Autumn Apple Strudel
- 1 cup apple juice
- 4 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate chopped
- 1 tablespoon brandy
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup apple juice plus
- 2 tablespoons apple juice
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 3 whole star anise*
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 vanilla bean split lengthwise
- 1/3 cup dried Bing cherries - (packed)
- 1/3 cup pitted prunes - (packed) halved
- 1 1/4 pounds Braeburn apples peeled, cored, andcut into 1/2" cubes
- 1/3 cup golden brown sugar - (packed)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2/3 cup hazelnuts toasted, husked
- 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 9 sheets fresh phyllo pastry (17" by 12") or frozen thawed
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter melted
- Vanilla ice cream for serving
* Brown star-shaped seedpods sold at Asian markets and specialty foods stores and in the spice section of some supermarkets.
For Sauce: Boil juice in small saucepan until reduced to 1/2 cup, about 6 minutes. Remove from heat. Add chocolate and let stand 1 minute; whisk until melted and smooth. Stir in brandy and vanilla. (Sauce can be prepared 4 days ahead. Cover and chill. Rewarm before serving.)
For Filling: Combine 1 cup juice, wine, star anise, and cinnamon in large saucepan. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean; add bean. Bring to simmer. Remove from heat. Cover; let stand 10 minutes. Add cherries and prunes. Cover and simmer until fruit is plump, about 5 minutes. Discard star anise, cinnamon, and vanilla bean. Mix in apples and sugar; simmer until apples are tender but hold shape and liquid is reduced to 3 tablespoons, stirring occasionally, about 45 minutes.
Mix cornstarch and 2 tablespoons apple juice. Add to filling; stir over medium-high heat until filling thickens and boils, about 3 minutes. (Can be made 3 days ahead. Cool slightly, cover, and chill.)
For Strudel: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly butter heavy large baking sheet. Blend first 3 ingredients in processor until nuts are finely ground.
Place dry kitchen towel on work surface. Place 1 phyllo sheet on towel (cover remaining phyllo with plastic wrap and damp towel). Brush phyllo lightly with melted butter. Top with second phyllo sheet; brush with butter. Sprinkle with scant 3 tablespoons nut mixture. Continue with 6 more phyllo sheets, brushing each with butter and sprinkling with scant 3 tablespoons nut mixture. Top with remaining phyllo sheet. Brush with butter. Spoon filling atop phyllo stack in 12- by 3-inch log, starting 2 inches from 1 long side and 2 1/2 inches from each short side. Fold short edges over filling. Using towel as aid and beginning at edge close to filling, roll up strudel jelly-roll style. Place strudel, seam-side down, on prepared baking sheet. Brush strudel with butter. (Can be made 4 hours ahead. Chill.)
Bake strudel uncovered until golden, about 45 minutes. Let cool at least 30 minutes. Cut warm or room-temperature strudel into slices; place on plates. Serve with ice cream and warm chocolate sauce.
This recipe yields 6 to 8 servings.
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