For most Europeans, apple strudel is comfort food. It's been popular all over Europe for hundreds of years, and although I prefer making it during apple-picking season, it's a dessert that can be enjoyed year-round.
It's been made in my family for generations. I have so many memories of my mom rolling the dough as thin as a newspaper on our kitchen table over a floured white tablecloth.
I've always been intimidated to make apple strudel but using crescent dough helps me get a flaky, buttery pastry without all the hard work.
The filling can be switched to fit whatever you have in your pantry. Most of the time I make it using chopped Granny Smith apples, chopped toasted pecans, brown sugar and a touch of ground cinnamon. But you can certainly add finely chopped nuts, raisins or other dried fruit, or leave out the cinnamon. I’ve made it once with diced apples and dark chocolate chips. Whatever fits your mood.
Start by peeling, coring and dicing the Granny Smith apples. I prefer Granny Smiths since they hold their shape better while baking.
As soon as you finish dicing the apples, mix them in a large bowl with pecans, brown sugar and cinnamon (or whatever filling you are using). Set aside.
Heat the oven to 375 °F.
To make the flaky dough, remove your crescent rolls from the can and place on a slightly floured area. With your fingers, roll it out, pinching the cut edges together. With a floured rolling pin, roll the dough out as thin as possible. With a pastry brush, spread the soft butter all over the dough.
Spoon the filling on one of the edges of the rolled crescent dough, arranging it in a log.
Gently lift the edge of the dough and start rolling the strudel away from you until you roll all the dough and the filling is completely sealed. If needed, turn to place the seam underneath. For a flakier pastry, brush the strudel with more butter. Carefully slide a piece of parchment paper underneath the strudel.
Using the parchment paper, place the strudel on a cookie baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven for about 25-28 minutes or until golden brown. Cool slightly before slicing into pieces.