A STRUDEL OF PURPLE FRUIT

As delicious as it is dramatic, this superb strudel filled with berries, cherries and plums is a winner on the healthy eating front too. With no added sugar, sweetness comes from the fruit.

Toasted nuts and brown breadcrumbs absorb any liquid from the fruit to help keep the delicate pastry crisp. The filling must be cold or it will make the pastry soggy, so prepare it at least an hour and up to 2 days ahead.

Vegan
Serves: 6-8
Keeps: filling 3 days in the fridge
Freeze: unbaked strudel 1 month
Per serving: 260 cals, 50 g carbs

Defrost frozen filo pastry overnight in the fridge. Drain the defrosted fruit in a colander set over a bowl to catch the juice.

For the filling
350 g (12 oz) frozen forest fruits or cherries, or some of each
1 tsp or potato flour or cornflour
2 purple plums
100 g pack dried mixed berries and cherries, or a similar mix of unsweetened
dried fruit
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp almond or vanilla extract
grated zest of 1 small orange
3 drops almond or vanilla extract

To assemble the strudel
6 sheets from a pack of filo pastry
olive oil
50 g (2 oz) ground almonds or hazelnuts
50 g (2 oz) brown breadcrumbs

Mix the cornflour and a tablespoon of the juice into a smooth cream (save the rest of the juice for smoothies or granita).

Cut the pitted plums into cherry-sized pieces. Heat the well-drained fruit with the rest of the filling ingredients except the cornflour mixture in a small saucepan until steaming. Whisk in the cornflour and bring to a bubble, whisking until the mixture thickens then leave to cool.

To fill and bake the strudel

Spread the nuts and breadcrumbs on a baking tray and place in a cold oven. Set the oven to 200°C/Gas 6 and toast the mixture while the oven heats up until golden, 5-10 minutes.

Cut a sheet of baking paper 45 cm (18”) wide and lay it on your work surface, or use a silicone baking mat.

Count out 6 sheets of pastry then return the rest to the packet and chill or re-freeze according to packet directions. Cover the 6 sheets of filo with a cloth to prevent them drying out.

Lay one sheet of filo on the baking paper or mat with the long side nearest you then quickly re-cover the rest with the cloth.

Spritz or lightly brush the pastry all over with oil, paying particular attention to the edges which are most prone to drying out, then sprinkle lightly with 2 tbsp of the nut-crumb mixture.

Lay a second sheet of pastry on top, smoothing it out with your hands then spritz or brush and sprinkle with crumbs as before. Repeat this process until you have 6 layers.

Starting 7.5 cm (3”) from the edge nearest to you, spread the coldfilling in a 5 cm (2”) wide band over the pastry, leaving 2.5 cm (1”) clear at each end. Turn in the ends, then with the help of the paper or mat, roll up the strudel like a Swiss roll.

Make sure the ends are well tucked in and the strudel is seam-side down so the filling doesn’t leak out, then carefully transfer both strudel and paper or mat to the baking tray.

Spritz or lightly brush the top and sides of the filo with a final coating of oil. With a very sharp knife, make 6-8 diagonal cuts just through the top 3 layers of pastry to make the strudel easier to slice once baked.

Bake at 200°C/Gas 6 for 25-30 minutes until crisp and golden brown. Serve warm.

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