Maple pecan orange strudel
Tuesday November 30th 2010, 12:45 pm
Filed under: Family,Food

A conversation with Sandra led to my going and looking…

Years ago I had two signature dishes: the chocolate torte, in its early stages (can you believe Hershey’s called for water in the cake when you could add manufacturing cream?), and maple pecan orange strudel, which I adapted from a recipe I scribbled down and took home after seeing it in a Redbook magazine circa 1990 while waiting for one of my kids to be seen by the pediatrician. (I write notes in my cookbooks to journal our food a little.) Thank heavens I forgot my knitting that day.

This is seriously good stuff. It’s also a serious amount of time and effort and calories and some of the ingredients are hard to find.  Those Danish butter cookies in the tins you see everywhere this time of year? This needs them to be without the coconut added in that so many have now for the preservative effect. Walker shortbread might work better; I haven’t checked their ingredients list lately, but it was coconut-free last time I did. I’ve tried just making my own and they weren’t quite as crunchy.

And the oranges? You really do want organic. I’ve tried, and the regular ones have a bitter aftertaste in the gratings that the organic ones just don’t. I have neighbors with trees (thank you Al J.), which helps a lot. Okay, here goes:


Maple Pecan Orange Strudel by Alison Hyde


1 1/2 c finely ground pecans (a good source is here.)

1 c of finely crushed butter shortbread cookies, about 15 of the little Danish ones

1/4 c sugar

1/4 c maple syrup (don’t even THINK about substituting the fake stuff, you want knock-their-socks-off exquisiteness, that’s the whole point)

1 tbl finely grated orange peel, fresh and organic

1 tsp cinnamon

Mix these together and then take about a half pound of phyllo dough, 8-10 leaves. Watch the ingredients when you buy it: some are all butter, but some in the freezer case at the grocer’s are not. Lay them out with a barely damp but not wet towel over them. Take out one at a time, re-covering the others quickly, and lay out on a cookie sheet with slightly raised sides, ie a jellyroll pan, and brush with melted butter. Repeat till all are layered together; fill with mixture, leaving 2″ at the sides. Roll up like cinnamon roll dough, bake at 350 for 30 min.

While it’s baking, have 1 c sugar and 1 c water in a 1 qt pan, bring to boil and till the sugar is dissolved. Pour half of this over the strudel when you take it out of the oven; let it cool. Meantime, let the rest of the syrup boil another 6-8 minutes till it’s a deep amber. Shake the pot gently if needed to keep one side from burning before the other side turns color, but don’t stir.  Whip in (I have 1/4 c crossed out and 1/2 cup written in instead) of heavy cream with a wire whisk, pouring it in slowly so it doesn’t explode at you (watch your hands–the steam burst is hot!) to make a caramel sauce to serve it with. This may take vigorous work to get the suddenly solid sugar to melt into the cream. If you end up with a few solid leftover lumps, ignore them. Pour the sauce into a mini-pitcher without scraping the sides of the pan, which might dislodge crunchy sugar crystals you don’t want.

Run a finger around the pot later when no one’s looking to make sure it tastes just so. The cream will have cooled it down.


One note on maple syrup: traditionally, where it was produced, it was the poor man’s sugar and the grading was determined by how close it came to being substitutable. So if you can find it, grade B has a more pronounced maple flavor than the usual Grade A. I explained that once to a Trader Joe’s manager, and a few months later they started carrying Grade B! Cool.

Looking at Sunnyland Farms’ site to post that link, I see they’re now selling pecan oil. Hey. Michelle could eat that. Richard is hoping for a homemade cinnamon pecan kringle… HEY!

13 Comments so far
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Thank you for the recipe!

If/when you do make that chocolate torte, please enjoy a finger lick of it for us! 🙂

Comment by Suzanne in Montreal 11.30.10 @ 2:12 pm

My favorite shortbread recipe is from those old time-life books of food by the region. Butter, flour and sugar. And that’s it :-}

Comment by Diana Troldahl 11.30.10 @ 3:42 pm

Hah! – Hershey’s suggestion of water rather than manufacturing cream is exactly how I see Hershey’s standard chocolate – as something that is OK, certainly good enough for the uninspired palate, but nothing special. Adding the manufacturing cream – THAT is inspired!

Comment by twinsetellen 11.30.10 @ 6:12 pm

I gained another pound, just reading this–and this is supposed to be my second day of weight loss. Thanks!

Comment by Sherry in Idaho 11.30.10 @ 6:23 pm

You’re so kind to share your best recipes! Sounds delicious, too 🙂 I agree, Sunnyland Farms is the best for pecans and other goodies.

Comment by Madeline 11.30.10 @ 8:49 pm

Sounds delicious! …with Vermont maple syrup, of course.

Comment by Joansie 11.30.10 @ 9:02 pm

I’m drooling. I love orange rolls for breakfast, but I also love maple and pecans. I think I know what I’m making for breakfast on Christmas!

Comment by Channon 12.01.10 @ 7:43 am

oh yummy!!! this sounds really good — I’ve never worked with phyllo, so this should be a whole new experience

(I can get the grade B maple at my Sunflower market in the bulk stuff — and yes, the flavor is better)

meantime I’ll be doing a family traditional recipe sometime in the next week — gum drop bread

Comment by Bev 12.01.10 @ 9:17 am

Years ago when I lived alone in San Francisco and cooking for myself, someone gave me a shortbread cookie recipe. If I remember correctly, the only ingredients were flour, sugar and butter. I decided to try it. The cookies were delicious, but I had made the mistake of eating a pint of ice cream at the same time. My kitchen walls looked psychadelic!

Comment by Don Meyer 12.01.10 @ 9:35 am

Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU! I can’t wait to try this! I’m so glad we had that conversation yesterday.

Comment by Sandra 12.01.10 @ 9:36 am

Hmmm! I’m surprised you haven’t considered a maple cream sauce for this… *goes off to email you recipe*

Comment by RobinH 12.01.10 @ 12:45 pm

Argh! Another recipe to try! I haven’t had time to wade through the stack I already have to try! I need more hours in the day. If I knit, I can’t blog or read blogs, if I read blogs, I’m not spinning, if I were to spin, I wouldn’t be Ravelling……it goes on and on…

Comment by Carol 12.01.10 @ 2:14 pm

I am not nearly a committed enough baker to try these, but I live with someone who is. And I know he likes a challenge . . .

Comment by Lanafactrix 12.02.10 @ 12:46 pm

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