Homey, hearty, and jam-packed full of fruits, the strudels that I’ve come to know throughout the years could hardly be described as delicate, or even the least bit elegant. Heavy with gooey apples and thick pastry to hold it all together, they certainly classified as comfort food, but it would be generous to describe these desserts as “rustic.” That’s why this latest Daring Baker challenge had me a bit puzzled at first… Until I realized that this recipe produced an entirely different sort of beast.
The May Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Linda of make life sweeter! and Courtney of Coco Cooks. They chose Apple Strudel from the recipe book Kaffeehaus: Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafés of Vienna, Budapest and Prague by Rick Rodgers.
With pastry so paper-thin that purists insist you can “read a newspaper through it,” this was much more similar to phyllo dough than the thin pie crust I typically encounter. Seeing that is what got me thinking of baklava, pretty much the best thing anyone could ever do with phyllo, in my opinion.
Merging these two sweet treats, a rich filling of walnuts and spices is encased in that flaky dough, and brushed with ample amounts of agave nectar while it’s still piping hot. Much easier to cut and serve than traditional baklava, it was definitely neater to eat, although I’ll admit right away that I could have definitely rolled the dough much thinner. Not quite perfect, but still a delicious treat that I would have never tried to make without this challenge. Served alongside a quenelle of vanilla ice cream and topped with a light dusting of powdered sugar, however, any number of imperfections can be easily overlooked.
For this variation, simply mix together the following in a large bowl…
2 Cups Chopped Walnuts
1/2 Cup Unsweetened Apple Sauce
1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
1 Tablespoon Cornstarch
1 1/2 Teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
Spoon it onto the dough in a straight line, wrap, and bake just as written in the original recipe. Best eaten warm!