Once in a while a gal needs a break from homemade protein bars, ultra lean turkey, blanched greens and squash dressed with hemp oil. I wish I was kidding. And I’m still not in the skinny jeans… jeez.
In the interest of full disclosure I do eat a square of chocolate every other day and continue to drink wine despite the fact the Bethenny Frankel hasn’t yet come up with Chard Zero yet. Could you get on that please, Bethenny? I would like to come up with it and make my own $100 mil but my calorie-free grape growing experiment upset the HOA. urp.
So anyway, in the fall I like making this Apple Strudel recipe from epicurious.com, but this time I wanted individual, pick up pastry so here’s an adapted version of it. It started with soaking dried cherries in brandy. No, I was not drinking the brandy. Apparently I’ve just forgotten everything I ever knew about photography… and actually when I knew something it was with old timey, film loaded cameras, so I’m way back at the beginning of the SLR learning curve.
Soak cherries with brandy or raisins with cherry brandy. Some kind of dried fruit swimming in booze. And then take some ginger snaps and grind them up in a food processor with the blade attachment. I have one of those mini processors which works well for this because you don’t need much. It’s not as thorough as the large one, so you may have to pull a few larger pieces of cookie out and eat them because they will tear the pastry. Take one for the team.
Then dice up apples. Maybe everyone knows this, but it’s helpful enough I’ll mention… apples, peppers, anything with a skin on it is easier to cut and much easier on your knife if you always put the skin side down towards the board so the knife is going primarily through the flesh. You’ll get the job done faster and keep the edge on your knife a little longer.
Then melt butter and lay some phyllo sheets under a damp towel. I know I know, phyllo’s not always cooperative, but remember that it only costs a few cents a sheet. So when a couple sheets really make you crazy, just chuck them and grab a new one.
Mix up apples, cherries and half of the ginger snap crumbs. Then lay out a sheet of phyllo, brush with butter, sprinkle with cookie crumbs and then repeat with two more sheets. Then you’re ready to roll.
Cut the sheet into strips the width you want for the pastry. The first batch I did were kind of big. I started cutting five and six strips so they’d be smaller.
Then comes the rolling, which is a little tricky at first because the filling wants to come out. But all you do is take one bottom corner to the far edge so that you create a right angle triangle.
Then fold over the top edge towards the opposite side and work that way until it’s a sealed up pastry. Drop onto a lightly greased (or sprayed) baking sheet, brush the tops with butter and bake them off.
I had blueberries to use up, so I made some strudels with blueberries only – no sugar, no nuthin and they were oozing warm blueberry business when they came out of the oven that I literally cleaned up off the sheet pan with a spoon. Serve as is or make the cranberry sauce or dust with confectioner’s sugar or serve with chocolate sauce. They are good on their own though, and are nicely portable that way which makes them a convenient breakfast.
Yield: 15 - 20 pastries
Prep Time: 1 1/2 hours
Cook Time: 20 - 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours
2 - 3 granny smith apples, small dice
1/3 cup dried cherries
2 Tbsp brandy
1/4 - 1/2 cup sugar (optional, I often leave out)
3/4 cup ginger snap crumbs
1 stick of butter, melted
9 sheets phyllo dough (thawed)
- soak cherries in brandy for an hour and heat oven to 375 degrees
- combine apples, 1/2 cup cookie crumbs, sugar and cherries
- lay long side of phyllo sheet towards you on counter, brush with butter and sprinkle with crumbs
- lay another sheet of phyllo on top of the first and repeat with butter and crumbs
- repeat with third sheet and then cut 4, 5, or 6 (sizes of phyla sheets can vary) strips from the dough going from the long edge closest to you straight away
- scoop fruit filling onto the bottom of each strip
- roll each strip into a triangle by bringing the bottom corner to the opposite side, then folding the triangle down the strip
- use a little butter to tack down loose pieces or trim them off
- repeat process two more times
- lay pastries on greased baking sheet or parchment, brush with butter and bake for 20 - 30 minutes until golden brown