Serves: 6 to 8
This recipe is from "The Berghoff Family Cookbook: From Our Table to Yours, Celebrating a Century of Entertaining," by Carlyn Berghoff and Jan Berghoff, with Nancy Ross Ryan (Andrews McMeel, $29.95). The Chicago eatery closed in February 2006, after 107 years of serving family-style meals in historic downtown. These recipes are from the restaurant.
According to the book, this was "the number one all-time most popular Berghoff dessert." Strudel is best served the same day it is baked.
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1¼ cups apple juice
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1½ pounds Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and sliced ¼-inch thick (5 cups)
½ cup dark seedless raisins
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
ª cup chopped pecans
4 sheets phyllo dough
ª cup (5ª tablespoons) melted butter
3 tablespoons fine dry bread crumbs
Confectioners sugar, for garnish
Vanilla ice cream, for garnish
In a small bowl, create a slurry by combining ¼ cup of the apple juice with 2 tablespoons of cornstarch; mix until smooth and set aside.
In a large saucepan over medium heat, cook the apples with the remaining apple juice, and the raisins, sugar and cinnamon until the apples are tender, eight to 10 minutes. Stir the cornstarch slurry (it may have settled) and add to the apple mixture, stirring constantly until smooth and lump free. Simmer one more minute, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and cool. Stir in the pecans, cover, and chill.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Lay out one phyllo sheet on a clean, flat, lightly floured surface. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of dry bread crumbs. Repeat this procedure with two more layers of phyllo, butter and crumbs. Top with the fourth sheet of phyllo. Spread the apple filling evenly onto phyllo surface, leaving a ½-inch clean edge on all sides. Roll into a log, folding edges at each end beneath the log, and brush with melted butter. Carefully place the strudel on the prepared baking sheet, seam side down. Bake the strudel for 15 to 18 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool for 15 minutes before cutting into 2-inch slices and sprinkling with confectioners' sugar just before serving. Serve plain or with ice cream.
Note: The restaurant substituted dried cake crumbs for bread crumbs, using what was saved after leveling the tops of baked cakes before frosting.