It’s the festive season and so begins the Christmas baking! I know, I know, its only mid-November, but as I’m spending December in Canada, I wanted to do a bit of baking at home before I leave. I thought I would edge into Christmas baking with cranberries, rather than go full-blown gingerbread house or yule log.
The only time I remember ever having strudel (that wasn’t the Pillsbury’s toaster variety) was in Austria on a school holiday. Needless to say it was delicious and it left me with unrealistic expectations. The recipe I went with is Betty Crocker’s cranberry apple strudel, but upon reflection I think Austrian-style strudel is very different from the American kind.
The most notable difference I see is that Austrian strudel is more finely chopped and is often a pre-cooked compote filling, whereas this one called for chopped uncooked apples. The end result was that my strudel was fairly dry and chunky. I don’t think I’d make this recipe again, but I will try to make Austrian-style strudel in the future. What’s your favourite style of strudel?
2 granny smith apples (about 2 cups) chopped
(I think finely diced would have work better)
1/2 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
1 tsp. grated lemon peel
1 tsp. lemon juice
(It called for 2 and I found it too lemony)
8 sheets of filo pastry (*see below)
1/2 cup melted butter
4 tbsp. plain bread crumbs (*see below)
Icing sugar for dusting
Preheat the oven to 190C (275F) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl combine apples, cranberries, sugar, walnuts, lemon peel, and lemon juice.
*Bread crumbs – At most UK grocery stores you can only buy fine or golden bread crumbs and I don’t think these would have worked. I took a piece of seeded whole wheat bread, toasted it, diced it, and then whizzed it into bread crumbs with my immersion blender.
*Filo – The US and Canada seem to have rectangular filo (17×12 inches), but the box I bought at Sainsbury’s had square filo sheets. If you can find rectangular sheets, I suggest you opt for those over the squares because I couldn’t do the swiss-roll technique properly.
Unroll filo sheets and cover with plastic wrap. Place 1 filo sheet on a piece of plastic wrap. Brush with melted butter; sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of bread crumbs. Add a second layer of filo and brush only with butter. Repeat, alternating with breadcrumbs on every other sheet. The top layer should be brushed with butter only.
Spoon the apple mixture over the filo stack to within 2 inches of each edge (mine was a bit full because it was so chunky); press lightly. Fold the shorter sides (or one set of sides on a square) up over the filling. Use the plastic wrap to roll the filo swiss-roll style. Place the roll seam side down onto the baking sheet. Make several crosswise cuts on top of the roll. Brush the top with any remaining butter.
Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool at least 15 minutes before serving. Dust with icing sugar if desired.