Looking for a fruity dessert, breakfast, or brunch recipe? Easy Apple Cream Cheese Strudel is right up your alley!
Puff pastry is one of those things that is fairly simple to make at home, but it can be a bit time-consuming. And while I love a good homemade dough, I LOVE a shortcut. So much so that I buy my puff pastry at the store. It is just as delicious and saves me oodles of time. I am sure many of you can relate.
Perfect Cream Cheese Puff Pastry
The trick here is to use premade puff pastry. I prefer to use an all-butter puff pastry as opposed to vegetable oil pastry. Some folks can tell the difference, some can’t, just check the box if you are at all concerned.
My dirty little secret is that I keep a few sheets in the freezer at all times knowing that I can always pull out a sheet and put together an impressive dish, any time of day, like:
Why You’ll Love This Apple Strudel Recipe
Tender apples enveloped in a flaky pastry with a layer of sweet cream cheese spread- what’s not to love!
- Perfect for special occasions – Apple desserts like this one are perfect for the holiday season. The flavors will warm you to the core.
- Total showstopper – With it’s fancy folded technique, the top of the pastry is always so gorgeous and sure to impress. The perfect delicious treat to impress.
- Loved by all – I’ve yet to meet someone that can resist a slice of warm apple strudel! This easy recipe is always a favorite.
Strudel Recipe Ingredients
The ingredients for this easy apple strudel recipe are easily found at your local grocery store if you don’t already have them on hand.
- Puff pastry – Just one puff pastry sheet, defrosted. I like to look for all-butter puff pastry sheets, but vegetable shortening works well too.
- Cream cheese – Go for full fat for full richness. Make sure it is good and softened so it spreads easily without tearing the puff pastry.
- Light brown sugar – Subtle hints of molasses caramelize even better with the apple pie filling. Dark brown sugar is another option.
- Vanilla – Vanilla extract or vanilla paste can be used and adds warmth. Almond extract is another good swap.
- Apple pie filling – Make your own apple mixture or grab a can at the grocery store. If making your own, use lemon juice to prevent the apples from browning.
- Butter – I do use salted here because there aren’t any other salty elements or added salt. You can also use an egg wash.
- Almonds – Nuts add crunch and earthiness. Consider using pecans or walnuts, or just leaving them off if you prefer.
- Turbinado sugar – Turbinado sugar is a large grain, coarse sugar that is sparkly and adds generous crunch to the topping.
How to Make Puff Pasty Apple Strudel
You are going to love how easy it is to make homemade apple strudel.
- Prepare oven and pan. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat the oven.
- Make cream cheese filling. Blend together the cream cheese with the light brown sugar and vanilla until well combined. Set aside.
- Cut pastry. Unroll the puff pastry on a clean work surface. Make 4-5 diagonal cuts down each side at the same intervals, leaving the center intact, kind of like a “V”.
- Add cream cheese and filling. Brush the puff pastry with melted butter, leaving a small amount for the top. Spread the cream cheese down the center and top with the apple pie filling, being mindful to not tear the pastry.
- Fold. Fold over the bottom piece, then alternating sides, braid strips of puff pastry over filling. At the end, fold over the end piece before the last two diagonal cuts. This forms a braid.
- Add almonds and sugar. Brush the top with more melted butter and transfer to baking sheet. Top with the sliced almonds and turbinado sugar while still tacky.
- Bake. Bake in preheated oven until puff pastry is fluffy and lightly browned. Remove and serve hot or at room temperature.
Folding Cream Cheese Puff Pastry
The cuts and the folding of this gem can be a little tricky when you do it for the first time. For the best results, be sure to use a sharp knife or pizza cutter. You will have it in no time at all!
Next, fold, slather, fill and bake! Easy Apple Cream Cheese Strudel is literally that easy!
Serving this Apple Strudel Recipe
Easy Apple Cream Cheese Strudel was hot, hot, hot in my house that it was G-O-N-E in minutes.
Apple pie filling is already perked up with a blend of spices, but feel free to liven even further with cinnamon and/or nutmeg. Give it a taste and let your tastebuds decide if anything else is needed.
The cream cheese in this dish adds a bit of sophistication to buttery layers of puff pastry and a luxurious bite. Rich, but not overdoing it.
It might seem like a lot, but brushing the top with butter does two things. One, it will give it a gorgeous sheen and a toasty brown color when it comes out and two, it will serve as a “glue” for your toppings.
I like to top mine with turbinado sugar and sliced almonds. Turbinado sugar is golden brown and larger in terms of crystal size than that of the white sugar we are so familiar with.
It is partially refined which means it has a bit of molasses left in it. Translation: rich sweetness and added crunch. The almonds are just a nutty bonus!
While I don’t love changing baked recipes too much, there are a few ways you can make this traditional apple strudel recipe your own.
- Topping – If you want to add another element to this classic dessert, try topping with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or even drizzle with a vanilla sauce made with icing sugar or caramel sauce.
- Make your own filling – Make your own filling with fresh apples. The best apples to use are a mix of tart apples like granny smiths and sweet ones like honey crisp apples or pink lady, work best for this juicy apple filling.
- Add ins – Try adding extras into the fruit filling. Lemon zest, golden raisins, rum-soaked raisins or even cinnamon for a spiced apple filling would be perfect.
Storage and Freezing
Storage: Store your pastry at room temperature in an airtight container or on a plate covered with plastic wrap. Enjoy leftovers at room temperature or microwave for 10-15 seconds.
Freezing: You can also freeze this puff pastry apple strudel recipe. It will stay in a freezer bag tightly wrapped for up to six months.
More Sweet Breakfast Treats
Easy Puff Pastry Apple Strudel
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 400°F degrees.
- In a small bowl, blend together the cream cheese with the light brown sugar and vanilla. Set aside.
- Unroll the puff pastry on a clean work space. Make 4-5 diagonal cuts down each side at the same intervals, leaving the center intact.
- Brush the puff pastry with melted butter, leaving a small amount for the top. Spread the cream cheese down the center and top with the apple pie filling.
- Fold over the bottom piece, then alternating sides, braid strips of puff pastry over filling. At the end, fold over the end piece before the last two diagonal cuts.
- Brush the top with more melted butter and transfer to baking sheet. Top with the sliced almonds and turbinado sugar while still tacky.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until puff pastry is fluffy and lightly browned. Remove and serve hot or at room temperature.
- If you've tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was in the comments or star ratings.
- Rum extract
- Add powdered sugar glaze