I bet you all now that famous apple strudel which is soooo popular here in my country. I love it and it's pretty hard to beat it, it's just that much delicious! However, about a year ago when planning to make apple strudel, I realized we didn't have apples (how silly is that?!) and I had to improvise. So when you don't have apples, use strawberries, change this and that and you end up having something totally different but equaly divine.
It doesn't require much time which is quite good - you can go swimming or for a walk instead of spending summer in the kitchen (unless the waether is as nasty as here right now :/). I use ground sponge biscuits in the filling, but I'm not sure you can buy them outside Europe, anyway these are the same as ladyfingers, but smaller and round. If you are able to find the biscuits, use them, otherwise use ladyfingers - the taste won't change at all, it's just a bit easier to ground the biscuits than long ladyfingers :D
This recipe makes two approx. 30cm long strudels, but you can easily half the recipe to have only one strudel (but that won't be enough, 'cause it's so good :D). Oh, and one last note, USE the vanilla pod - the filling has so much better flavor with it - deep and full bodied. When you leave it out, it still tastes great but you get the feel that it's missing something - a final flavour note or that sort of thing. Okay, that's all, prepare your strawberries and let's start baking :)
500g (17.6oz) puff pastry
1 egg for eggwash
150g (2 cups) ground ladyfingers
150g (3/4 cup) granulated sugar
1 tbsp butter, melted
1 vanilla pod
2 eggs, lightly beaten
500g (3-1/2 cups) strawberries
powdered sugar (depends on your taste)
Filling: In a bowl combine ground ladyfingers, granulated sugar and seeds scraped out from vanilla pod. Pour in melted butter and eggs and mix well until it resembles coarse crumbs.
Assembly: Divide puff pastry into two equal parts. Roll out each part into large thin rectangle, sprinkle evenly with equal amounts of filling and strawberries (you don't have to cut them unless they're really large), dust with powdered sugar to taste, leaving a two inch border on all sides. Brush the sides with eggwash (so that the strudel will keep its shape during baking) and fold one end of the pastry over the filling, roll up the pastry into a sausage shape, press lightly on the folded side to help the strudel keep its shape during baking. Make sure the strudels are fully sealed without any holes otherwise the filling and juice will run out during baking. Each strudel will be about 30cm long and 10cm wide. Gently lift both strudels on to a lined baking sheet. Brush with eggwash, then bake in preheated oven to 170C for 10 minutes, then lower the temperature to 150C and bake for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool completely, then slice and serve either plain or with whipped cream, vanilla/strawberry ice cream etc.
- You can use either fresh or frozen strawberries. If using frozen, let them thaw and then drain.
I guess that when you combine vanilla and strawberries and puff pastry you simply can't go wrong! Oh yeah, this means that once again I loved this one and in fact, I still do :) Almost every time I find a pack of frozen strawberries in my freezer I make this strudel. It reminds me summer and simply I love the taste of vanilla, juicy strawberry-soaked ladyfingers and sweet soft strawberries packed in wonderful crispy puff pastry. One day I'll make my own puff pastry, but right now that would be a story for another day.
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