Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Sweet Potato Strudel with Brown Butter

Perfect Pairing:  Dino:  The Essential Dean Martin Album

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas.  I definitely did!  My family had so much fun together opening gifts, enjoying good food and just being together.  I am sad the festivities are almost over.  We still have a couple of days together and I plan on making the most of it!

Are you browning your butter?  If not, you should start.  It was only recently that I realized how awesome brown butter tastes.  I had heard chefs refer to it on cooking shows, but had never really done anything with it myself.  Side note…. I have a weird addiction to any competitive cooking show.  They should start some sort of fantasy competitive cooking league.  I would be a killer.  Anyway, brown butter seemed very fancy to me, but honestly, there is nothing fancy about it.  It does not require any special equipment or ingredients.  By browning the butter the flavor completely changes and it goes from being plain old butter to this complex, nutty, savory delight. 
This strudel takes full advantage of the toasty butter but is also slightly sweet because of the dried cranberries, raisins, carrots, and sweet potatoes.  Everything is rolled up in layers of phyllo dough.  I know some people are a little intimidated by phyllo dough because it is fragile and comes with care instructions.  While it is important to keep it covered with a damp towel it is surprisingly easy to work with.  Don’t get flustered if it bunches up in one area or breaks, no one will know.  That is the beauty of layers, everything just melds together! 
I wish I had a better picture of the finished product.  This was served at the weenie roast and it was full-on darkness by the time I was ready to photograph it.  You’ll just have to trust me on how attractive and delicious it is.  The flaky crust melts in your mouth and the creamy filling has just the right amount of sweet and savory.  It was also surprisingly good leftover. 
The Perfect Pairing for this strudel is Dino: The Essential Dean Martin album.  When I think of strudel, phyllo dough, and brown butter I think of something very fancy.  This recipe is actually just good food.  That is kind of like Dino.  He has this air of sophistication around him but his music is relatable and fun.  I love this album.  It has so many great songs and is the perfect thing to play during a dinner party.  That voice is something else.

Sweet Potato Strudel with Brown Butter
Adapted by Lindsay at Perfecting the Pairing from FromMySweetHeart

·         2 sweet potatoes (medium), peeled and cubed
·         2 carrots (large), peeled and sliced
·         ¼ cup dried cranberries
·         ¼ cup golden raisins
·         1 stick of unsalted butter, divided
·         20 sheets of phyllo dough (1/2 of a 16 oz. box), thawed
·         Salt and pepper to taste
Add the cubed sweet potatoes and carrots to a large pot of salted water, bring to a boil.  Cook over high heat until tender.    
Meanwhile, cover the cranberries and raisins with hot water to plump up.  After about 10 minutes, drain completely and set aside.  Place the butter in a small pan over high heat.  Melt the butter and allow it to brown, but not scorch.  Remove from heat.
Once the potatoes and carrots are tender, drain and mash gently.  Stir in about 2 Tb of the brown butter and the drained cranberries and raisins.  Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Unroll the thawed phyllo sheets and cover them with plastic wrap.  Top the plastic wrap with a damp towel.  To assemble the strudel, remove one sheet of dough and place it on the parchment paper lined cookie sheet (cover the remaining phyllo sheets with the plastic and the towel).  Keep the long section of the dough towards you.  Brush the dough lightly with the reserved brown butter and lay another sheet on top, until you have layered 10 sheets.  Sprinkle a dash of salt every third layer.
Spoon half of the potato mixture along the bottom edge of the dough.  Roll the phyllo around the potato mixture using the parchment paper to pick up the bottom edge.  Place the completed roll at the top of the sheet pan and repeat the steps above to assemble the second roll. 
Brush rolls with remaining brown butter and bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown.  Allow to cool slightly and slice the rolls into pieces.  Serve warm.


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