This warm, crisp and flaky spiced cranberry apple strudel recipe is a real crowd-pleaser! Tender puff pastry is braided and filled with cinnamon apples.
Nothing beats a piping hot apple strudel fresh out of the oven. It’s seriously amazing. I worked at a European bakery in high school, and I was constantly inspired by the edible creations around me. The hustle and bustle of the bakers pulling out fresh loaves of homemade bread, scones, and croissants from the oven was torture of the best kind.
I was in charge of setting up the display case, and it took every ounce of restraint to stop myself from going “Cookie Monster” on all of the pastries. One special treat made only on the weekend was crisp, sweet apple strudel.
So you can experience this yourself, I’m sharing this spiced cranberry apple strudel recipe that will make you weak in the knees. Keep reading to see how this classic pastry is made right at home!
Baking doesn’t have to be complicated, especially when puff pastry is available at grocery stores. You don’t have to spend hours making the perfect mille-feuille, even though it’s a fun experience! I used Pepperidge Farm puff pastry sheets which come with two sheets per package, and this recipe makes 2 full apple strudels. How convenient haha.
Three tools are used to create this braided masterpiece; a ruler or something with a straight edge, pizza cutter or knife and a pastry brush. You will be creating equal cut sections to make a simple crisscross design. Then you’ll wrap the apple mixture snug tight in the pastry. Here we go!
Let’s chat about this brandy apple filling. Fresh Honeycrisp apple slices are tossed in a brandy sugar-cinnamon mixture with dried cranberries. The brandy can be omitted if you choose, but it adds a little extra flavor to the mix.
Believe me when I say this braid looks gorgeous when it’s baked up and golden brown! I found that after I had created my first strudel, the second was much easier figuring how to keep those apples wrapped up.
It doesn’t have to look perfect. The most important thing is to keep the apples covered the best you can. Egg wash goes on top with a generous sprinkling of turbinado sugar just before baking. I’m so excited!
Oh hey, girl! The first time I made these I was shocked to see how beautiful they turned out. See all those golden flakey layers with the baked brandy spiced apples just peaking through the top to say hi? Not to mention how your house smells like warm spiced apple pie all day without the hours of effort. Slam dunk!
Tender spiced apples, sweet-tart cranberries, and a slightly gooey sauce make each piece of strudel disappear!
The next time you need an easy breakfast, brunch or dessert recipe to impress your guests, this spiced cranberry apple strudel recipe is the golden ticket. You can prep the strudels the day before and refrigerate and just bake the next day if you’re strapped for time. I’m going to grab a big cup of chai tea with my piece, how about you?
What is the best way to defrost and use frozen Puff Pastry?
Even though you won’t be able to see the many layers of laminated dough with the naked eye, the beautiful buttery layers will separate and become light and flaky as it bakes in a hot oven. To prepare the dough if frozen, remove the sheets from the packaging and allow to thaw for 45 minutes at room temperature. The dough should still be cold when you start to work with it. You can place it on a small sheet tray and freeze for 5 minutes if it’s very sticky or warm. If you see small rips in the dough, you can use a little bit of water on your finger to press and patch the dough back together. If needed use a little bit of flour if you are rolling out the dough further. (Source: www.puffpastry.com)
Cranberry Apple Strudel
- ¼ cup dried cranberries
- ¼ cup brandy, or apple juice
- 17 ⅓ ounces puff pastry sheets, (Pepperidge Farm, 2 sheets)
- 4 cups honeycrisp apples, or Fuji apples, peeled, cored, ¼-inch slices, about 3-4 large
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon, ground
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg, ground
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, or paste
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, plus 1 teaspoon more
- 1 large egg, plus tablespoon water, whisked, for egg wash
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, plus 1 teaspoon cinnamon for sprinkling
- 2 tablespoons turbinado, or coarse sugar for sprinkling (optional)
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Thaw both sheets of frozen puff pastry at room temperature according to manufacturing instructions. Meanwhile, make the apple filling.
- In a small bowl soak the cranberries in brandy or apple juice for at least 10 minutes.
- In a large bowl, combine apples, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla. Add drained cranberries and 1 tablespoon of the liquid from the soaking bowl. Allow apple mixture to sit for 15 minutes, and then add flour and combine.
- Working one at a time, roll out the puff pastry onto a piece of parchment paper. If the dough is slightly wet, lightly dust the paper with flour, and then roll out the pastry. The pastry will be about 9.5-inch by 9.5-inch.
- Lightly score the puff pastry in 3 vertical columns or use the folded seams as a guide. The middle column should be about 3.5-inches and the two outer columns 3-inches. Cut slits on both sides of the center column to 1-inch wide and 3-inches long, these will be the strands for the braid.
- Place 2 cups of the apple mixture evenly in the middle column then drizzle 1-2 tablespoons of the syrupy liquid from the bowl over the apples.
- Fold the top of the pastry down, about 1-inch of the middle column. Pull the dough strands from one side to another, alternating the dough strands. Make sure that the ends reach the edge of the filling.
- Brush egg wash on top and sprinkle with ½ to 1 tablespoon of turbinado sugar if using, and then about 1 tablespoon of the cinnamon-sugar mixture.
- Bake for 16-18 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and cool on a baking sheet for 10 minutes before slicing.
- Repeat process with second pastry sheet and the remainder of the apple filling.
- Enjoy warm, or can be covered in an airtight container and enjoyed the next day.