Cinnamon Apple Strudel with a Flaky Phyllo Crust

Cinnamon Apple Strudel with a Flaky Phyllo Crust - Luminous Vegans

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.

Cinnamon Apple Strudel with a Flaky Phyllo Crust - Luminous Vegans

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.

Cinnamon Apple Strudel with a Flaky Phyllo Crust - Luminous Vegans

I’ve used phyllo dough to wrap mushrooms and eggplant and as a crust for vegan chicken pot pie. This time around, I decided to use it with something sweet and autumn-y.

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:

Cinnamon Apple Strudel with a Flaky Phyllo Crust - Luminous Vegans

  • 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.

Cinnamon Apple Strudel with a Flaky Phyllo Crust - Luminous Vegans

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.

Cinnamon Apple Strudel with a Flaky Phyllo Crust - Luminous Vegans

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.

Do you use phyllo dough? What are your favorite uses for it?

38 thoughts on “Cinnamon Apple Strudel with a Flaky Phyllo Crust

  1. Camille

    DELISH! I get confused between phyllo dough and puff pastry crust. I think I used the latter to make apple turnovers a few times, but that was before I went vegan. Baking with phyllo is on my ‘someday’ list.

    Reply
  2. chow vegan

    Yes! Phyllo dough is great and surprisingly easy for the baking challenged like me. I’ve only made sweet things like strudel, I haven’t tried anything savory yet. :-)

    Reply
    1. luminousvegans Post author

      I’m glad to hear that I’m not alone in being baking challenged. It took awhile for it to warm up to me, but I’m very happy with phyllo dough and only slightly obsessed with it ;-)

      Reply
  3. Kristy

    It was your post on the phyllo pot poke that made me go out and bye a pack. I too am a perfectionist and have a hard time when things don’t work out exactly as I had foreseen but I am loving phyllo dough this time around (I used to hate it). It is magical!

    Reply
      1. luminousvegans Post author

        LOL! Don’t worry about the typos Kristy. It happens to me all the time. I’m sure if I compiled all my internets comments in one place I would have a good laugh at all the typos.

        I’m so glad that you’re enjoying phyllo dough this time around. Food is funny like that. There have been so many food items or techniques that I never thought I would revisit again based on an initially bad experience and then I end up loving it!

        Reply
  4. Andrea

    Your pastry looks perfect to me. I have used phyllo in the past, but as a perfectionist so it was exhausting. Now that I don’t eat gluten, I suppose my phyllo days are over. :( But so are my stomach pains so I can’t complain. I’ll enjoy phyllo vicariously though beautiful images like yours.

    Reply
    1. luminousvegans Post author

      Thank you Andrea! Man, I can’t believe that someone hasn’t created a gluten free phyllo dough yet. I bet there will be one someday soon. I have been seeing so many wonderful gluten-free “bready” type products popping up in stores.

      Reply
  5. Katie

    Oh golly, this looks delicious. I love phyllo dough. I like making a potato samosa filling and doing what I like to call a “samosakopita”. This looks simply heavenly. Do you think it would work okay with coconut oil instead of the vegan butter?

    Reply
    1. luminousvegans Post author

      I LOVE it! Samosakopita sounds brilliant! I am not sure about the coconut oil. I have a jar of refined coconut oil and it says that it is a great substitute for butter. So I’m thinkin’ yes it would work. But I don’t have experience with it. If you do try it, I’d love to know how it works. I have been curious about other ways to use coconut oil.

      PS If you’re looking for alternatives to the normal vegan butter in stores, keep an eye out on the blog, because I will be sharing an amazing vegan butter recipe soon from Miyoko that uses coconut oil. :-)

      Reply
  6. Kylie - FotV

    Phyllo dough is one of those items that kind of scare me (to attempt to make, not to eat). I like the idea of letting go and just allowing the food to do what it will, sounds way more zen than I am in the kitchen!! This looks so delicious, I may have to set aside my fears and try it!

    Reply
    1. luminousvegans Post author

      Oh, I’ve never made phyllo dough from scratch. These are premade from the freezer section at our farmer’s market. I’d be scared to make phyllo dough from scratch because I’m not sure I can even wrap my head around how I would get it so thin.

