Defrost Phyllo overnight Prep 15 mins Cook 10 mins Bake 15 mins Eat 40 mins
Making Apple Strudel seems daunting, but even the beginners in our Oktoberfest Cooking Class were able to roll together one of these beautiful German pastries in way less than an hour. But don’t stop at one, make a few at a time. Leftovers can be rewarmed in the oven, making them taste fresh and heavenly again.
Apple Strudel is so decadent and old school at the same time. Well known as Apfelstrudel, a common pastry served in Germany and Austria, the thin pastry or phyllo traces back to Turkey. If you are a history buff, you may understand why. I thought a thin pie dough would be the appropriate pastry for Apple Strudel, but while researching recipes for our Oktoberfest Cooking Class, I learned that the ultra-thin phyllo is the authentic way to make Strudel. We used a recipe from the Berghoff Restaurant in Chicago. I’ve adapted it to make it Fresh Food in a Flash style.
You need to plan ahead when making strudel. Buy some phyllo or fillo dough from the freezer section of a quality grocer. It’s sold in different thicknesses. I purchased mine from a Middle-Eastern market – the Super Hayat International Market where they have a large selection, but you can pick it up in most supermarkets. Another friend purchased freshly made phyllo at both the Seaside Market and the Hawthorne Market. All three markets are located in Torrance, CA. Look for a box of ultra-thin phyllo that is not dented or damaged and handle it with care.
The biggest obstacle to using phyllo is it sometimes sticks together. To eliminate this, you need to unthaw it properly. The day or night before you are going to make Apple Strudel, move your phyllo box from the freezer into the refrigerator. Then on the day you are making Apple Strudel, put it on your counter early to bring it to room temperature – ideally for a few hours, but one hour will probably work. To make it easy to roll the strudel, line a baking sheet with parchment paper, which will guide you as you roll.
Also, if you can make the apple mixture in advance, all the better. Peel, slice and dice 3 apples for each strudel you make. We made 3 of them in our class. Once you have everything set up, it’s super easy to keep making more. The apples are cooked with apple juice, raisins, sugar and cinnamon for about 8 minutes and then thickened with a cornstarch slurry. Then chill until needed.
Then the fun part begins. Working with the phyllo dough. If it sticks together on the edges, use a sharp knife and run it between the sheets to loosen. To make it easy on yourself, use a baking sheet with a flat piece of parchment paper on it. Lay one piece of phyllo on the parchment, then dab, not brush with melted butter. Sprinkle with bread crumbs and repeat three times. Top with a fourth sheet of phyllo and then spread the apple filling evenly leaving a 1″ clean edge on all sides.
Then the brilliance of the parchment paper comes to life. Pick up the parchment paper on the long side and the phyllo will begin to roll effortlessly.
Release the parchment once you have it going and when you get to the end, brush melted butter on the seam to glue it together.
With the parchment, roll the strudel seam side down and it is ready for baking.
Sprinkle with powdered sugar, slice into 2″ slices and serve with a scoop of ice cream, if you like. If you have leftover strudel, rewarm it in a 350° oven for 10 minutes.
1 1/4 cups apple juice
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
3 large Granny Smith Apples, peeled, cored and large dice
1/2 cup raisins
3 Tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup pecans, chopped
4 sheets Phyllo pastry sheets defrosted according to package directions
1/4 cup melted butter
3 Tablespoons fine dry bread crumbs
1 Tablespoon powdered sugar, sifted
vanilla ice cream (optional)
1. Measure 1/4 cup apple juice and stir in cornstarch. Set aside.
2. In large saucepan over medium heat, cook the apples with 1 cup apple juice, raisins, sugar, cinnamon until the apples are tender, about 8 minutes. Restir the cornstarch mixture and add to the apple mixture, stirring constantly until thickened. Remove from heat, cool and chill until needed. When ready to use, stir in pecans.
3. While apples are cooking, get 2 baking sheets ready. Line each baking sheet with parchment paper. Unroll the unthawed and room temperature phyllo dough onto a baking sheet and cover it immediately with plastic wrap to keep it moist.
4. On the second baking sheet with parchment, lay one piece of phyllo on the parchment, then with a brush, dab, not brush with melted butter. Sprinkle with one tablespoon of bread crumbs and repeat phyllo layer three times. Top with a fourth sheet of phyllo and then spread the apple filling evenly leaving a 1″ clean edge on all sides. Starting with the long side, pull up the parchment paper using it as a guide and begin to roll the strudel into a log. Release the parchment paper once you get it going and continue rolling to the end. Brush melted butter to glue the seam together at the end and then using the parchment paper, roll the strudel so the seam side is down.
5. Brush the top of the strudel with butter. Bake for about 15 minutes or until the top begins to brown. (It will be a very light brown). Remove from the oven and let cool. Sprinkle with powdered sugar just before serving and slice into 2″ slices. Serve with ice cream, if desired.
Servings: 8 – 238 calories per serving
Oven Temperature: 400°F