Monday 28 May 2007

Recipe: Honey & Apricot Strudel

Serves Ten.

Ingredients: 50g Dried Pear*; 150g Dried Apricot*; 100g Butter; 7 sheets Phyllo, each 12" x 6"; 200g Cream Cheese or Ricotta**; 25g plain Flour; 1 teaspoon Vanilla Essence; pinch of Salt; grated rind from half a Lemon; 2 Eggs; 150g Sour Cream; 25g Flour; 80g clear Honey; 40g crushed Hazelnuts, toasted.

* these days 'dried' fruit is normally actually quite succulent, and so needs no soaking; if you have old-fashioned dry fruit, however, this will need to be soaked overnight, but ensure that it is merely soft and not soggy before you use it.
**in its original form, the recipe uses Quark cheese, which is not readily available in these parts; cream cheese or ricotta are close substitutes, and will work, but they are both denser than Quark and so slightly compromise the effect of the beaten egg-white. The effect is slightly more solid than the original would have been, but is nevertheless delicious.


1. Pre-Heat oven to 160 degrees C.

2. Chop the dried fruit briefly in the food processor - be careful not to reduce the fruit to a pulp; the pieces should still be clearly visible as pieces - then mix with the Sour Cream and the Flour.

3. Cream together the Cheese, 60g of the Butter, Vanilla Essence, Salt and grated Lemon Rind. Separate the Eggs, leaving the whites in another bowl, and amalgamate the egg yolks into the creamed mixture, one at a time. Once properly amalgamated, thoroughly mix in the Dried Fruit and Sour Cream mixture.

4. Beat the Egg Whites until stiff, then add 30g Honey and continue to beat until completely incorporated. Add half of this to the Fruit and Cheese mixture, then carefully fold in the rest.

5. Melt the remaining Butter. Make a rectangle with four of the Phyllo sheets, and brush with melted Butter, then place the remaining three sheets crosswise over the first four sheets, and brush these also with Melted Butter.

6. Spread the Fruit & Cheese mixture thinly over about half of the Phyllo, leaving a two inch gap around the edge. Fold this edge in, over the filling, and then carefully roll the entire thing up, swiss-roll style, to make a neat 'log'. Place this, seam-side down on a greased baking sheet, and brush with any melted butter you have left over.

7. Bake 5o minutes in the pre-heated oven. After 40 minutes, gently spoon the remaining Honey over the surface, and dot with toasted Hazelnuts, before returning to the oven for the remaining ten minutes.

As ever, excellent eaten either warm from the oven, or else cold the following day. The hardest thing with this recipe is to stop yourself from eating too much of the mixture along the way, as part of the tasting process!

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