      Working with it however is a breeze once you adopt the zen approach. I hope to one day be able to brave my fears and make dough-dough. Like the rise-y yeast-y kind.

      Reply
    1. luminousvegans Post author

      I never though I could learn such life lessons from working with phyllo dough :-) But I guess that is what makes being in the kitchen somewhat therapeutic for me and many others.

      Reply
  7. acookinthemaking

    I love eating phyllo dough but I have actually never tried working with it. I’m too scared! I feel like I would also get frustrated by the little tears and cracks…

    Reply
    1. luminousvegans Post author

      Yes, the beginnings with phyllo dough were definitely a test of my patience. But it has won a place in my kitchen since it has taught me essential life lessons in letting go of perfectionism. You just have to trust that those little tears and cracks are going to end up as a beautiful flaky crust.

      Reply
  8. coconutandberries

    Strudel! Whenever I see it I have the strange urge to shout “strudel” in a silly German accent! I’m another phyllo-phobe here. I’m not sure I could cope with the cracking and messiness, though your perfect dessert (and amazing-looking mushroom strudel) might convince me to put aside my fears.

    Reply
    1. luminousvegans Post author

      LOL! I’d love to hear your German accent. It took me awhile to learn to cope with the cracking and messiness, but just think. Cracks and tears pre-baking = flaky, golden crust post baking.

      Reply
  9. flickingthevs

    I love a good strudel. I remember eating tonnes of them when I was a kid, although they were always the shop bought apples ones. Still good though. I don’t think I’ve ever been brave enough to make one at home though after a few wobbly filo incidents. Maybe I need to get back on that horse – nothing ventured, no strudel gained!

    Reply
    1. luminousvegans Post author

      I can relate to being intimidated by certain foods/techniques after an initially difficult experience with it. There are so many foods that I thought I would never revisit again and a lot of them I have become slightly obsessed with now. Like phyllo dough and eggplant for example :-)

      Reply
  10. Hannah

    Gorgeous! I’m a phyllo dough hater – I’ll admit it. I love it when someone else is cooking, but I can never get it to be delicious. Perhaps I just need to follow your lead and let go.

    Also, I fully respect you leaving the skin on your apples! I never do, but always want to!

    Reply
    1. luminousvegans Post author

      Thank you! Hey, no shame in hating to deal with certain foods. I don’t like baking cake-y things that often but I will certainly eat them if someone makes it for me! I also have a fear of working with rising dough which I’m sure I’ve mentioned before.

      Reply
  11. Cadry's Kitchen (@Cadryskitchen)

    I’m glad to see you leave the skins on your apples too! I am anti-peeling. I really prefer peels on apples and potatoes, and of course, you and I both prefer the delicata squash because it doesn’t have to be peeled either! Peels add texture and nutrients, and it’s less work to boot. Every once in a while I’ll peel carrots if I’m doing a crudite platter for guests, but that’s only for them. For me, I would never peel carrots.

    I totally agree that the thing that’s so great about phyllo dough is how forgiving it is and how impressive it always looks after baking. It’s one of those things that makes a dish look fancy, even if it’s not nearly as hard as one would assume. Your apple strudel looks like the essence of fall!

    Reply
    1. luminousvegans Post author

      No-peel for the win! Every time I eat a new-to-me veggie with skin (well, I guess they all have skin), I always google whether or not it’s okay to leave the skin on because that is always my number one option.

      Reply
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  14. Sara

    I just found your blog! I too used to be totally averse to phyllo, but after making this and having it come out beautifully and delicious-ly, I am now daydreaming about all the things I can make into a strudel! Also very glad to have found your site as I am moving cross-country in June, and love your tips. Thanks!

    Reply
    1. luminousvegans Post author

      Yay! I am so glad that you found my blog and were able to try out the recipe. Yes, I totally agree about phyllo. It is the stuff of magic. It makes everything magically elegant and delicious.

      If you ever have moving specific questions, feel free to drop me an email. I’d love to help. I’m no expert but I can share more specifics on what we did, etc.

      Reply

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