Sunday, October 18, 2009

Leisurely Drive to Julian, CA and Quick Apple Strudel

Julian is a quaint town in the Cuyamaca mountains, about an hour east of San Diego.  John and I needed a temporary diversion from our Gingerbread Land of Oz, and decided to take a leisurely drive.  As a little side note, our first date was Bond's Discovery Run to Julian, with the San Diego BMW Z Car Club.  Yep, that's where it all began, almost three years ago ;-)

Julian is famous for apple pies.  But now that Julian apple pies are readily available via the internet and at almost every grocery store in San Diego, Julian should think about revitalizing the tourist flow to the town with a new culinary gig.

Looking back at our photographs we took that day, I'm thinking Turducken!  You've heard of it by now I'm sure, the dish consisting of a partially de-boned turkey stuffed with a de-boned duck, which itself is stuffed with a small de-boned chicken. 

We were surprised to see so many wild turkeys on the drive there...

Lake Cuyamaca, another nearby attraction, is home to many ducks

And a bunch of these cute little guys were running around outside one of the antique stores.  Tur-duck-en!  I'm just sayin'...

Or, Gooducken, substituting Goose for the turkey

We had lunch at one of the more popular restaurants in Julian, Bailey Wood Pit Barbeque.  I surely would have ordered a Turducken or Gooducken plate if it had been offered!

Unfortunately, I don't have a spare million and a half sitting around, the current selling price for the restaurant, or I would seriously consider buying Bailey's. I don't mean to be negative, but that place could use a visit from Gordon Ramsay for a major facelift and some creativity in the kitchen. 

Rather than ordering a slice of apple pie for dessert, we decided to bring home a half peck of fresh apples and make a few apple creations of our own.

I perused a few of my recent cooking magazines, but wanted to make something other than the ubiquitous  pie, tart, or crisp.  I pulled out my Cook's Illustrated The New Best Recipe and found this Quick Apple Strudel - perfect for a foggy Saturday morning.

Quick Apple Strudel
Slightly adapted from The Best New Recipe
Serves 6


1/2 cup golden raisins, warmed in 3 tablespoons dark rum, Calvados, or apple cider (we just happened to have a container of rum-soaked raisins in the fridge)
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup fresh white bread crumbs, lightly sauteed in 1 tablespoon butter
1 1/2 lbs. apples, peeled, cored and sliced into 1/4 inch slices
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/3 cup finely chopped walnuts (I used pecans), toasted
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
Juice of one small lemon
5 sheets phyllo, thawed
Whipped cream, or confectioners' sugar

Toss the apples with rum-raisins, bread crumbs, 1/4 cup of the granulated sugar, pecans, cinnamon, salt, and lemon juice.

Melt the remaining 5 tablespoons of butter.  Place a large sheet of parchment paper on the counter.  Gently transfer one sheet of phyllo to the parchment and liberally brush with melted butter.  Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of suar.  Repeat with the remaining sheets of phyllo.

Place the apple filling in a 3 inch strip about 2 1/2 inches from the bottom of the phyllo, leaving about 2 inches on either short side.

Fold the short ends of the phyllo over the apples

Fold the end closest to you over the apples and loosely roll the strudel away from you.  Don't roll too tight, as it can cause some tearing during baking.  Mine was a little overstuffed.

Place the finished strudel, seam-side down, on an ungreased baking sheet.  Brush with the remaining melted butter and sprinkle with the remaining 1 teaspoon sugar.  Cut four, 1-inch vents in the top to allow the steam to escape.

Bake in the lower, middle rack of the oven, at 475 degrees, for about 15 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool on the baking sheet on a wire rack, until warm, about 30 minutes.  Serve with whipped cream, or a dusting of confectioners' sugar.  Enjoy!


Anonymous said...

I love your blog. . . This was like taking a virtual trip to Julian. Your sensational strudel is a great combination of what the perfect autumn dessert should have – a golden and flaky crust that is sturdy enough to encase its crisp, fresh apples, delicious rum-soaked raisins, and tasty toasted pecans. Delicate enough to melt in your mouth, but still sweet enough to be satiating! Great comfort food simply done with finesse. Thanks for sharing. Your baking is an inspiration. Keep thinking Turducken for Thanksgiving. Sounds delightful!

Rose said...

I love Julian! The last time there I was there for a wedding. We were also thinking of heading Oak Glen to go apple picking! Your strudel looks amazing!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

This looks wonderful. I want to make it to have for desert tomorrow night-— does it keep well if I make it tonight?

Denise said...

Thank you. I think you could probably prepare it, cover and refrigerate, and then bake it shortly before you plan on serving it so it stays light and flaky (it needs to cool about 30 minutes).

James said...

I would like to say that you really made my day, it's wonderful when you just look around the web
and find something like this, reminds me of that ''How to make a dinner for a romantic...'' by Elsa Thomas, you're a wonderful writer let me tell you!!!

bunkycooks said...

I was wondering abut that recipe...the strudel is just beautiful! That truly is a perfect Fall dessert and the drive sounds like so much fun! Congrats on 3 years! :)

Kaela said...

Thanks for the play-by-play! I made this the other night your pictures really helped me know I was on the right track. It turned out perfectly.

Anonymous said...

I loved this apple strudel too! We tried to find a good one in Germany but for some reason we couldn't (tried three), so when my husband asked for apple strudel for his birthday, I was pretty sure I couldn't deliver! I went to and found this recipe, and it is fabulous! Just wanted to vouch for the recipe :) Love your blog!