Apple Strudel

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Things to be grateful for the past week:

  • Billie Holiday. Happy belated, you star.
  • Extended periods of concentration
  • My mum’s lipstick (oops).
  • Discovering new, creative inspiration all around me, in the air, sights, people (Instagram aside, of course).
  • Daily yoga practice. Still trying to get better at certain inversions and balances. Nothing else truly grounds and invigorates me.
  • Love. Everywhere. Phone calls or video calls. Precious and genuine.
  • Making mistakes, and distinct feelings of unease. And then letting the right balance of stoicism and determination kick in. Feel, embrace, face obstacles, before trying to untangle and change them.
  • Coming across the cutest café (named Moreish) near the Wellcome Collection full of delicious vegan options, including vegan gelato!!
  • Coming up with more easy, AMAZING new recipes which I am so excited to release week after week! And just refining some sweet (literally) cult classics whenever I can. Snickerdoodles, red velvet cake, carrot cake, fudgy brownies galore. These things just can’t go wrong.My most recent experiment was particularly exciting and got me squealing on my knees at 10pm last night. Seriously.

Over the Easter weekend I was privileged enough to be hosted by my boyfriend’s family in Austria. On the plane ride back, my hands were itching to start playing with the Austrian cult classic– yes, the one and only apple strudel. I remember my first encounter with the traditional Austrian pastry before I went vegan so distinctly, The first bite was an explosion of thick-cut chunks of tender, stewed, cinnamony apple, enveloped in light-as-air, flaky pastry. Drenched in vanilla sauce (you usually douse your pastry in either this or vanilla ice cream if you have it), each vanilla speckle visible in pure, vivid ivory, if ivory could be so vivid. It’s the perfectly flaky pastry encasing soft apple, firm yet two steps away from being mush upon the pressure of your spoon, that I wished to replicate the past weekend.

And that I did.

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This easy vegan apple strudel is about an hour away from you if you feel like buying some filo tonight. Seriously, it’s so darn easy and delicious I can’t possibly think of what is stopping you. Since I was only making this for me and my uncle last weekend, the strudel I ended up with was a rather small thing of a sausage, but nevertheless satisfying in portion. Double the ingredients if you wish to make this for a larger party or, say, 5 or more friends who are more cautious than carefree when it comes to dessert after a hefty dinner of pot stickers and the likes on a Saturday night. I personally enjoy any dessert a la mode, as opposed to drenching it in custard or vanilla sauce. Ice cream any day for me, who’s with me?? I also drizzled over some of my homemade salted caramel sauce of extra pizzaz, though any sauce is of course optional, if you’re the sort who also hates stuff like sweet chilli sauce. Is that even possible?

Filo pastry actually comes in so handy for these types of dessert– I like to chuck mine in the freezer and let it thaw for at least 3 hours or overnight in the fridge to be used the next day.

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Apple Strudel (makes one 4×8-inch strudel. enough for 2-3 people)


2 large apples, diced

juice of half a lemon

1 tbsp ground cinnamon

2 and a half sheets of filo pastry, with the 2 larger ones cut in the middle along the longer edge, so you end up with 5 halves. If you’re using frozen filo pastry

A handful, or about 30g of chopped nuts (or buckwheat groats, as I used in my case since I didn’t have many nuts lying around– sacrilege!), and some extra for sprinkling later on

4 tbsp vegan butter, melted in the microwave

4 tbsp brown or coconut sugar


Preheat your oven to 180C (350C). In a bowl, mix together the chopped apple, cinnamon, lemon and nuts. If you don’t have any nuts or buckwheat groats, granola or any trailer mix sort of thing works well too. Set the bowl aside.

Place a piece of parchment paper that fits a standard baking tray, and place the paper on the tray. Flour the parchment and lay down one sheet of filo pastry. Carefully (filo pastry is quite delicate) brush on some vegan butter, then sprinkle on a tablespoon of brown or coconut sugar, then some of your finely chopped nuts/granola/something crunchy basically! Then lay down your second piece of pastry and repeat. Repeat until all five sheets are used up. Place the filling in the middle of the pastry, leaving a border of an inch from the shorter edge (breadth) and 2 inches from the longer edge (length). Refer to the pictures above for a clearer idea of what I’m saying. Using a sharp knife, roughly cut lines going from the edge of your filling to the length of the pastry, spaced 2 cm away from each other and parallel to each other. The lines should match up to each other on both sides of the filling.

Carefully fold the strips of pastry towards the middle, using the extra melted butter to stick any overlapping bits together. Continue doing this along the length of the strudel until you reach the bottom. Brush the top of the pastry with more melted butter, sprinkle on some brown sugar, and bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes. The pastry should not be dark, but crispy all the same. Serve with a healthy dollop of vegan vanilla ice cream, and more nuts for crunch. This can be kept in the fridge for a few days


Kaya Apple Cake

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These patches of bright light on my desk are rare, taking on sharp edges, hurting and twisting against the grim dark wall that is my computer screen shadow. A rare occasion, this sunlight. Its splendour screams safe but isn’t as unassuming and comforting as the 8am spillover of soft winter light, which funnily enough I do miss. Soft and unassuming. Just like the pot of homemade kaya sent all the way from Singapore. I can imagine my grandmother churning away with those pandan leaves on the weekend, thinking about how I would find her new recipe, sugar ratios in tow.

With school inevitably comes times of doubt and stress. I carefully pulled apart the bubble wrap neatly taped around the large tub of green. The smell of home propped my spirit on an invisible high horse and sent me straight to her kitchen thousands of miles away for a good 30 seconds. School didn’t exist for a good 30 seconds, too. Just standing there, one could believe nothing more than the present and past. Let the worries fade, let the senses of Now take over, and bake a cake.

