Monday, January 4, 2016

Walnut Strudel | King's Quest: A Knight to Remember

          July 2015 saw the return of the nostalgic video game King's Quest, in a new, six installment storyline (5 chapters & an epilogue) from Sierra Games and The Odd Gentlemen. Remembering the original games on the clunky classroom computers of my youth, I pre-ordered the complete story and stayed up until the sun rose playing the first chapter. Chapter two was released on December 15th and I can't wait to play it!

          In chapter one, "A Knight to Remember", you meet the baker of Daventry named Wente who needs some bitterroot to complete his walnut strudel free samples. After you put a work order on a certain boulder, the blacksmith Maya will come along and crush it revealing the needed bitterroot. Grab it, return to the friendly Wente, and get your free sample!

"Ah, just what I needed to finish my Walnut Strudel. Here is your free sample."


         At a later point, on your way to the Duel of Wits, the path is blocked by the squirrel Princess Madeline – knight Acorn's (no longer secret) little friend – and she and her squirrel minions won't budge without the proper gift! Cycle through your stash and select that big ole' walnut strudel.

"I hope you find this to your licking, Princess Madeline of Avalon."

Note: I decided to use filo/fillo/phyllo dough for this recipe to achieve a very flaky crust, but you could also use thinly rolled out puff pastry or pie dough if you wanted, just make sure you keep an eye on the strudel when they're in the oven and pull them out when they're golden.


Wente's Walnut Strudel

Ingredients:
Filling
4 Cups Ground Walnuts
2 Tbsp. Ground Cinnamon
3 Egg Whites
1 Cup Granulated Sugar
Crust
1 Package Filo Dough Sheets, thawed
1 Stick Butter, melted
Drizzle
1/2 Cup Powdered Sugar
2 Tbsp + Heavy Whipping Cream

Important Items:
Parchment Paper
Silicon Kitchen Brush
Sandwich Baggie

Directions:
1. Stir the cinnamon into the ground walnuts and set aside. Beat the egg whites in a mixing bowl with the whisk attachment on high speed until it gets fluffy & has soft peaks. Add the sugar a little at a time & continue to whisk until it's glossy with stiff peaks. Fold the nut/cinnamon mixture gently into the egg whites. Preheat your oven to 325ºF. Line a large baking tray with parchment paper.
2. To make 2 large strudel: Unroll the filo sheets & cover with a lightly dampened cloth when not in use. Lay one sheet of filo vertically on a clean, flat surface & brush it with butter. Lay another sheet on top & brush that with butter too. Layer 4 sheets total. Next, center & layer 4 sheets horizontally over the vertical ones. Scoop a dollop of the nut mixture onto the middle of the sheets & smooth it out to about 4" x 5" & about 1/2" thick. Fold the right & left sides of filo into the center & brush the tops with butter. Fold the top filo flap down, just like you're wrapping a present (tucking in the sides) & fold up the bottom flap. Your strudel should look like a pillow. Carefully lift the strudel & transfer it to the tray. Make another big strudel pillow & place it next to the first. Bake for about 40-45 minutes, or until golden. Remove from the oven & let cool until just warm.
3. To make several small strudel: Butter & layer 2 horizontal sheets & then cut them in half across the middle so you have 2 long horizontal strips. Spoon a rectangle of nut mixture onto the left side of each strip, leaving 1" of space on the left side & 1/2" of space on the top & bottom edge. Fold the 1" of filo over the nut mixture & then fold the nut mixture over & over to the right, brushing on a little butter with each fold, until you've made the strips into 2 pouches. Press the top & bottom edges down to close. Transfer the pouches to the baking tray. Repeat this process until you use up the nut mixture and/or the filo. Bake for about 30 minutes or until golden, & then remove to cool slightly. Trim off any nut mixture that may have escaped (go ahead & eat it, it's yummy!).
4. Pour the powdered sugar into a bowl &, starting with 1 Tbsp. at a time, whisk in enough heavy whipping cream to make an icing that is smooth & thick but able to be piped (so, a consistency that would spread well, but you're not going to be spreading it). Place the sandwich baggie into a cup & fold the bag's opening down over the cup's edge. Spoon the icing into the baggie & then press the air out & close the bag. Snip a small opening into one corner of the baggie & pipe a squiggly line onto each strudel. Serve with raison juice. Just kidding! Don't do that. You'll either fall asleep or be susceptible to mind control. Eat the strudel yourself or share with the closest squirrel. :)

* For another recipe using filo, try my Smackberry Pie from Atlantis Rising*

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