Cranberry Apple Strudel

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.

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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?

Ingredients:

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

Instructions:

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.

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*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.

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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.

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Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool at least 15 minutes before serving. Dust with icing sugar if desired.

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