Peach Baklava Strudel

Combines the flakiness and nutty flavors of baklava with the fruit of a strudel. If your apricots or peaches are very ripe, don’t let them sit in the honey syrup too long before you assemble the strudel–they’ll turn to jam. But if they’re a little firm or very tart, let them macerate a bit longer to soften and absorb the sweetness. It’s November and apricots/peaches are not in season so I chose canned peaches.
·         1/2 cup sugar, divided
·         1/2 cup honey
·         12 ounces ripe apricots, quartered.
  (You can also use peaches or mango) If you use canned, drain all juices/syrups)
·         1/3 cup raw almonds
·         1/3 cup pistachios
·         1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom – Optional. This gives it a unique flavor but tasty!
·         10 sheets (12 by 17 in.) fillo dough – found in freezer section
·         1/2 cup, 1 stick melted butter
1. Preheat oven to 375°. Bring honey and 1/4 cup sugar to a simmer in a saucepan, stirring to blend. Remove from heat and add apricots; set aside.
2. Whirl nuts, cardamom, and remaining 1/4 cup sugar in a food processor until mostly ground. Set aside 2 tbsp.
3. Lay a piece of parchment paper on a work surface. Working with 1 filo sheet at a time, set on paper, brush with some butter, and sprinkle with a scant 2 tbsp. nut mixture; repeat, stacking filo and pressing down to seal.
4. Spoon apricots with a bit of honey mixture on filo stack along a long side.
5. Roll up. I used a sushi roller to help make it tight/compact. Start with the fruit side and roll over twice. Do this quick so it doesn’t break.
6. Arrange roll on a diagonal on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment. Brush with more honey mixture; sprinkle with reserved 2 tbsp. nut mixture.
7. Bake until browned and juices are bubbling out the ends, 20-25 minutes. Let cool completely before slicing about 1 hour of cooling time. You can take the baklava/parchment paper off of the pan so it cools quicker.
8. Use a serrated knife to cut into squares.
*** Time consuming but WELL WORTH IT!
Inspired by: Amy Machnak, from the magazine – Sunset
JUNE 2012