Rich and Filling Apple Strudel Baklava for Fall
Photo: Katherine Martinko
My Greek friend Marina makes phenomenal baklava. She also sometimes watches my son and insists on me staying for a snack when I came to pick him up. Inevitably I inhale several pieces of her heavenly, crispy baklava that is still warm from the oven and dripping in maple syrup – the Canadian touch, she jokes. That's what gave me the idea to create a new recipe that's a fusion of two wonderful desserts. It's called Apple Strudel Baklava and is inspired by Marina’s Greek influence and my Croatian husband’s obsession with strudel (usually made with sour cherries). Phyllo pastry can be intimidating, but as long as you’re careful to keep it covered so it doesn’t dry out, it’s a magical ingredient that never fails to impress and taste amazing, especially when loaded up with butter and sugar.
Apple Strudel Baklava
Ingredients: 10 sheets phyllo pastry 1/3 cup butter, melted 1 apple, peeled, cored, and diced 1 cup rolled oats 1/2 cup roughly chopped almonds 1/3 cup brown sugar 1 tsp cinnamon dash each allspice and cloves 3/4-1 cup cold maple syrup
Preheat oven to 375 F. Mix together diced apple, oats, almonds, brown sugar, cinnamon, allspice, and cloves. Set aside.
Taking one sheet of phyllo at a time and keeping others covered with a towel, spread on work surface and brush with melted butter. Repeat with remaining sheets.
Spread filling in a long mound that runs parallel to a long side, about 3 inches from the edge. Spread it out so it’s about 3 inches wide. Fold over the phyllo on the closest edge so it’s covered, then roll up. You’ll have a long log with open ends. Tuck them in if you like, but I don’t think it matters much. Place in a glass rectangular baking dish. Brush top with butter and bake for 25-30 minutes, or till deeply golden on top.
Remove from oven and carefully pour over the cold maple syrup. You’ll have to keep spooning to help it soak up. Marina says it’s important to be generous with the syrup because that’s what will give it the oozy, sticky taste that baklava is famous for. It’s even better if you let it sit in the syrup for awhile. (The trick is to use either hot pastry with cold syrup, or cold pastry with hot syrup. Either way, the difference in temperature helps the syrup to soak in.)
Enjoy! It’s best by far when fresh, since the phyllo will be soft by the next day, but still delicious.
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