So today I tried something that is almost totally foreign to me, but way more fun than anything else in the whole area of cooking. The new concept I experimented with is simple. You take a recipe, look at it, then throw it out the window. The only rule to my process is that you should probably consider only using this technique when you are cooking with ingredients that you are familiar with. For me it was easy. Reason why--Everything I used in this recipe I had dealt with before.
That being said--the recipe I'm going to give to you looks a little tough from the gitgo. The two main aspects of a good apple strudel are the filling and the phyllo dough crust. While you may know how to make a good filling easily, the part that could trip up most chefs is working with the phyllo dough. The paper thin dough has good days and bad. However, when you keep trying to pry apart your dough and it continually rips and creases, it wont matter how brilliant filling is if there's nothing to put it in.
However if you are having trouble with your phyllo, have no fear I do have a few solid tips for you to be aware of. First, as you can see below, whenever working with phyllo you should keep whatever portion of it you aren't currently using covered with a damp towel or cloth. That way the dough won't dry out or flake when you try to use it later. Secondly, never get to excited--working with it takes time and patience. If you try to move too fast when working with it you'll just rip every sheet you try to lay out. The last thing about phyllo is that no matter what your recipe says, you might not be able to pry each individually layer apart separately and might need to lay out your layers by twos or even threes of phyllo. It's better to have a little much phyllo than to have one dinky ripped layer.
Alright--enough talk. So the recipe. There is a lot of room for movement and alterations, because this was basically just made up in my head while I was cooking. Thankfully my batch turned out delicious.
About 2 pounds of 'red delicious' apples (4-8 apples depending on size)
1 and 1/2 cups of light brown sugar
1/4 cup of white granulated sugar
1 tablespoon of cinnamon
1/2 of a tablespoon of nutmeg
1 tablespoon of honey
8 tablespoons (a stick) of butter.
Phyllo Dough stuff/Things for assembly of strudel--
A package of phyllo dough from the store (nobody makes their own phyllo lets be honest)
1 stick or more of melted butter
Pastry brush to brush said butter onto said phyllo
A small amount of crushed graham crackers
Raisins or dried cranberries (optional)
Diced and toasted Hazelnuts or Almonds or both. (optional)
First before even looking at the dough, you should get your filling in order because it'll need to cook. Heat up a relatively deep pan on your stove top with the stick of butter cut into pats melting in it and leave it all on medium heat. While that gets warm, peel all of your apples and cut into thin slices <1/4 inch thick. The thinner the slices are, the quicker they'll get done and the less likely someone will be to run into a crunchy piece of apple in your strudel.
As your butter finishes melting, stir in the brown sugar. Important: reduce your heat marginally at this point, brown sugar and butter burns easily. If it burns, you might as well start all over because everything will just taste like burn from that point on. In addition to reducing the heat, keep stirring the sugar because if it stays too stationary it could burn as well.
Next add in the apples to the melted brown sugar, stirring them until they're coated with the mixture. Here's them moment where you really get to make choices. You can choose to add or not any of these ingredients in larger or smaller quantities based on how your mixture is looking. If it's already really sweet--don't add the white sugar! Not all of it is necessary, most is based on taste preference. Add in the Cinnamon and Nutmeg, followed by the white sugar. Stir through. Lastly drizzle the honey in and stir. Put a top on the mixture and reduce the heat to low and let it simmer.
As this is going melt the butter for the phyllo in a separate saucepan.
Let the apples cook for anywhere from 8-20 minutes depending on how thick your apple slices are, stirring every few minutes or so. Once the apples are bendable and soft they are done. Strain the apples out of the liquid mixture and put them in a bowl.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Now you're on to the assembly. Make sure you have a clean, good surface to work on, and then you can start by unrolling out your packaged phyllo and taking your first two sheets of phyllo off the top slowly and putting them on the surface.
Finally, roll up your strudel in a burrito like fashion shown in the picture below.
Bake for 12-18 minutes or until the tips of the phyllo are golden brown.
These looked better in person..the light here was shifty so i had to use a flash.
Yay no websites to credit because this recipe is all mine.