Just think of all the savory things you could put in a strudel
I made a tomato pie once, but I can’t eat a whole pie by myself, and my husband didn’t want any part of it. This year, I still wanted something with a crust, just not as big as a pie. I did think about turnovers or a tart, and am keeping those ideas for another time. This year it’s strudel, made with frozen puff pastry. I have used frozen phyllo sheets (long ago) and even tried rolling out authentic strudel dough (longer ago), but, come on, frozen puff pastry is a handy piece of magic.
The tomato layers are my Maple Tomato Jam plus layers of roasted tomatoes. I pretty much follow Rachael Ray’s recipe for the roasted tomatoes, but did not use any garlic this time. The tomatoes are topped with shredded fontina cheese and fresh thyme. My husband said it was a kind of pizza. Hmm. Puff pastry pizza—there’s an idea.
Tomato Strudel with Fontina and Thyme
- 24-40 roasted roma tomato halves (some of mine were Big Russians, which are very big; most were small San Marzanos)
- 1/2 cup maple tomato jam
- 1 sheet frozen puff pastry dough, rolled out 12″ x 16″
- 1/2-1 cup shredded fontina cheese (I went light on the cheese to highlight the tomatoes, but you could add more)
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme (Note: thyme is also used in roasting the tomatoes
- 1 egg + 1 tablespoon water whisked for egg wash
- Optional: coarse sea salt
- Roast tomatoes according to recipe link above and let cool. I roasted mine the day before when I was doing other garden-related things. That made it easy to put the strudel together. I took them out of the refrigerator about an hour before assembly so they would come to room temperature.
- I had some of the tomato jam in the freezer and took it out to thaw beforehand.
- Thaw one sheet of puff pastry (folded) on a lightly floured mat for about 40 minutes or until it will unfold without cracking. If at any time during the making you think the dough is too warm and sticky, just pop it back in the freezer for a few minutes, then continue at whatever stage you’re at.
- Roll out the pastry to a 12″ x 16″ rectangle. Just keep at it and don’t try to rush it. If the dough seems stiff, it will begin to soften as you are rolling. When rolled out, lift and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet pan. It will be a little floppy, but you can easily rearrange it into an even rectangle (I say confidently).
- Spread the tomato jam down the center third of the pastry lengthwise.
- Layer on roasted tomatoes as thick as you desire. I would say I had about three layers.
- Sprinkle with cheese and thyme.
- Cut slits at an angle into the remaining thirds of the dough, ending about 1/2 inch from the filling, so that you have about 12 strips to weave.
- Some people try to close the ends of a strudel with the first and last strips—I don’t worry about that. Just begin alternating the dough strips across the filling until the whole strudel is enclosed. If you find too much flour on the dough, you can brush it off now.
- Brush with egg wash of 1 egg and 1 tablespoon water whisked together. Sprinkle on coarse sea salt, keeping in mind that your roasted tomatoes were already seasoned with salt.
- Bake at 400º for 35 mins. I lowered my oven to 375º for the last ten minutes.