This past weekend we celebrated the almost-cool Fall weather with our friends at a movie night. The theme was Oktoberfest, so naturally strudel seemed like a perfect dessert for the event. That’s when I stepped in and began researching ideas and flavor combos that would be yummy and satisfy the palettes of everyone attending.
If I was going with the traditional apple filling, I wanted to find a way to kick it up a bit. Shuffling through my shelves, I was lucky enough to find a bottle of brandy that did the trick. Soaking the golden raisins in the brandy added a wonderful flavor to the dessert that I was rather proud of. While the strudel was baking, my home was perfumed with the yummy aroma of a great treat for a wonderful Fall welcome.
1 3/4 cups unsalted butted, melted
1 1/4 cups breadcrumbs
9 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced thinly
1 1/3 cups golden raisins
1 lemon, zest and juice
1 1/3 cups sugar
3 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cardamom
1 1/3 cups walnuts, finely chopped
8 oz (1/2 box) phyllo pastry, thawed
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper.
In a pan, toast the breadcrumbs with 1/3 cup butter until lightly brown. When complete, transfer the breadcrumbs to a bowl to cool.
Use a large bowl to combine the apples, raisins, lemon zest and juice, sugar, cinnamon, cardamom and walnuts. Mix the ingredients together thoroughly. Set aside.
Place a piece of parchment larger than the length of the phyllo pastry on your work surface. Gently remove 1 phyllo leaf from the stack of pastry and place it on the parchment. Using a pastry brush, dab the melted butter over the entirety of the leaf making sure to cover the edges. Then stack another phyllo leaf on top and repeat the process until you have 5 buttered leaves. (Cover the unused pastry with plastic wrap to keep it from drying out.) Sprinkle the buttered leaves with 1/4 cup breadcrumbs and fill with apple filling about 3 inches wide along the length of the phyllo pastry making sure to leave a 2-inch border. Use the parchment to help fold the strudel jelly-roll style; first fold in the 2-inch length of pastry over the filling, then fold in the sides and lastly, use the parchment to roll the entire filled pastry over to seal. Transfer the prepared strudel to your prepped cookie sheet and repeat the process of buttering, filling and rolling the pastry 3 more times. When complete, use a knife to cut 4 small air vents on top of the strudel. Brush the tops with the remaining butter and sprinkle 1/4 cup breadcrumbs evenly over all the prepped strudels.
Bake the strudel for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Allow the pastry to cool at room temperature before cutting and serving.