Thursday, October 5, 2017

Pie Crust Apple Strudel and Other Stuff

"This simple apple strudel is made with prepared pie crust, fat apple wedges and loaded with raisins, walnuts and cinnamon. Topped with whipped cream, this strudel is a keeper!"

It seems that September has passed me by and if I can offer up just one recipe it better be something with apples. Apples to fall is kind of like asparagus to spring-don't you think? I know many might argue that fall means pumpkin, but being Jewish, apples and honey are in my DNA. Our new year, with this year being 5778, is celebrated in September and traditionally apples and honey are eaten together to remind us to have a sweet year. 

I adore apples and my new favorite apple is the Kiku. These crisp and very sweet apples are what I want in my fridge. They aren't easy to find so when I do find them, I buy them! I love my apple cake and apple pie and apple sauce and just apples, but it is strudel that holds memories for me. No, I didn't have a grandmother that made strudel dough, but I did have a mother who long ago paid visits to the Stop and Shop in the Loop in Chicago and would drive the 50 miles home laden with glossy white baker's boxes, filled with long, golden, flaky strudels. She made sure no one cut in line, and there were always lines at Stop and Shop; once she even had an altercation with someone cutting in line. My mom exited with strudels but I can't say what the other woman exited with. Somehow I don't think it was strudels.

I like baking apple strudel and though I don't do it often, in the past I've always used filo dough. Yes filo dough gives a flaky crust and though it really isn't hard to work with, it does take a bit of time when buttering all the layers. The other problem I have, at least when making strudel, is that unless the pastry is served right away, the bottom crust gets soggy. I've tried to remedy this by using breadcrumbs and lots of buttered layers, but still I don't find the strudel keeps very well, unless one want to reheat every slice.

Enter the pie crust. I loved this version. I was able to keep the strudel for over 4 days without it getting soggy. I didn't cover it, but instead left it on the counter. The crust was able to keep its crispness and it didn't get soggy. Now keep in mind I do live in Colorado where the humidity is low, but this did work for me. Next time you are thinking pie, think strudel. With pie crust. This was a breeze with prepared pie crust and the recipe also calls for frozen apples. To tell the truth I've never looked for frozen apple slices in the grocery, so I did freeze my own. Just a few hours in the freezer and they were perfect. I cut them thick, so when eating the strudel I tasted apples, which was very good indeed.

Side note-I prepared this Francois Payard apple honey tart for Rosh Hashanah. The recipe made two. Frankly, it looked great but tasted disappointing. I amped up the spices and flavors on the second one, but still it tasted MEH! And it took forever to make. Skip this if you see it and make pie instead. Or just make this strudel. Everyone will be impressed! Below is the strudel recipe and if you want to read about the flood and the rest of my September, keep reading! It was a crazy month.

Yield: 16 Servings

Pie Crust Apple Strudel

This simple apple strudel is made with prepared pie crust, fat apple wedges and loaded with raisins, walnuts and cinnamon. Topped with whipped cream, this strudel is a keeper!
prep time: 45 MINScook time: 45 MINStotal time: 90 mins


  • 2 pie crusts, thawed (I like Trader Joe's, but the Pillsbury crust works great also!)
  • 5-6 c frozen apples, peeled and cored) sliced thick and uniform (Freezing produces a starchy apple that holds up great when baked.)
  • 1 1/4 c sugar
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • 1/2 c golden raisins
  • 1/2 c chopped walnuts (optional)
  • 1 large egg
  • Sugar for dusting
  • Powdered Sugar for dusting
  • Whipped Cream for serving


