by Susan Rae
There was a time in America when Sundays were for going to Grandma’s for dinner and spending time with cousins, uncles, etc. Now those Sunday dinners are getting harder to come by. For the DeLucas, whose grown siblings include three Chicago cops, a paramedic, and an engineer, most with children of their own, finding time for those get-togethers is equally challenging. When they do get together, Mama DeLuca often does the bulk of the cooking, but it is up to the siblings to bring the dessert or a side dish or two.
In TRUE blue, book three in the series, it’s Joey’s turn to bring the dessert. That’s not a problem as the perfect dessert, apple strudel, is supplied by the baker Steven Johannsen when Joey and Meghan visit him to gain more information on the twenty-four year old murder of Meghan’s father, Chicago Detective Sean McConnell.
The apple strudel sounded so good when I wrote it, that I decided I had to try my hand at baking some myself. I searched the internet and studied apple strudel recipes. After much intense research (hey, I’m a writer, I overthink everything!) I borrowed a little from Emeril Lagasse’s traditional Apfelstrudel, Paula Deen’s strudel recipe, and a couple of other recipes to come up with my own which is both easy and delicious. My recipe uses less sugar than most, lemon juice, and dried bread crumbs to keep the juices from bubbling out as the strudel bakes. Try this one at home served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream at your next family dinner. I guarantee, no one will be disappointed!
Susan Rae’s Apple Strudel: A DeLuca Family Special
1 ½ lbs. Granny Smith apples (3 to 4 large), cored and thinly sliced.
½ lemon, juiced
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup dried raisins
1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
2/3 cup dried bread crumbs
2 tbsp, firm butter, cut into pieces
¼ cup melted butter
1 tbsp. water
Remove frozen pastry dough from package. Lay on wire rack to thaw for appx. 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375° F.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, combine the apples, lemon juice, sugar, and cinnamon. Stir with spoon until apples are evenly coated. Add 1/3 cup breadcrumbs and stir until coated again. Add the raisins and butter pieces and gently stir again.
Lightly coat a board with flour. Unfold one sheet of dough. Roll lightly with a rolling pin. With a pastry brush, brush dough with ½ of the melted butter. Sprinkle with half of the remaining bread crumbs. Arrange ½ of the apple filling into a log on the dough about two inches from the edge of the dough nearest you. Roll the two inch section up over the apple filling, then continue to gently roll the log to the end of the dough. Turn log with seam side up (this helps prevent the juices from oozing out when baked).
Wet fingers and run along edge and pinch. Press ends together and turn under. Using a spatula, gently slide under roll lengthwise and lift onto baking sheet. Slit the top of roll with a knife every two inches or so for venting.
Repeat for second roll.
Whisk egg and water together. Using pastry brush again, brush tops of rolls with egg wash.
Bake for 35 minutes. Remove pan from oven and cool. Cut into 1½ slices, serve warm with your favorite vanilla ice cream, and enjoy!
Note: If you only need one roll, after the second one cools completely, wrap in aluminum foil and freeze. Reheat frozen roll in a 375° F oven for approximately thirty minutes.
Until next time,
And now a short intro to TRUE blue and the DeLuca family.
Sometimes we must revisit the past to embrace our future.
Twenty-four years ago, the murder of a Chicago police officer changed Joey DeLuca’s life. He lost his best friend and first love, Meghan McConnell, when her mother whisked her out of town. Now, on the eve of another officer’s death, Meghan is back and about to step into his life again.
There is very little gray in Joey's line of work as a Lt. Detective--it is either black or white, right or wrong. But Meghan’s insistence on finding answers to her father's murder threatens those beliefs and throws his marriage to CPD Detective Andi, his career, and the entire DeLuca family in jeopardy when new revelations come to light.
Can Joey save his marriage, solve the murder, and keep his family together all at the same time?
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