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Apple and Almond Strudel

For Sherry Yard, Wolfgang Puck’s pastry maven, the farmers’ market inspires a European classic

“The composition of my desserts is taken care of by the farmers’ market,” says Sherry Yard, who for the past 20 years has been the mind behind the desserts at Wolfgang Puck’s restaurants. “I just have to write the lyrics to go along with it.” Yard’s love of California’s bounty is matched only by her affinity for Austrian and Hungarian confections like this standard, a warm apple strudel. Each week she ventures forth to several markets to gather a blend of apples for the filling from her favorite farmers. “The market is my church; it’s my family,” she says. 

Serves 8

STRUDEL DOUGH
Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus additional to assemble the strudel
½ cup whole wheat flour
¼ teaspoon salt
1 egg
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus 1 tablespoon for coating dough
¾ cup water (100 degrees Fahrenheit, warm to touch) 

  1. In a medium-size mixing bowl, whisk together the flour and the salt. Create a well in the center of the flour.
  2. In a separate mixing bowl, combine the egg, oil, and water, and whisk together.
  3. Pour liquid into center of flour well.  
  4. With a fork, work the flour into center of the well, continue until the flour is incorporated,
  5. Once the dough comes together, knead on the table. Dough will be tacky, not sticky.
  6. Continue kneading for 8 minutes—yes! 8 minutes! If necessary, add a whisper of flour.
  7. The dough will be elastic. Coat the dough with 1 tbsp. vegetable oil and wrap with plastic wrap.
  8. Reserve in a 65-degree warm environment for 20 minutes.

YOU CAN CERTAINLY SUBSTITUTE FILO.

APPLE FILLING
Ingredients:
4 Fuji apples (Ha's Farm—peeled, cored, sliced paper thin)
4 Braeburn apples (Cirrone Farm—peeled, cored, sliced paper thin)
1½ cups apple juice
½ cup Princess raisins  (optional)
¼ cup almonds (Fat Uncle Farms—toasted and rough chopped)
¼ cup lemon juice
½ tsp vanilla 
½ tsp cinnamon (optional) 

*See where Yard shops for many of these ingredients at the farmers' market below

For assembly:
1 cup bread crumbs
¼ cup butter (melted) 

  1. In a medium saucepot, bring the apple juice, Princess raisins, lemon juice, vanilla, and cinnamon to a boil.
  2. Add the apple slices and poach for 20 minutes until tender.
  3. Add almonds.

Strudel Assembly
Time to pull the dough! 

  1. Dust generously with all-purpose flour.
  2. Carefully remove plastic wrap from dough; be sure not to crease.
  3. Place dough on flour-dusted tablecloth. With a rolling pin, roll dough 12" x 12" square.
  4. Do not wear sharp rings.
  5. Here is the fun part: Lift the dough from the table and work with the back of the hands.
  6. Constantly move hands, pulling back. Stretch thicker areas until the dough is transparent.
  7. Lock the dough by pulling over the corners of the table.
  8. Trim outer edges of the dough that are hanging over the edge of the table. Throw away trim.
  9. Spray the finished dough with a whisper of melted butter.
  10. Spread bread crumbs in a 2-inch line , 4 inches from the bottom of the dough.
  11. Place the apples and optional raisins directly on the bread crumbs.
  12. Top the apples with a light coating of bread crumbs.
  13. Lift the corners of the strudel dough to the center of the apples. Using the tablecloth, roll up the strudel, stopping to form and tuck a tight package.  Trim ends to 1-inch remaining dough.
  14. Tuck end of dough into itself.
  15. Carefully lift the strudel onto a parchment-lined sheet tray.
  16. Spray dough with a whisper of melted butter.
  17. Bake in 375-degree oven for 20 minutes. Turn sheet pan around and continue to bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.


     

*Yard’s Market Shopping List
4 Fuji apples
From: Ha’s Apple Farm (Encino, Hollywood, Long Beach, Pasadena, Santa Monica, Studio City)

4 Braeburn apples
From: See Canyon Apples (Santa Monica)

¼ cup almonds
From: Fat Uncle Farms (Santa Monica, Studio City, Thousand Oaks)

½ cup raisins (Princess or Red Flame)
From: Peacock Family Farms (Hollywood, Santa Monica)

1 egg
From: KenDor Farm (Calabasas, Encino, Hollywood)

1 lemon for juicing
From: Polito Family Farms (Santa Monica)

Photograph by Cedric Angeles  

Illustration by Peter James Field

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