No, this is not one of those positive affirmation filled posts dripping with feministic references to what women (girls, whatever) can accomplish. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, and coming on the heels of the US Women’s World Cup win last weekend the temptation is certainly there. But this isn’t going to be one of those things. This is about something even better. This is about a group of gals that have been around since before “girl power” existed, or rather, since it was given a name. These gals have had power all along, despite being told they didn’t. And I had the privilege to be invited into their sassy sisterhood a few weeks ago for a peek into what has come to be known as The View.
First let me clarify. I’m not referring to same-named broadcast broadfest, though the name of this group is a tongue-in-check reference to it. This View is a weekly convergence of some of the coolest septua and octogenarian babes I’ve ever encountered. They live in an “adult” community out on eastern Long Island, and trust me, if the fun these ladies have is what it means to be an adult, I want to go to there! I was able to get limited access and secret handshake for this awesome society by having exited the womb of one of its members. They don’t invite just anyone you know. Well, actually, they probably would.
Labels like married, divorced, widowed, single, etc. don’t matter here. Call them feminists or not, they don’t seem to care nor feel the need to make the distinction. But these sassy gals are trailblazers none the less. My generation and all that followed wouldn’t be what we are today, or have what we do without these bold beautiful broads. They did what they had to, lived within the confines of whatever the times and society threw at them, and moved forward through challenges we can’t even imagine. And from what from I can tell, most if not all did whatever the hell they wanted when no one was looking (and probably when someone was looking, too.)
Weekly View topics range from “the exalted to the raunchy” (thank you, Astheta), and membership in this “Ol Girl’s Club” isn’t difficult. No dues other than what their lives have already paid. After that all that matters is a willingness to share, to listen, and to laugh till you piddle. And, gentle readers, the wisdom we could glean from this wonderful group? That’s REAL girl power. ❤
Strudel just screams of wise wonderful Omas, doesn’t it? Beautiful well-aged hands gently coaxing simple dough to the size of tabletops and transparency of wedding night chemise. Yeah, I’m not doing that. What’s more, I have not an ounce of guilt about it. Probably helps that my Oma never made strudel, because she wasn’t doing that either. But my mom does, and that’s where this strudel got its start.
My mother is an amazing cook and baker. She is not, however, a patient woman when it comes to these things. Which is great because it means her recipes both yield something delicious, and won’t send you screaming from the room or launching bakeware across kitchens in fits of frustration. This strudel recipe is a perfect example of her wonderful lack of patience. Easy and incredibly adaptable to what’s in season, it’s the height of simplicity and flakey fruity sweet awesomeness.
Easy Fruit Strudel
Makes one strudel that serves 6-8
- 1 sheet of purchased puff pastry (since this is sold frozen, you’ll want to defrost the pastry in the fridge overnight.)
- 1 1/2-2 cups pitted cherries, berries, sliced peaches or whatever fruit you have (apple, naturally work swell here too.)
- 1/4 cup sugar or more, depending on sweetness of fruit and your taste
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- Pinch of salt
- 1-2 tablespoons cookie crumbs, bread crumbs, cake crumbs (this is to sop up fruit juice)
- 1-2 tablespoons chopped nuts (optional)
- 2 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into small pieces (about 1/4″ size)
Preheat oven to 375ºF and cut a piece of parchment paper to fit a sided baking sheet. Toss together in a bowl the fruit, sugar, cinnamon and salt. Set aside for 15-30 minutes.
On a floured board, roll out the sheet of puff pastry to a 12″ x 16″ rectangle. This is why rulers are a baker’s friend. Do measure and trim to that size. It takes a few seconds but makes a prettier strudel. Lay the pastry onto that piece of parchment you cut, with the long side facing you.
Once the fruit has sat long enough that some juices have formed, sprinkle the crumbs down the middle third of the pastry dough the long way, leaving about an inch on either end. Distribute the fruit over the crumbs. Try to resist overfilling the strudel, which only helps it burst and leaves a mess of fruit on your pan. Start with a cup, add from there. Dot the fruit with the pieces of butter.
Using the parchment to help you, fold the inch borders you left over the fruit on the ends. Wet your finger with water or milk and run a 1/2 inch line along the top edge of the dough. This will help it stick together. Now using the parchment to help you, fold the bottom third of dough over the fruit. Do the same with the top, pressing a little where you wet it to help it seal.
Again, use the parchment to help flip the strudel over so the seam is on the bottom. Now lift the parchment and strudel and place on your pan. You may have to curve the strudel a little to fit your pan. With a serrated knife, make a few slices through the top of the dough for steam holes.
Bake 25-30 minutes, until the crust is puffed and golden brown. Remove entire parchment and strudel to rack and cool 15 minutes. Dust with powdered sugar and serve.
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