This is quite ironic, since I have literally not cooked for the past few years. The kitchen in my old house had virtually no counter space, and the place wasn’t conducive to having guests. And when your two best friends in the ‘hood are both chefs, why bother cooking?
So, now that I have a massive new kitchen, I am starting to cook again. I actually don’t mind cooking, and I am a pretty good cook – I was a caterer for a while in another lifetime.
The recipe for the Danish came via Nick Malgieri’s book, BAKE. I had met Nick at a cooking party at my friend Julie’s house earlier this year, and it was actually Julie who came to breakfast to “test drive” the Danish on Sunday.
But, I admit, I cheated a bit with the recipe. However, I will give it to you as I made it, not as Nick wrote it.
- Puff pastry – you can find this in the frozen food section
- 2 tablespoons of butter
- 3 lbs of tart apples
- 1/3 cup of sugar
- 1/4 tsp of cinnamon
- 1/2 cup of currants
Melt the butter in a sauté pan or in a large Dutch oven. Peel, halve and core the apples, and cut the apples into 1/2 inch dice. Add the apples to the butter. Add the sugar and cinnamon. Cook over high heat until the butter begins to sizzle. Decrease the heat and cover, let the apples steam in their own juice for about 5 minutes. Uncover the pan, decrease the heat and add the currants. Continue cooking until the liquid evaporates. Remove from heat and cool.
Let the puff pastry thaw a bit – you’ll need to be able to roll it out. Flour your surface and roll the pastry out into a rectangle shape. Slide the dough onto a cookie sheet or a silpat and refrigerate for 10 minutes.
Cut the dough into two long pieces and brush the long ends of each piece with an egg wash (egg beaten with a pinch of salt). Spoon the filling equally down the middle of each piece. Fold the sides of the dough until they meet in the middle and press down to make a seal. Flip the strudel so the seam is on the bottom. I put them on a piece of parchment to make moving them easier and to make clean-up simple.
Put the strudels in the fridge to chill for 15 minutes, and heat the oven to 400*. Remove from the fridge and brush each piece with egg wash and sprinkle with granulated sugar. Use a sharp knife to score the strudels on the diagonal, about every inch.
Bake until deep golden and the dough is firm. This should be about 20 minutes. Cool, cut into 4 inch sections and EAT!
Of course, Julie and I had to sit and eat and discuss other variations on this recipe. Maybe just a bit of lemon juice to brighten the flavour. Or some cranberries to add some tartness. You could exclude the raisins/currants. You could do this with peaches or cherries. Maybe add some almonds or pecans.