The virtual dinner was created by Amalfi restaurant, which serves some of the very best Italian food in the state of Texas. Chef and owner Giancarlo Ferrara has long done wonderful work cooking dishes both rooted in his native Salerno area south of Naples, and those from other cuisines he has cooked over the years. Ferrara and team did a terrific job with the several courses, a difficult task for roughly thirty dinners to be cooked and packed then eaten several hours and at another site after preparation and delivery. Amalfi’s dishes ranged from Gnocchi alla Romana, Vitello Tonnato with sides of roast vegetables, and a dessert of Apple Strudel were the courses. Apple Strudel in Italy? Yes, it is actually popular in Friuli near the northeastern edge of Italy, which was once under the control of the Austrian Empire, and there are plentiful apples.
The strudel was excellent last night, featuring a delicate crust, tender and flavor apples and nicely complemented with small sides of caramel and whipped cream. I couldn’t help but quickly finishing it though I thought I was fun from the previous courses. Below is the recipe from Artusi, some previous pastry skills are helpful. Amalfi also seemingly sauteed the apple slices and added pine nuts for its version, which worked quite well.
Grande Strudel di Mele [Great Apple Strudel]
For the pastry dough:
Flour – 250 grams
Butter – About the size of a walnut
Egg – 1
Salt – Pinch
For the filling:
Apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced – 500 grams
Butter, melted – 100 grams, plus some more for brushing the dough.
Sugar – 85 grams
Currants, dried – 85 grams
Lemon zest – 1 lemon
Cinnamon, ground – 2 or 3 pinches
- Make a rather firm dough with he flour, warm milk, butter, egg and pinch of salt.
- Let the dough rest a little before rolling it out as thin as that used for taglierini noodles.
- Cover the sheet of dough with a layer of the peeled, cored and thinly sliced apples.
- Scatter the currants, lemon zest, cinnamon, sugar and then the 100 grams of melted butter over the layer of sliced apples.
- Reserve a little of the melted butter for use later.
- Roll up the dough with the filling to form the shape of a cylinder.
- Brush the leftover melted butter on the dough.
- Place the strudel in a greased copper baking pan and bake until done.
Adapted from Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well by Pellegrino.