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Makes 40 slices
For Apricot Filling
8 ozs dried apricots
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1/3 cup sugar
15 soda crackers, broken into crumbs
1 cup pistachio nuts, toasted
½ cup butter
4 ozs cream cheese
1 2/3 cups flour
¼ tsp salt
¼ cup cold milk
¼ cup butter, melted
1. Set the oven rack in the middle position. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Cover a 14-inch by 16-inch baking sheet with foil, shiny side up. Coat the foil with vegetable spray or use a silicone liner.
2. To make the filling: Place apricots in a saucepan, cover with water, and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cover and simmer about 15 minutes, or until apricots form a soft paste. Check on fruit periodically to see that it does not burn, especially toward end of cooking time. Transfer apricot paste to a bowl and add lemon juice and sugar. Allow to cool.
3. To make the dough: Place butter and cream cheese in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Cream until soft and fluffy. Add flour and salt and mix to combine. Add milk to form a soft dough. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator until firm enough to roll out.
4. Remove dough from refrigerator and divide into 4 sections. Roll out one section of dough on floured wax paper or parchment paper to a 1/16-inch thick rectangle. Brush surface with melted butter. Place one fourth of the apricot filling at top of dough leaving a 1-inch edge. Sprinkle one fourth of nuts and soda cracker crumbs on top of filling. Roll strudel lengthwise from top to bottom, like a jelly roll, using paper as an aid. Place strudel on baking sheet, seam side down. Repeat with remaining dough and filling.
5. Brush each strudel with melted butter. Bake 20 minutes at 400°F. Turn oven temperature down to 350°F and bake 10 to 12 minutes more. Brush once during baking with melted butter. Remove pan from oven and place on rack. Cool for 10 minutes. While still on pan, cut strudel diagonally into 1-inch slices. Continue to cool. Store between sheets of wax paper in a covered tin.
Sweet Tip: Serve this strudel dusted with confectioners’ sugar. It is best when eaten within two days.