Apple and Pear Strudel
For the spice sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground dried peppermint
¼ tsp ground green cardamom
¼ tsp ground mace
1/8 tsp ground star anise
125g golden caster sugar
¼ tsp salt
For the strudel dough
250g type 00 flour
¼ tsp salt
0.2g ascorbic acid
1 Tbsp oil, plus extra for oiling the bowl
For the filling
200g unsalted butter
55g Panko Japanese breadcrumbs
3 firm ripe red pears, diced 0.5cm
2 Granny Smith apples, diced 1cm
80g hazelnuts, toasted and roughly chopped
juice and zest of 1 lemon
reserved spiced sugar
1 Tbsp white caster sugar
vanilla ice-cream, to serve
Combine the ground cinnamon, dried peppermint, green cardamom, mace and star anise and mix well. Weigh out and use only 1 ½ teaspoons of this spice mix and add to a small bowl along with the sugar and salt. Cover and set aside to use later.
For the dough, sift the flour, salt and ascorbic acid into a large bowl. Add the oil and 150g warm water and mix until just combined. If the dough appears dry, add a tablespoon of water. The dough should be soft, but not sticky. Place on a lightly floured surface and gently knead until smooth and elastic, approximately 5-10 minutes. Lightly coat the surface of the dough with oil and place into a clean bowl. Cover and rest at room temperature for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 220°C. Place a large clean tablecloth at least 70 x 85cm in size on the work surface. Place the dough onto the centre of the cloth and use clean hands to shape into a rectangular shape by stretching the dough from the centre out. This can be done by lifting the dough and using two clenched fists underneath the sheet of dough, gently stretch outwards. Avoid tearing the dough, if it resists and pulls back, wait 10 minutes before trying again. Lay the dough back down and continue to stretch by pulling the dough outwards towards you. Again, if you encounter any resistance, wait 10 minutes before trying again. You should be left with a large, thin rectangle of dough approximately 65 x 80cm in size. It should be paper thin and of even thickness. Leave uncovered for 5-10 minutes to dry slightly.
In the meantime, make the filling. Melt half the butter in a medium size pan over low-medium heat. Add the breadcrumbs and cook until golden brown, approximately 2-3 minutes. Drain the breadcrumbs in a sieve placed over a bowl and allow to cool. Melt the remaining butter in a clean pan. Brush a thin amount of the lukewarm butter on the rectangle of dough. Trim the edges to 60 x 75cm shape. Spread the cooled breadcrumbs over the dough leaving a border of 20cm from the top and bottom and 15cm from the sides.
Combine the pears, apples, hazelnuts, sultanas and lemon juice and zest. Add the spiced sugar and mix well. Immediately spoon the apple mixture over the breadcrumbs. Using the cloth to help roll the strudel, lift the end of dough over the strudel to cover the filling away from yourself. Brush the dough with more melted butter and fold in the edges to seal. Roll up the strudel and place onto the parchment paper.
Transfer to a baking sheet and brush with the remaining butter. Sprinkle the strudel with sugar and bake for 15 minutes, then reduce oven to 175°C. Continue to bake for an additional 25 minutes, or until the strudel is golden and the apples are tender. If the strudel starts to caramelize too soon, loosely place a sheet of foil on top.
Place on a cooling rack for 15 minutes, before slicing and serving warm with vanilla ice cream.