The time has come for me to confess to a relationship I've enjoyed since I was a little girl. A spicy, delicious and sweet love affair that I have often shamelessly fantasised about.
My guilty pleasure is for strudel, and you may be surprised to learn, this strudel is filled with pumpkin. I was introduced to pumpkin strudel by a lady who, for the purposes of this snippet, shall be known as 'Mother Goose'. On reflection and without wishing to sound unkind, that title is fitting, for, other than her pumpkin strudel, and the fact that she was an acquaintance of my parents, Mother Goose turned out to be a rather odd character.
Pumpkin strudel was not part of my mother's repertoire. Try as I might, I can't remember a time in my childhood that my mother wasn't baking. Crisp, white tablecloths were draped over the kitchen table and bench, mum was wearing her apron and polka dot bandana, a dusting of flour on her cheek, rolling out paper thin strudel dough with a long wooden rolling pin. If she wasn't making strudel, she'd be working with yeast baking brioche or cocoa spirals or numerous other good things. Mum filled her perfect strudel dough with cottage cheese, apples or cherries, but to my absolute disappointment she wasn't particularly fond of my beloved pumpkin strudel.
Come to think of it, and to be perfectly frank, I don't think she truly liked Mother Goose either. Therefore, I would have to wait, yearning for pumpkin strudel until we went visiting and I then could eat it to my heart's content (Mother Goose was, if nothing else, generous with her strudel). Eventually, I was either bold enough (or old enough) to ask Mother Goose for her recipe. Despite her many foibles, she was good enough to share it with me. I have treasured it since and over the years have adapted it to suit my own style of cooking.
You may find the flavour of pumpkin strudel an acquired taste, or you may find yourself falling in love, as I did. ❤❤❤
3 cups raw pumpkin, grated
1/3-1/2 cup breadcrumbs or rice crumbs
1 generous teaspoon unsalted butter
1/3 cup vanilla infused caster sugar
1/2-1 teaspoon cinnamon
6 sheets Filo pastry
light oil for brushing or spraying
1 teaspoon vanilla infused caster sugar, extra
icing sugar, to serve
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Note: for the next step, there are two options. If you're working with breadcrumbs, melt the butter in a small saucepan, add the breadcrumbs and cook till golden brown. If you're using rice crumbs instead, there is no need to brown them in butter.
Combine the grated pumpkin, buttered bread crumbs (or plain rice crumbs), sugar and cinnamon in a bowl. Set the mixture aside.
Lay the filo onto a tablecloth or clean tea towels and overlap the first and second layers slightly. Brush or spray the sheets of pastry with a little oil, then sprinkle a fine layer of the caster sugar over the pastry. Layer the sheets on top of each other.
Spoon the pumpkin, sugar and crumb mixture along one narrow end of the pastry, leaving enough room around the edges for tucking in. Fold over the edges and working quickly but carefully, roll up the enclosed filling (not too tightly or it will split during cooking). Tuck the ends under the strudel. Place onto a prepared baking sheet and brush or spray the strudel with any leftover oil. Sprinkle the extra caster sugar over the top.
Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes or until the strudel is plump and golden. Allow it to cool before serving, and serve sliced, dusted with icing sugar.
Note: this recipe was first published on Good Things in September 2011. Now that I have more than a handful of readers, I thought I'd resurrect it from the archives and share it again. I know you won't mind... as it's a keeper. Enjoy xox
Cooking and writing have been a lifelong passion.
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NB: I use Australian standard measuring cups and spoons in my recipes.