You could buy a pie at the grocery store or bakery, but it'll cost you dearly and probably look better than it actually tastes. Instead why not get the ingredients and put together a five-minute strudel? Yes, the ingredients can be pricey unless you can find them on sale (check out the dollar store for cans of pie filling), and, yes, it's cutting corners. Nonetheless, the strudels usually are less expensive to make than buying a ready-made pie or strudels, and sometimes you just don't have the time to make a pie from scratch. Often when I'm working on a nice dinner that takes effort, I want a dessert that's easy and that won't send me into a kitchen meltdown. This strudel is it. It looks and tastes quite good--flaky, oozing apple filling, and with a sweet crunch. Most people want more than one piece. If you don't care for apples, you can opt for cherries, peaches, or whatever you'd like. The strudel is best served warm from the oven with ice cream melting alongside.
Almost Instant Apple Strudel -- Makes 2 Strudels, 4-6 Servings Each
1 package of 2 puff pastry sheets, thawed
1 15-16 ounce can of apple (or other fruit) pie filling
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon of allspice
1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg
2-3 tablespoons of raw (turbinado) sugar
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and coat a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray or line it with parchment paper. Unroll one of the pastry sheets on a large piece of waxed paper and roll the sheet out to about 2 inches longer on each side than its original size. Spread half of the pie filling down the center of the pastry sheet and sprinkle the pie filling with half of the cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg. Fold the long sides of the pastry sheet across the filling, overlapping them slightly. Seal the short ends of the pastry sheet with a bit of water, pressing down with your fingers. Place the sealed strudel on the prepared baking sheet, seam side down, and cut six slits in the top of the strudel to let steam escape as the strudel bakes. Moisten the top of the strudel with a little water, rubbing the water over the top of the strudel with your fingers. Sprinkle on half of the raw sugar. Repeat the process with the other pastry sheet and place the second strudel next to the first one on the baking sheet, leaving a few inches between the strudels. Bake the strudels for 18-25 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly. Let the strudels cool for at least 10 minutes before serving them. The filling will be hot!