Don’t sleep on the glaze
Apples dipped in honey are eaten during Rosh Hashanah to signify hope for a sweet new year. While apples and honey are a delightful snack, I decided to round out the meal with an apples and honey strudel, topped with a nutty tahini glaze. Tart and soft, and just a little sweet with honey and bourbon-soaked dates, this apple strudel is one of those dessert-or-breakfast pastries you’ll make once, and then likely once a week for the rest of fall. I think a sour Granny Smith is the best baking apple, but if you like them super sweet, go for Gala.
Finely dice ½ cup pitted medjool or deglet noor dates. Scoop them into a small bowl and cover with ¼ cup bourbon or apple cider. Let this mixture soak for 8 hours, or heat in the microwave for 1 minute, then let soak for 10 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375ºF and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Peel, core, and thinly slice 3 Granny Smith apples and toss in a large bowl with 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 2 tablespoons honey, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, 1 tablespoon flour, ½ teaspoon allspice, and the soaked date mixture.
Unroll 1 sheet of thawed frozen puff pastry on a lightly floured work surface. Roll the pastry a bit until it reaches about 16 inches in length, and position it vertically. Brush the pastry with a bit of melted butter, then in order to keep the apples from soaking through the bottom of the pastry as they bake, sprinkle the bottom third of the pastry (leaving a border 1 or 2 inches from the bottom and sides) with a few tablespoons granulated sugar. Try crushed shortbread (or tahini) cookies or ground nuts instead of the sugar if you’d like a bit of extra flavor.
Scoop up the apple mixture with a slotted spoon, leaving any juice in the bowl, and spoon it over the sugar-covered area of the pastry.
Fold the naked pastry border over on the bottom and sides and then roll the pastry over itself, jelly roll-style. When you’ve reached the end, place the strudel seam side-down on the prepared baking sheet.
Mix 1 egg with a tablespoon of water and brush it over the top of the strudel, then sprinkle on granulated sugar. Make 4 2-inch slits in the top of the pastry—this ensures steam will escape during baking, helping the pastry get crisp, not soggy—by quickly dragging a sharp knife across the top of the pastry. Bake the strudel for 15 minutes, then turn the baking sheet around. Bake for another 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown.
Take the strudel out of the oven and let it cool for at least 20 minutes.
While the strudel cools, make the tahini glaze: Whisk ¼ cup tahini with 3 tablespoons melted coconut oil and 2 tablespoons room temperature honey. Drizzle the mixture liberally over the cooled strudel, and add a hit of powdered sugar as well if you feel the desire.