Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Fast and Easy Peach Strudel - Forced to Use Frozen Puff Pastry Once Again

There are two ways to make strudel, the right way, and the way I make it in this peach strudel video recipe. This fast and easy version uses puff pastry, instead of the homemade dough that's stretched paper-thin over kitchen towels, and rolled up into the multilayered masterpiece invented in Austria centuries ago. While Austria gets credit for its origins, the word "studel" is German, and most consider this to be a German pastry.

Back in culinary school I remember being so excited to learn we were going to be taught this impossibly flaky, and airy puff pastry. We rolled and folded, and rolled and folded in all that butter, and when we were done our puffy pa
stry looked nothing like the stuff the chef had made. Mine was flat, tough, and so not flaky.

So, like most cooks do, I eventually resigned myself to the fact that puff pastry would just be one of those products I would be forced to buy. It was something that was going to take more practice time to perfect than I had to devote - especially for something I would use only occasionally.

If you are in a big city, you may find a bakery or patisserie that sells it frozen. But, if not, take comfort that every frozen food case in the country has boxes of Pepperidge Farms puff pastry. It's a decent enough product, and when used to wrap up a filling this delicious, no one with any decency will complain. Just don't invite any Austrians over. Enjoy!

Click here for ingredients and transcript

9 comments:

David said...

Hi Chef John,

Although I live right at the source, I am sure you wouldn't hear any complaining from me. Your Strudel looked as delicious as all the other recipes you posted.

Thanks so much,

David

milkshake said...

Chef, you are to be commended for not putting any starch in the filling - and adding just a pinch of flour and crumbs but plenty of walnuts and raisins! The best fillings use no thickenners whatsoever even if this can cause the filling to be somewhat runny. (For this reason my mon and grandma would avoid the incisions and rather cut the finished strudel after cooling. They would also dust the finished strudel with thin sprinkling of ground natural vanila+ confectionary sugar but only very gently).

When I came to US I was devastated by the quality of apple pies available in grocery stores - and unfortunately the perpetrators of these mass-produced american apple pies are perfectly willing and capable of putting the same starch-thickened apple paperglue into their "strudels" and then they even roll their abomination all over in a coarse GRANULATED sugar.

These strudel philistines ought to be sent for voluntary re-education in pastry camps in Sudetenland Provinces. As we used to say in Central Europe, "The World is not here to be posessed by the corn-stached Strudels!"

Chef John said...

thanks...you are a passionate and effective advocate for strudel!

granny said...

My grandmother made the homemade apple strudel. I remember as a child watching her stretch the dough over a clean sheet that was placed on the table. The table had dough overlapping every side of it. Then the apples, sugar and what I remember to be breadcrumbs. She would grab that sheet on one side of the table and flip until all dough was rolled up and then cut it the length of her pans. Bake in an old oven. My sister and I would pray that some of the end pieces came out burnt because we would get to eat that before anyone else tasted this wonderful confection. Sorry to say grandma never measured a thing and I don't have her recipe. Too young at the time to realize how precious it would be for me to have paid attention to what she was doing. She also made from scratch potato pancakes and other wonderful things with no measuring. Sorry this is so long but I get misty eyed thinking about these wonderful times as a young girl. Maybe that is where I picked up my love of cooking.

Chef John said...

Thanks! A great memory.

This is a weird name said...

That flaky pastry dough by the Austrians was Fila Paper.

Anonymous said...

HAHAHa oh man, milkshake cracks me up. So passionate indeed.

Anonymous said...

Hi Chef John,
I can't see in the video. Do you peel the peaches, or are the skins left on?

Chef John said...

they are peeled, but the video is playing OK