Makes four 15-inch rolls
Originally a recipe for fluden, an Eastern European flat cake consisting of two or three layers of flaky pastry filled with fruit or jam, Phyllis Katz instead rolls up this phyllo dough like strudel. Always start with a 1-pound box of phyllo dough, she advises, because some of the sheets might tear or stick to each other.
1 cup currants
3 tablespoons cognac
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
4 large sweet-tart cooking apples (Jonagold, Cortland, Ida Red, Baldwin, Rome Beauty ), peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1 cup chopped walnuts
2/3 cup apricot preserves
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 pound phyllo dough, thawed according to the package directions (the sheets should be about 18 x 14 inches)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar mixed with 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (for sprinkling)
1. In a small bowl combine the currants and cognac; set aside for 1 hour.
2. Set the oven at 350 degrees. Brush 2 large baking sheets with some of the melted butter.
3. In a large bowl, combine the apples, coconut, walnuts, preserves, granulated and brown sugars, lemon, and cinnamon.
4. Set the stack of phyllo on the counter and cover it with a lightly damp dish towel.
5. Place 1 sheet of phyllo horizontally in front of you. Brush it with butter. Repeat with 3 more sheets (total of 4 sheets brushed with butter). Spoon 1/4 of the apple mixture in a row about 1-inch up from the bottom of the phyllo stack, leaving a 1-inch border on both of the short sides. Fold in the two short sides. Roll up the dough from the bottom, enclosing the filling and rolling all the way to the top.
6. Carefully transfer the strudel, seams down, to a baking sheet. Make 3 more strudels (using a total of 16 phyllo sheets). Brush the tops of the strudels with melted butter and sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar.
7. Bake the strudel for 25 to 30 minutes or until nicely browned, rotating the baking sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through baking. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Note: Before baking, strudels can be refrigerated for up to 1 day or wrapped securely in foil and frozen for up to 2 months; if freezing, do not sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar until just before baking. Adapted from Phyllis Katz