There would seem to be a worrying mildness about kaya, yet when put together in a sea of cake batter and soft apple, its head pops out above the rest, an unmistakable coconutty hit serving well to blunt this seed of nonchalance.

A soft, cinnamony kaya apple cake, sandwiched with kaya, to be eaten only with something deliciously cold and creamy, as per pretty much everything I make. 

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This is an incredibly soft cake, more so than any of my other previous recipes. I suggest upping the amount of sugar by a few tablespoons for a more robust edge and crust, and feel free to use any sort of kaya; it need not be your traditional green kaya, for I envision the brown Hainanese sort works just as well, tailing along a more honeyed depth of sweet. And of course, the raisins are not de rigueur..

As usual, all substitutions are optional and vegan.

Kaya Apple Cake (makes one 9 inch cake)


200g plain flour

125g applesauce

60g butter (sub: flavourless oil or vegan butter)

100g kaya+ 100g for the fun sandwiching bit

1 egg (sub: one banana)

200g sugar

pinch salt

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp baking soda (eliminate if using self-raising flour)

1 tsp vanilla extract

100g raisins (optional)

190g chopped apple, peeled and cored (around 1 1/2 apples)



Preheat your oven to 177C and grease a 9-inch pan.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, sugar and salt. In a separate heat-safe bowl, heat the applesauce and butter together, either in a microwave or on a stove. Whisk in the egg, 100g of kaya and vanilla. Tip your raisins and chopped apple into the dry mix, before tipping in the wet applesauce mix. Mix everything together until just combined, then pour into your pan and bake for 35 minutes.

Once out, let cool for at least 10 minutes and ready the extra kaya. Cut the cake down the middle of the pan. Spread the remaining kaya onto the first half, sandwich with the second half, then cut everything into bars. Serve á la mode!


Apple Galette

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I had been meaning to make an apple galette for quite a while now. I must be this specific– apple galette. Nothing else would have done it for me. Just… Nothing. I had to, and the urge was running wild; coursing hot through my blood. I had looked at quite a few recipes, and surprisingly most required the dough to be set in the fridge for at least an hour or so (understandably), and for the apples to go through a caramelising or some other cook-through method beforehand. Not that I would have minded so terribly… But sadly I am a creature of convenience. Stark laziness, even, sometimes. I’ll be honest. I was really pleased with how this turned out, even after making the radical adaptations. I like those burnt edges. Kill me if you wish. I do. The buttery, caramelised apples with a tender bottom crust go wonderfully with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream. I paired a slice with some leftover salted caramel sauce, because I didn’t have any ice cream lying around and yes, that was enough to break my heart. The flavours are simple, wonderful, joyful.

As a student, I don’t have hours and hours to play around with recipes; words like ‘proving’ and ‘resting in the damn fridge for 40 hours’ just don’t cut it most of the time. I came across smittenkitchen’s recipe for the ‘simplest apple tart’, and thought it just perfect to play with. My own adjustments were pretty radical, so I’m going to re-type everything I changed. I swear, dough making in this bloody Singapore heat is a right pain, so I suggest only using things like butter and cold water right when you need it, and straight out of the fridge. Blast the air con and get to work!

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For galette dough:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 and a half tablespoons sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 80g cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes (I used half salted, half unsalted, just because I love a little extra)
  • 2 tablespoons cold water

For apple filling:

  • 3-4 small apples, sliced into thin slivers
  • 30g melted butter
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar (preferably dark muscovado, if you have that sort of thing lying around)
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • half teaspoon nutmeg

For glaze:

  • a quarter cup of your favourite jam (I used marmalade), warmed for a couple minutes in the microwave



Slice the apples and mix with the sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg in a large bowl. Set aside. Preheat your oven to 200 degrees C.

In a food processor, blend the flour, sugar, salt and butter. Pulse until the biggest pieces resemble medium-sized peas. Slowly add in the cold water, continuing to pulse at a moderate speed. I only needed around 2 tablespoons. Grab a handful of dough and squeeze to see if it holds together. If it does, then it’s fine. Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gather into a round and slightly flattened ball. Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 10 minutes (Yes! 10. Praise the Lord).

Take the dough out from fridge and using a floured rolling pin on lightly floured surface, roll out until it’s approximately 11 inches wide. Place dough onto a greased, large baking dish lined with parchment (VERY IMPORTANT STEP HERE. DO NOT be like me and do this only after painstakingly placing the apples on top. Please. Learn from my mistakes. Or I will cry for you.)

Take your beautiful cinnamon and sugar-crusted apples and layer them, one by one in a ring spiral, with the outer edges 1.5-2 inches away from the edge of the dough. Continue layering in a ring, working your way to the centre of the circle. Once you reach the centre, you can bend a few slices to fit the very middle, like a rose. If you have extra slices, place them in random nooks around the ring, so they all fit nicely.

Now, this is my favourite bit: Take the outside edges of dough and fold them over, in sections around the ring of apples. Let it be loose and rustic and messy. Enough with the neat crimping. That’s for the uppity. Now brush the melted butter over the edges you folded over and the exposed apple slices. Yum yum. Sprinkle the sugar over the whole thing. Free and easy. Footloose and fancy-free. The joy, the joy, I tell you.

Bake in preheated oven on middle rack for 40 minutes. Leave it in the oven to cool before taking out.

Warm your favourite jam in the microwave for a few minutes, and using a pastry brush, brush all over that beautiful little rustic thing. Galette. The word makes me swoon. The gazelle of all tarts. The almighty apple galette.

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