October 13, 2012

Augustus Gloop Apple Strudel

Augustus! Save some room for later!

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons apple juice
1/2 cup white wine
3 whole star anise
2 cinnamon sticks
1 vanilla bean pod, split lengthwise
1/3 cup (packed) dried bing cherries
1/3 cup (packed) pitted prunes or plums, halved
1 1/4 pounds Braeburn apples, peeled, cored, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/3 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch

2/3 cup hazelnuts, toasted
1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
3 tablespoons sugar

9 (17x12 inch) sheets fresh phyllo pastry or frozen, thawed
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

For the filling:
Combine 1 cup of juice, the wine, star anise, and cinnamon in a large saucepan. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean; add pod. Bring to simmer. Remove from heat. Cover; let stand 10 minutes. Add cherries and prunes/plums. Cover and simmer until fruit is plump, about 5 minutes. Discard star anise, cinnamon, and vanilla pod. 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 in 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 the strudel:
Preheat oven to 375 F. Lightly butter heavy large baking sheet. Blend first 3 ingredients in processor until nuts are finely ground or pound in a plastic bag with mallet. 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 3 or 4 tablespoons nut mixture. Continue with 6 more phyllo sheets, brushing each with butter and sprinkling with scant 3 or 4 tablespoons nut mixture. Top with remaining phyllo sheet. Brush with butter. Spoon filling atop phyllo stack in 12x3 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. Pre-slice the roll two-thirds of the way through before putting it in the oven to make it easier to cut after baking.
Bake strudel uncovered until golden, about 45 minutes. Let cool at least 30 minutes. 

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