Cranberry Leek Strudel
I was reading Clotilde’s recipe for Leek and Apricot Strudel with Pinenuts over at Chocolate & Zucchini, and started thinking about what it would take to transform it into Danielle food. I’d have to take out the pinenuts, of course. I don’t like those. And the breadcrumbs, which I prefer to avoid in sweets, though I do recognize their usefulness in certain dishes. I love apricots, and briefly considered making it with caramelized fresh apricots instead. Wait, caramelization! I could just caramelize the leeks with extra sugar!
I always think of leeks as being halfway between scallions and artichokes. They taste somewhat like scallions, and they sure do look like oversized scallions, but they have a richness to them that no scallion ever had.
But it still needed some more color, something tart to pull it together. This is where the cranberries come in. The leeks don’t look like much in the end, but with the cranberries thrown in, slicing the strudel once it comes out of the oven feels like mining for rubies.
This is the process by which recipes are transformed into Danielle food. Now you know.
Cranberry Leek Strudel
1/4 C sugar
1/4 C dark brown sugar
2 tbsp butter (plus more for the phyllo)
1 tbsp olive oil (plus more for the phyllo)
3/4 C ricotta
3/8 C dried cranberries (briefly soaked in boiling water and then drained and patted dry before using)
Salt and pepper to taste
6 sheets phyllo dough
Clean the leeks well, as they tend to be filthy with mud, and slice them into thin rounds. (With leeks, use only the white and pale green sections.)
Melt the 2 tbsp butter with 1 tbsp olive oil in a heavy saucepan, then throw in the leeks and both sugars and saute until soft and caramelized. Transfer to a large bowl and cool to room temperature, then stir in the ricotta, cranberries, salt, and pepper.
Preheat the oven to 400°.
Lay out a sheet of phyllo dough, and brush it lightly with melted butter or olive oil. Layer another sheet of phyllo atop it. Brush that one down. Repeat until you have 6 sheet of phyllo piled up on your counter. Spread the leek/ricotta/cranberry mix over the phyllo, leaving a border of about 1 to 1 1/2 inches clear at the edges. Fold the short sides over the filling, then roll up the phyllo the long way like a jelly roll, making sure the seam ends up on the bottom.
Transfer the strudel to a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, and brush a bit more butter on top of it. Bake it for about 30 minutes or until golden and done.
Cut into slices and serve immediately.