My cheater apple strudel is made by wrapping an overflowing spiced apple filling with flaky puff pastry. I finish it off with an outrageous sweet apple glaze.
Eat this pastry warm right out of the oven as a special fall brunch or snack on it all day long like I do!
There’s no skimping on the ingredients in this recipe. I pack the strudel with so much filling that it’s almost bursting!
You’ll need some key ingredients to make this:
- Puff Pastry – Strudel is traditionally made with a layered dough that is similar to puff pastry but more elastic. Puff pastry makes a perfect substitute while saving so much time.
- Apples – Choose the a mix of tart, crisp apples for the best result. Gala, Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, and Jonathan all work great!
- Raisins and nuts – You can leave either of these off if you want, but I love how they add texture. I use chopped walnuts, but you could also use chopped pecans.
- Apple cider liqueur – As in my apple custard pie, I add a touch of apple cider liqueur to the filling to enhance the apple flavor. You can add it directly to the apple mixture, but if you plan in advance, try soaking the raisins in the liqueur overnight for an added boost of flavor. Substitutes include rum, apple brandy, apple cider concentrate, or regular apple cider.
How It’s Made
You’ll first need to prepare the apple filling. Peel and dice the apples into small pieces – about 1/4″ cubes.
Melt butter in a pot on medium heat and add in diced apples, sugar, apple cider liqueur, lemon zest, cinnamon, and raisins.
Cook for about 10 minutes on medium heat, stirring periodically. The apples will release a lot of liquid. They should be soft but not falling apart.
Let the mixture cool for about ten minutes. Stir in the nuts now; we add them at this point rather than earlier so they stay nice and crispy!
Use a sieve to strain out any excess liquid. You don’t need to press hard on the apples and remove every last drop. Simply strain any visible liquid that the apples are sitting in. The amount of liquid will vary depending on what types of apples you are using.
If you plan to make a glaze, reserve the liquid to use in the glaze. If not, pour it over ice cream or add it to some apple cider and drink it!
Roll out puff pastry on a floured surface or a silicone mat, removing any fold lines from the packaging. Place the filling in the center of the puff pastry in a long, thick line.
Fold one half of the pastry completely over the filling. Press to seal.
Repeat with the second side. Then, pinch the ends closed and cut off any excess pastry on each end.
Use a knife to cut small slits into the top of the puff pastry.
Cutting slits into your pastry will let steam vent as the filling heats up in the oven. This will help the top of the pastry remain crisp.
Brush with egg before baking to make the pastry nice and shiny.
Bake at 450 F for about 35 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown.
Expert Tips and FAQ
My favorite way to decorate this is with an apple glaze. I mix some of the the leftover liquid from cooking down the apples with powdered sugar until I have a thick glaze. I then drizzle that all over the strudel.
Another option is to sprinkle coarse or sanding sugar all over the top of the strudel before it goes into the oven. It will end up with a beautiful sparkly top.
Be sure to plan ahead and take your puff pastry out of the freezer the night before you plan to make the strudel.
If you want to have everything ready to throw in the oven for brunch, you can also make the filling a day in advance.
If you like your raisins to taste a little boozy, soak them in the the apple liqueur the day before you plan to make the filling.
It is best served the same day. If you have leftovers, store at room temperature in a container that is NOT airtight. That will help to keep the pastry crisp.
Yes! If you are serving this a day or two after you make it, you can reheat it in the oven or toaster oven to crisp it up again.
Yes – wrap tightly in plastic wrap and place in an airtight to container to freeze.
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4 tart apples about 1 lb 5 ounces, peeled and finely diced
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons apple liqueur you can substitute apple cider concentrate, rum, brandy, or apple cider
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1/3 cup raisins
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
- 1 sheet puff pastry defrosted
- 1 egg beaten
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar optional for glaze
- Preheat oven to 450 F.
- Melt butter in a medium-sized saucepan on medium heat.
- Add apples, sugar, apple liqueur, lemon zest, raisins, and cinnamon.
- Cook, stirring periodically for about ten minutes or until apples are soft but not falling apart.
- Remove from heat and cool for ten minutes.
- Strain out excess liquid in a sieve and reserve for making a glaze.
- Stir walnuts into apple mixture.
- Roll out puff pastry on a floured surface or a silicone mat to remove any seams from packaging.
- Place apple mixture in a long line down the center of the pastry.
- Fold one of the sides of the pastry lengthways over the apple filling and press to seal.
- Repeat with the other half of the dough. Trim the top and bottom of any excess pastry.
- Use a pastry brush to coat the top of the pastry with the beaten egg.
- Use a knife to cut slits into the dough about every 1/2 inch, going almost all the way across the pastry.
- Transfer to a parchment-lined cookie sheet.
- Bake for 35 minutes or until the pastry is browned.
- If you'd like to glaze the strudel, mix 5 teaspoons of reserved apple liquid with powdered sugar until you have a thick glaze. Drizzle over the strudel.
Join my mailing list - and receive a free eBook!