Whenever I get back from a trip that includes Austria, I have a tendency to want to make strudel. Remember last year? It was the Cherry Chocolate version. This year, I really wanted to make something with rhubarb, but the local strawberries aren’t ripe yet, and they can be a little wet. So I made this Rhubarb Apple version instead. Total deliciousness!
for the pastry
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/3 cup chilled solid vegetable shortening, diced
6 tablespoons (or more) ice water
for the filling
2 pounds baking apples, cored, peeled and cut to 1/2 inch pieces
1 pound rhubarb, cut to 1/2 inch pieces
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg, with a tablespoon of water for egg wash
Granulated sugar, for sprinkling
Blend flour, sugar and salt in processor. Add butter and shortening and cut in using on/off turns until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add 6 tablespoons ice water and process until moist clumps form, adding more water by teaspoonfuls if dough is dry. Gather into ball, and flatten into a rectangular disk. Wrap in plastic and chill 2 hours.
While the dough is chilling, make your filling. In a medium sauté pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the apple and rhubard pieces and sauté for a few minutes until them become tender. Add the sugar, spices and salt and continue to sauté until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.
Preheat oven to 425F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
Roll the pastry sheet into a 16×12-inch rectangle. Move to the baking sheet. Leaving a 5 1/2/ inch center column, cut slits 1 inch apart from the 2 sides of the pastry rectangle. Spoon the apple-rhubarb mixture lengthwise down the center of the pastry. Starting at one end, fold the pastry strips over the filling, alternating sides, to cover it completely. Brush the pastry with the egg mixture. Sprinkle with the coarse sugar. (Note: some people do this on the counter and then move the braid to the baking sheet, but I have never managed to do that, so I just do the assembly on the prepared baking sheet so I don’t have to move it.)
Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown. Let the pastry cool on the baking sheet on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Dust with confectioner’s sugar before serving (optional). Serve as is or with vanilla sauce or ice cream.