Hidden Clove, Apple and Strawberry Strudel
My Dad hates cloves, and whenever Nan made apple strudel he would always ask if there were any cloves in it. Nan always said no. But lo and behold, with his first bite my Dad would always get the clove! Nan would laugh as she said ‘Oh, I don’t know how that got in there!’ and wink at me. That solitary clove adds a subtle, spicy fragrance.
|150g||plain flour, plus extra for dusting|
|150g||strong white bread flour|
|1 tsp||icing sugar|
|200g||cold unsalted butter|
|For the filling:|
|grated zest and juice of 1 lemon|
|40g||golden caster sugar|
|½ tsp||ground cinnamon|
|1||egg, beaten with a splash of milk for egg wash|
First make the pastry. Sift both types of flour and the icing sugar into a large bowl. Add the lard and rub in with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in the cold water and bring everything together with your hands. Turn out the dough on to a lightly floured work surface and knead briefly until smooth. Wrap in cling film and chill for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, place the cold butter between two pieces of greaseproof paper and bash/roll with a rolling pin until you have a flat 15 x 25cm rectangle that is about 3mm thick.
Roll out the chilled dough on the floured surface (rolling away from you) to a 20 x 40cm rectangle. Lay the butter rectangle on the bottom two-thirds of the dough rectangle. There should be a clear border of about 1cm at the bottom and 2.5cm at the sides.
Fold the top, unbuttered third of the dough rectangle down over the middle third, then fold the bottom third up over the middle third (you will now have alternating layers of dough, butter, dough, butter, dough). Pinch the edges together, then wrap and chill for 30 minutes.
Flour the work surface again and set the dough on it so a short side is nearest to you. Roll out away from you into a 20 x 40cm rectangle again. This time fold both the top and bottom of the rectangle in so they meet in the middle, then fold in half like a book. Pinch the edges together. Wrap and chill for 30 minutes.
Roll out the dough into a rectangle as before. Fold the top third down and the bottom third up over it. Wrap and chill for 30 minutes. Repeat this rolling and folding process (called a ‘turn’) three times, chilling in between for 30 minutes. This will make a total of four turns.
You only need about two-thirds of the pastry for this recipe, so cut it into two pieces: one third and two thirds. Keep the larger piece you are going to use for the strudel in the fridge until you need it. The other piece can be frozen – you could use it to make Stilton Twisted Straws (page 158 of the book) or to top a Choose-your-lid Chicken Pie (see recipe on page 196).
Preheat the oven to 180°C fan (200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6). Line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper.
Peel, core and dice the apples. Hull and quarter the strawberries. Put the fruit in a large bowl with the lemon zest and juice, clove, caster sugar and cinnamon. Mix together gently.
Lightly dust a work surface and roll out the pastry away from you into a 30 x 20cm rectangle that is about 3mm thick. Lightly mark a line down the centre of the rectangle to divide it in half lengthways. Sprinkle the ground almonds evenly over one half, leaving about a 1cm clear border around the edges. Spoon the apple and strawberry mixture, slightly heaped up, in a line on top of the ground almonds. Dot small pieces of butter over the fruit.
Egg wash all of the pastry edges, then fold the empty side up and over the filled side. Press the edges together using a fork to crimp. Carefully transfer to the baking sheet. Egg wash the whole strudel. Using a very sharp knife, make cuts across the top of the strudel at 2.5cm intervals. Sprinkle the demerara sugar and flaked almonds over the top.
Bake for 35–40 minutes until the pastry has puffed up and is golden and crisp.
Serve hot with vanilla custard and wait to see who gets the hidden clove!