts,
  • pinch of salt,
  • 1 egg,
  • 200 g flour.
  1. Sift the confectionery sugar to the soft butter. Add the vanilla seeds, ground almonds and salt. Beat with a wooden spoon until fully incorporated.
  2. Add the egg and beat it in.
  3. Sift the flour and beat the mixture for a couple of minutes until you get a smooth dough. Form a flat disk, cover with a plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 2 hours.
  4. Roll out 2/3 of the dough and put in a 20 cm spring form.
  5. Prick the bottom of the tart with a fork.
For the filling:
  • 4 baking apples, peeled and cored,
  • around 700 g pears, peeled and cored,
  • 1 tbsp of honey,
  • 1 stick cinnamon,
  • 1 star anise,
  • 1/3 cup raisins (optional),
  • 2 tbsp bread crumbs.
  1. Cut apples and pears into thin slices (3 mm thick) and put in a heavy bottom pan. Add cinnamon and star anise. Cook for 10 to 20 min, until apples become a mousse.
  2. Let it cool slightly. Add honey and optionally the raisins.

Assemble the tart:

  1. Spread the bread crumbs at the bottom of the tart. Pour in apples and pears.
  2. Take the reserved 1/3 of the dough and great it over the pie.
  3. Bake in the centre of the oven at 180 C for 30-40 minutes, until the dough is golden.
  4. Let it cool for at least an hour.
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Linzer Tart with a Homemade Plum Preserve

This time quite a classic – Linzer tart (more commonly called Linzer torte). There are many varieties, depending mostly on the country where you eat it. It’s very simple, basically season independent and tastes great.
I was going through my pantry to find a nice preserve to fill it with. But since we are still in a plum season I decided to make something fresh. The key to getting a nice preserve is to cook it on a very low fire for a long time. The sugar will start to caramelise and the end result will be a more rich and deeper flavour. Using 2:1 (fruit-to-sugar) ratio might be a bit sweet, but it works great for this tart and you might also like it with some Greek yoghurt or in a quickly made cheesecake cup. Give it a try and while you’re making some for the pie, double or triple the amount to make a couple of jars. After all winter is coming 🙂

Linzer Tart with a Plum Preserve
adapted from Christophe Felder
For the tart:
  • 250 g flour,
  • 10 g raw cocoa powder,
  • 6 g baking powder,
  • 65 g almonds, finely chopped,
  • 90 g sugar,
  • 150 b butter, diced,
  • 2 eggs,
  • zest from 1 lemon, finely grated.
For the Plum Preserve:
  • 350 g plums, halved and stones removed,
  • 175 g sugar,
  • 1 cinnamon stick.
  1. Sift the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder into a bowl. Add chopped almonds, sugar and butter. Rub all the ingredients until you get fine crumbs.
  2. Add the eggs and lemon zest, beat with a wooden spoon until you get a smooth dough.
  3. Form a flat disk and wrap in the plastic. Chill for 2 hours.
  4. Put all the ingredients for the plum preserve in a big pan over a medium heat. Bring to boil. Lower to a small heat and let it simmer for 1 to 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
  5. Preheat the oven to 180 C.
  6. Roll out the dough to the size of your form (I used a 20 by 20 cm square ring). Cut to the size. From the leftover make a rope and arrange it around the perimeter of your shape (you should moisten the perimeter first with some water so that is sticks better) and cut the stripes for the lattice (you can try to make them more straight than mine :)).
  7. Bake in the bottom third of the oven for 15 to 20 minutes.


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