From Delia Smith’s Christmas by Delia Smith
4 Bramley apples, weighing about 560gms in total
225gm mincemeat (Commercial)
Grated zest of 1 orange
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1 heaped tbsp soft brown sugar
½ tsp ground mixed spice
½ tsp ground cinnamon
50gms pecan nuts, chopped and lightly toasted under the grill, or 50gms walnuts (but do not toast them)
50gms flaked almonds, lightly toasted under the grill
25gms white breadcrumbs
4 sheets filo or strudel pastry (from a defrosted 450gm pack)
50gms unsalted butter
Pre-heat the oven to 190C.
You will need a large, heavy baking sheet 37.5 x 28cm, well greased.
1. Begin by peeling and coring the apples and slicing them very thinly into a large bowl, sprinkling in the sugar as you slice.
2. Add the mincemeat, orange and lemon zest, spices and toasted pecan nuts and mix thoroughly.
3. In a small bowl combine the toasted almonds and breadcrumbs together.
4. Melt the butter. Now you are ready for the pastry, so remove your first sheet from the pack and arrange it over the baking sheet; it will overlap but that doesn’t matter. Brush the entire sheet with melted butter, then sprinkle one third of the almond and breadcrumb mixture all over. Put the second sheet directly over the first and repeat exactly. Then the third sheet followed by the butter and the last of the almonds and breadcrumbs. Now put the last sheet of pastry on top of the rest, brush with the last of the butter, and place the apple and mincemeat filling all along the pastry lengthways in a band about 9cm wide, 7.5cm from the edge of the baking sheet.
5. Now imagine you are making a giant sausage roll and begin by bringing one edge of the pastry leaves lengthways over the filling and the other edge up and over that.
6. Turn the whole thing over so that the pastry join is underneath and place the strudel fairly centrally on the baking sheet. Now pinch the ends together and tuck them under, making a sausage about 35cm long.
7. Brush the whole surface with the remaining butter and bake in the center of the oven for 40-45 mins, or until it turns golden brown.
8. Cool the strudel for 15mins, then dust it thickly with icing sugar and serve cut in slices.
I couldn’t get Bramley apples here in KL so I used Granny Smiths – tasted fab as a substitute. The simple additions to commercial mincemeat suggested by Delia really made all the difference and I think the use of Filo pastry turns this into a really sophisticated Christmas dessert option.
For our Christmas Food & Wine Club we tasted a Botrytis Semillon which was just fantastic with this dessert. The wine displayed all the fruits spices of the festive season and rounded off the lesson and our lunch magnificently.
Botrytis, (Semillon), McLaren Vale, South Australia, 2009