  1. Begin by freezing your apples, if you didn't find any in your frozen foods section. I froze my own in a single layer on a sheet pan for about 2 hours in the freezer. They should be thick. I got about 6-7 apple slices from each half.
  2. After apples are frozen, toss them with the sugar, cinnamon, lemon juice, raisins and walnuts. Set aside.
  3. Preheat oven to 400. Take each pie crust and roll into a rectangle about 12 x 14. Place half of apple filling on the long side closest to you, leaving a two inch border. Roll up gently from the long side. (I only was able to roll this 2-3x. If you make a hole, just pinch it back together.) Do the same with the second pie crust. Place on an insulated baking sheet topped with parchment paper. If you do not have an insulated sheet, you can stack two pans together. I was able to bake both on the same sheet.
  4. Press roll together gently, flattening ever so slightly. Tuck ends in and brush well with a beaten egg. Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon if desired. Make slashes on the top of the strudel where you want your slices to be.
  5. Bake until golden brown for 20 minutes THEN turn oven temperature down to 375 and bake another 15-30 minutes or until filling is bubbling out of slits.Remove from oven. If there is juice on the baking sheet, pour it into the sink.Let cool to room temperature before serving. Serve with whipped cream.
  6. I stored this at room temperature for 4 days uncovered and it stayed crisp!
Created using The Recipes Generator

Now to the rest of September. I left on short notice to go help out my in laws in Texas. Dickinson, Texas is the community that was just featured in the Wall Street Journal. Manservant's home town. Sad to say but his childhood home is probably nonexistent. The home where his parents have lived for 18 years, which my father in law built is OK, if you consider a lacking first floor OK. As we drove in towards the bayou upon which they live, it almost didn't look like a flood had taken place. Well, until you noticed the garbage. Heaps of garbage, which became mountains of garbage, the closer you got to their home. And these heaps of garbage contained toys and clothes and photos, along with drywall, carpet, insulation and mud. To be honest it felt sacrilegious  to be photographing these things; because these things were people's memories.

I didn't get an opportunity to venture into Dickinson proper, but everyone I met at the grocery and the donut shop had a story. And each story included a flood. A flood that left a few broken trees but mainly white caked dirt that was everywhere. White caked dirt that will turn into mud with the next big thunderstorm.

It was hard. It was hard because in the event of saving one's home one had to throw things away fast to be able to rip into the drywall to prevent black mold from starting to grow.

 Luckily my sister in law who lives in Dallas was able to bring fans with her, which helped save my in law's place. Those and about 10 people working three full days to empty it of life's clutter. Things were tossed so fast that it was just this week that my father in law, looking through the mountain of refuse, realized his briefcase was in the pile. He found his briefcase filled with several hundred dollars of American Express checks. I think he hadn't looked in that briefcase in years, but it was sentimental. Imagine looking out at your belongings for days because Dickinson has no idea when this stuff will be picked up. I don't even want to tell you the kinds of things that live in those mountains of trash.

We cleaned nonstop for 5 1/2 days and there is  mucho more work ahead. This is doubly tough because my MIL suffers from dementia. My FIL has an awesome caretaker for her, but hestill has her needs to attend to also. Not sure where this is going but some big decisions need to be made. My brother in law's house will probably be totaled by the insurance company. It takes patience waiting for the verdict-so to speak. In the meantime he is living with his wife and a dog they had just adopted a few weeks before the flood, in a small camper at the end of their street. They go to work each day and it will probably be at least a year for them to rebuild. My guess is they will do a lot of the work themselves, because everyone in the building trade is swamped-no pun intended. And that folks is the flood update.  TBC...

September did have some good things. We came home and managed to snag an invite to the premiere of the new Broadway musical, Frozen. It started here in Denver and now heads to Broadway. It's not Lion King, but it was a lot of fun. Then it was time to celebrate the new year and right after we were invited up to Aspen. That's a hard invite to turn down-so we didn't! During college, many moons ago, we were privileged to have friends who allowed us to use their gorgeous home while we were on break. We fell in love with Aspen and continued to take our kids up there for many years. Then life caught up with us and it has been at least 16 years since we've been there. The good news is that it hasn't changed. It still retains the charm and beauty that it did way back when. I am so happy!
Fall was splendid and glorious and in full swing at the Maroon Bells. The air had a crisp, clean chill, as did the wine. What a crazy September filled with ups and downs.

Then it was back for Yom Kippur and Manservant's birthday. We didn't do anything special, but it was special enough to have him home. Can't remember the last time he was standing in front of me on his birthday! I made him a steak and a small chocolate cake and then he was 61! How does this happen? And now it's October. Zoe comes home for a week as we are having a sip and see for her best friend and my best friend, to welcome their new baby and grand baby. And it just doesn't stop. But that's life, is it not? Beats the alternative!

