A traditional English dessert where bread is buttered, then topped with a sprinkling of dried fruits, and then covered with a vanilla custard before topping with cinnamon and demerara sugar. It is then baked until the top is lovely and crispy.
You will also need a 23 × 12cm (9 × 5 inch) shallow ovenproof dish
Butter the bread and cut each slice into quarters.
With the buttered sides uppermost, arrange the quarters over the bottom of the ovenproof dish, overlapping them to fit.
Scatter the currants, sultanas and mixed peel on top.
Then in a separate bowl, whisk together two of the eggs and the yolk only of the third. Whisk in the sugar and then stir in the milk and vanilla extract.
Strain the custard and then gently pour over the bread.
Sprinkle the top with the cinnamon and demerara sugar, and then leave for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) (gas 4)
Put the dish into a roasting tin/pan and then fill the roasting tin/pan with boiling water until it comes half-way up the sides of the dish. Bake for 45 minutes until the custard is set and the top is brown and crispy.
Apple strudel is one of the most popular dishes in Austria, the oldest record being a handwritten recipe from 1696 housed in the Vienna City and State Library. However, it’s likely to have been adopted from other countries that made up the Habsburg Empire. Early recipes used a pastry made from unleavened dough and today it’s usual to use filo/phyllo pastry – a modern version. It is delicious served with ice cream, cream, or vanilla sauce.
1kg/2 lb 2 oz tart dessert apples, Granny Smiths are good
1 lemon, juice only
4 tbsp caster sugar/fine white sugar
85g/3 oz walnuts, coarsely chopped
4 tbsp sultanas
1 tsp ground cinnamon
85g/3 oz ground almonds*
16 sheets filo/phyllo pastry**
50g/2 oz butter, melted
icing sugar to dust
*The almonds will absorb any excess juices which will prevent the pastry from becoming soggy.
**Filo pastry dries out very quickly. Remove only the number of sheets from the packet that are required for the recipe and keep these covered with clingfilm until needed.
1 large baking sheet, oiled
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4.
Peel, core and roughly chop the apples into small pieces. Put them in a mixing bowl and toss together with the lemon juice. Add the sugar, walnuts, sultanas, cinnamon and almonds and mix well. Set aside.
Now to make the four parcels.
Using four sheets of pastry, take one sheet and lay it on a clean tea towel then brush lightly with the melted butter. Place another sheet directly on top and brush this one with butter. Repeat with the other two sheets. Spread a quarter of the apple filling lengthways down the middle of the pastry, flattening it out and leaving a 2.5cm/1 inch border on the shorter edges.
Brush a little butter along the long edge that is furthest away from you and both the shorter edges. Using the tea towel, lift the long edge nearest you over the filling and then continue rolling to form a sausage shape with the seam finishing up underneath. (The extra butter round the edges will seal the parcel.) Carefully transfer it to the baking sheet.
Repeat with the remaining sheets of pastry until there are four parcels.
Bake for 40 minutes until golden. Cover the pastry during the last 10 minutes if it is colouring too quickly.
Just before serving, dust the parcels with icing sugar using a small sieve.
Then cut the parcels into thick slices (a pizza slice does this brilliantly). It can be served warm or cold.