There’s something inherently Christmassy in the smell of cinnamon and nutmeg, which is why a pumpkin strudel is always an honoured guest at our Christmas dinner. But, given that there’s a whole selection of succulent, inviting pumpkins on the farmers’ market right now, I believe it would be too ascetic to hold back the strudel-lust for yet another month.
Today I finally gave in to temptation and prepared a mouth-watering, finger-licking, full-flavoured pumpkin strudel. I made a few changes to my mom’s original recipe, namely including my latest craze, the wonderous, the delicious carob flour, which I added both for its amazing taste and as an ingenious substitute for sugar, given its low glycaemic index.
Apart from carob flour and grated pumpkin, I like to mash in some ground almonds, ginger and biscuits, to absorb the juice. (I combine almonds, ginger and biscuits in a blender and process them until finely ground.) And raisins, I love strudels with raisins. Finally, vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon. You mix it all together, add some olive oil and the filling is ready!
There are basically two ways to make the strudel, first being to roll each filled filo sheet and stack the rolled sheets together in an oiled baking pan, and second to spread the filo sheet over the pan and then alternate filling and filo sheets until you run out of either one. I like them both, but the latter is definitely quicker. Take your pick, you can’t go wrong with this one. Just remember, whatever you choose, always sprinkle a bit of olive oil over each sheet. And, when you’re done, before sending it to the oven, scatter some crushed almonds, sugar and spices on top. Then bake it for half an hour to 40 minutes, at 180°C.
Here’s the list of ingredients and, same as me, feel free to change it to your heart’s liking:
- a pack (half a kilo) of filo pastry
- half a kilo of pumpkin, peeled and grated
- 1 cup of almonds
- 1 teaspoon of ginger
- 100g of oat biscuits or digestive, whatever you prefer
- 2 spoonfuls of carob powder
- 2 spoonfuls of demerara sugar
- 2 spoonfuls of raisins (more or less, depending on preferences)
- vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg to taste, a teaspoon of each should do.