Apple Strudel is a great Eastern European Dessert Favorite.
Store-bought Fillo dough is quite an acceptable substitute for the labor-intensive homemade Fillo sheets, and makes Strudel a snap to make. Strudel is quite versatile, and you make any number of exciting strudel variations, both savory and sweet. I’ll just start with the great Strudel dessert favorite.
I have included several Great Tips on Working with Fillo; when you get the hang of it, you will actually have fun using it and enjoy its versatility and flaky melt-in-your-mouth texture. Granny Smith is my favorite kind of apple for baking, but McIntosh will do just as well. Scroll down for strudel filling variations.
Use fresh bread crumbs, made by grinding a slice or two of unflavored bread or challah in the food processor.
- 2 firm-ripe pears, peeled and finely diced
- 4 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and finely diced
- 1⁄3 cup raisins or currants
- 1⁄3 cup sugar
- Juice and grated zest of 1 lemon
- 1⁄3 cup finely chopped pecans or walnuts
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 12 sheets fillo dough
- 1⁄2 cup vegetable oil
- 1⁄2 cup finely ground bread crumbs
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Mix all the filling ingredients together in a bowl. Take 1 sheet of the Fillo, place it flat on a cutting board with the short side facing you, and brush it lightly with oil. Repeat twice (3 sheets total). Place a quarter of the bread crumbs on the bottom short side of the fillo. Place a quarter of the filling along the short end of the fillo (meaning, right on top of the bread crumbs). Roll up tightly around the filling, then all the way up. Place the roll on a cookie sheet. Make 3 more strudel rolls, using 3 sheets of fillo, a quarter of the bread crumbs and a quarter of the filling for each, and place them on the cookie sheet. Make sure the strudel rolls fit snugly on the cookie sheet, so that the filling doesn’t seep out of the open ends while baking. Fill any empty spaces with rolled-up foil “balls.”
Using a sharp knife, score each strudel roll about 5 times, making the slits 2 inches apart. Brush the strudel rolls with oil. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the pastry is light brown and crisp. Cut the strudel along the scored lines with a sharp knife. Serve the strudel warm or at room temperature.
Variations: You might want to try some variations on the strudel filling, such as half pear or half apple instead of all apples, or use dried cranberries, almonds, and ground ginger instead of raisins, walnuts, and cinnamon. If you decide to make the strudel with pitted fruit such as plums or peaches, add 3 tablespoons cornstarch to the filling to absorb the extra moisture.