A Few More Fall Foods:

            Cranberry and Apple Salad                                                       Apple Sharlotka

            Maple Pudding Chomeur                                               Not My Mama's Waldorf Salad

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  1. This makes me long for the holidays :-)) I could eat that apple filling spoonful, Abbe. Looks so GOOD! Beautiful Fall scenes but so sad to see all the piled garbage, broken trees and house.

  2. Your Apple Strudel is beautiful as well as that bowl holding the whipped cream. Thanks for posting the photos from Texas. I've been thinking about you and your in laws. I just can't imagine going through that, and I hope things will be back to normal for them sooner than later. And you've captured beautiful photos of our Fall Foliage.

  3. Oh, I'm so, so sorry that your in-law's home was damaged by the hurricane. Thank goodness that you and the family could jump in and help them salvage some of their belongings. What a month you've had! Your strudel looks amazing---I typically use fillo but pie crust sounds even better! And of my favorite spots in the world. I'm glad you got a respite there. xoxo

  4. I miss Colorado! Fall is beautiful there. Strudel is one of my favorite European desserts. This one made with pie crust looks delicious.

  5. I've been eating my share of apple strudel while in Austria and Germany. This sounds like an easy way to recreate the dessert when we return home. :) Love your wonderful photos!

  6. Your post starts delicious (strudel!) and ends beautifully(golden leaves. But it's the middle I find so inspiring. GREG

  7. So sad to hear that your families' home was hit by the storm. So much destruction and good for you to lend a helping hand. Love everything apples so we are all in for easier pie crust strudel.

  8. Such a sad story about both of your in-law's homes :( And it sounds like your MIL's health isn't helping the sad scenario. I'm so sorry for your husband's family. On a brighter note, that strudel looks positively amazing! Pinning! I'm so sorry we didn't get farther west when we were with our friends in Edwards. We used to ski with our girls in Snowmass every Christmas vacation for years and would take the bus into Aspen at least twice each trip. We did golf in Carbondale at the Aspen Glen Club and thought I saw the tip of the Maroon Bells but was told it was not. With a group of 4 couples we had a very active schedule with golf, rafting, hiking, that there was no time for a blogger visit but maybe one day :) Glorious photos of the Aspen trees!

  9. Hi Abbe, how heartbreaking for your in-laws. Thank goodness they have such a wonderful family like yourself and your husband to lend a hand and give moral support. I have never been in a situation like that so I can't even imagine.

    I agree fall is apples for sure, I will have to try to find the Kiku apples, right now I am loving the honeycrisp. Your apple strudel is beautiful and I bet even more delicious. Take care, sending hugs your way. Cheri

  10. This strudel looks divine--such a great trick to make it with pie crust! My heart is breaking for your in-laws. I can't even imagine what they're going through, and what everyone in Texas is going through right now; I'm so sorry and will be thinking of them. I hope you're having a lovely weekend, Abbe!

  11. I hope everything settles in soon , it will take time I know so keeping all those who were hit by the latest tragedies in my prayers. Happy to know you got to enjoy some time in that gorgeous mountain side! wow I am yet to see snow LOL. by can I have piece of that strudel!

  12. What a mess in Texas! It's all so sad - Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and now possible Mississippi and Alabama. The weather is crazy right now.

    Your strudel is mouthwatering! Wish I had a box of pie crusts right now. I'd be making this in the morning.

    GORGEOUS pictures of Colorado! Thanks for sharing those! I love aspen groves in the fall.

  13. Wow, those pictures of Texas are sobering. What a mess! When we lived in Florida we went through 4 fairly major hurricanes one year -- part of the reason why we left! Anyway, great dish -- love apples, particularly at this time of the year. Thanks!

  14. Oh my Gosh. What an event filled time and soooo diverse. From the disaster with husbands family to the beauty of fall colors in Aspen to the joy of a birthday of your husband. My head is so full of all your 'doings' that I had to look back and remind myself what the recipe was. How could I forget apple strudel!!!! Fro

  15. What a tragedy in Texas :( Glad you were able to make a difference for your family. Such hard work I am sure. The photos are gorgeous - you make me miss the west! Love the recipe too - so perfect for this time of year. Welcome back - enjoy your visit with Zoe!