It wasn’t long ago that I used to curse at myself any time I used phyllo dough. I would swear off working with it after each and every time. For every single break or tear (and there were many, still are), I would plead to the phyllo gods— why?! why is this so difficult??
But then suddenly, something shifted. I let go of my normal perfectionism and let the phyllo dough do what it was meant to do. I let it crack. I let it break. And when I placed them on top of one another, I let them have folds and wrinkles. When my lightly buttered pastry brush swept over the folds and caused another tear in the sheet, I didn’t freak. Corners not lining up? I’ve got better things to worry about.
That’s because phyllo dough, I’ve decided, is magical. It seems that no matter how many rips, tears or lumpy folds I’ve let slip through, it comes out of the oven with a perfectly golden crust. A crust so delightfully crisp that it breaks into tiny buttery flakes under the slightest pressure from my fork. Phyllo dough has taught me that sometimes letting go yields the best results.
This warm, cinnamon apple strudel comes from Holly at Beyond Kimchee. It’s a simple recipe that has three main components. The sweet cinnamon apple filling, a layer of sugary chopped nuts and bread crumbs and the outer crust. My adaptations were very slight. I’m including them below rather than retyping the original recipe:
- I left the skins on my 2 gala apples. Because skin.
- For each strudel roll, I used 5 sheets of phyllo dough stacked on each other instead of puff pastry sheets for a lighter, flakier crust. I brushed each phyllo layer lightly with melted vegan butter before placing one on top of another.
- The outside of each strudel was brushed with melted vegan butter instead of egg wash.
- Before putting the strudels in the oven, I sprinkled a mix of sugar, breadcrumbs and cinnamon on top.
The individual slices are like portable apple pies with a lighter, flakier crust. It’s probably best to let this cool a bit before digging in. But it’s hard not to want to dive into that delicate crust immediately. Especially when the aroma of sweet cinnamon apples fills the kitchen and I can see the baked apple juices bubbling out of the seams and running down the sides.
It’s another phyllo dough win for me. And I’m all for any dish that I can eat for breakfast and dessert. I’m beginning to think everything would taste good wrapped in phyllo dough. This surely won’t be the last time I use it.