Monday 26 February 2007

Recipe: Apple Strudel

For Six.
Ingredients: Two large eating Apples (preferably the pinkish variety, that don't go to mush when cooked); quarter of a cup of ground Almonds; 4 Cloves; 9 sheets of Phyllo Pastry, each 12"x6"; quarter of a cup of Rum; quarter of a cup of sugar (or same volume sweetener); quarter of a cup of Pine Nuts; 4 oz Butter; quarter of a cup of Breadcrumbs; quarter of a cup of Raisins or Sultanas; 1 beaten Egg.

1. Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees C.

2. Soak the dried fruit twenty minutes in warm/hot water, then drain.

3. Meanwhile, peel, core and thinly slice the apples. Mix in a bowl along with the ground Almonds, Pine nuts, cloves, rum, sugar (or sweetener). When soaked and drained, add the dried fruit and mix this in as well.

4. Lay a tea towel out on the work surface, and place four sheets of the Phyllo on it slightly overlapping, to make a large rectangle, narrow side nearest to you. Melt half the Butter, and brush the Phyllo rectangle with it; then lay the remaining Phyllo on top, going in the opposite direction, so that the seams of the lower layer of Phyllo are covered. Brush the top layer with melted butter in turn.

5. Melt the remaining butter, then gently saute the breadcrumbs in it over a medium heat until nicely golden.

6. Spread the breadcrumbs evenly over the Phyllo rectangle, leaving a border of about two inches all round. Carefully distribute the Apple mixture over the top of the breadcrumbs. Fold the 2" border of pastry over the filling, all round, and then carefully - using the towel, swiss-roll fashion - roll the whole thing up, starting with the short side nearest you.

7. Transfer to a greased baking sheet. Brush with beaten Egg, and bake in the pre-heated oven for about fifty minutes.

Best left to go completely cold before serving, as the concentrated flavours go back into the filling as it cools. Aesthetics suggests you dust the Strudel with confectioners sugar before serving; waistline suggests otherwise. Your choice!

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