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Winter-Fruit Strudel

Andrew Weissman, Le Reve, San Antonio

By December 2002Comments

4 sheets frozen filo
3/4 pound tart apples such as Granny Smith, Winesap, Jonathan, or Cortland
1/3 pound firm Bosc pears
1/2 cup dried figs
1/2 cup dried apricots
1/2 cup raisins
1 cup sweet white wine such as Riesling or Chenin Blanc, warmed
1 stick unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup raspberries, fresh or frozen
pinch salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 cup panko (coarse, crisp Japanese-style bread crumbs)

Note: The fruit mixture (or the entire strudel) may be made ahead of time.

The day before, place box of frozen filo in refrigerator to thaw.

Core, seed, and peel apples and pears. Cut into thin slices or half-inch dice, as you prefer. Cut figs and apricots in quarters or dice. Rehydrate figs, apricots, and raisins in warm wine.

Heat 2 tablespoons butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add apples, sprinkle with 1 to 2 tablespoons sugar, and cook until slightly soft but not mushy, about 4 minutes (the fruit will be cooked more later). Add pears to apples and cook for 2 or 3 more minutes. Transfer fruit to a stainless-steel bowl. Drain apricots, figs, and raisins and add them and raspberries to apples and pears. Stir in about 2 tablespoons sugar plus salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt remaining butter in a saucepan or in the microwave and set aside. Toss together bread crumbs and remaining sugar (about 3/4 cup). Lay out filo and cover with a damp dish towel to keep moist. Lightly grease a cookie sheet and line it with a long piece of waxed paper (it will be used later to help roll the strudel). Remove 1 sheet of filo and lay it on the waxed paper. (Note: Filo sticks together and breaks easily; just remember that any one sheet doesn’t have to be perfect.) Brush filo sheet with melted butter and sprinkle generously with bread-crumb-sugar mixture. Repeat with remaining 3 sheets, laying one on top of the other.

Spread fruit mixture lengthwise down one side of layered filo, covering about a third of it; leave at least 2 inches uncovered on the ends so you can tuck them in later. Then use the waxed paper to roll the strudel over a few times to make a long log, tucking in the ends as you go, then carefully roll or ease strudel onto baking sheet so it ends up seam side down, if possible. Remove waxed paper. Brush strudel with melted butter and sprinkle top with bread-crumb-sugar mixture. Bake until light to medium golden brown, 20 to 30 minutes. Cover ends with foil if they brown too fast. Let rest about 10 minutes and slice on the diagonal. If not serving immediately, reheat strudel in a 325-degree oven for about 4 minutes.

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