Today’s the day! Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is being released on Blu Ray/DVD.
Obviously, that means only one thing…MAGICAL TREATS!
Since Jacob Kowalski is so amazing, and makes so many incredible baked treats in the film, there’s tons of stuff to choose from, and I can’t wait to try to recreate them, but today, I’m inspired by Queenie’s witchy cooking.
The first time, I watched the movie I was so enchanted when Queenie started whipping up dinner with her wand, and the most magical part of all was when she made an apple strudel for Jacob. All of the ingredients soar into the air, they swirl together into a beautiful strudel, then the whole thing drifts down to the center of the table, browning to a golden crisp as it’s wrapped in lovely braids and topped with whimsical apple roses.
I’m adding my own little twist to Queenie’s strudel today by making them into individual dumplings. When we were living in the Netherlands, the Hubster’s favorite treat at the local bakery was appelbollen, which more or less translates to “apple ball”. It’s the Dutch version of an apple dumpling = a peeled apple, sweetened and spiced, wrapped in pastry and baked until golden.
I decided to apply this same method to my strudel, using the same ingredients that a strudel would have, but wrapped around a whole apple instead.
The ingredients list for these is short and sweet: apples (I used Granny Smith, but you can use whatever you prefer), phyllo dough, golden raisins, dried cranberries, apple cider, butter, breadcrumbs, cinnamon, sugar, lemon juice, and a little salt. I also add a secret ingredient to mine that I am going to share with you guys today: Biscoff cookies. These are totally optional, but I love the tiny extra bit of sugar and spice they add. I also choose to use all vanilla sugar in my strudel. I think it adds a fuller flavor that you can really taste.
To start, combine the raisins and cranberries in a small pan with the apple cider and bring to a simmer. Let simmer for about 30 seconds, then cover, remove from heat, and set aside.
Next, core and peel the apples.
Once the apples are peeled, combine the breadcrumbs, cookies, cinnamon, salt, lemon juice, 1/4 cup of sugar, and one tablespoon of melted butter. Roll each apple in the mixture, getting a light coating on the outside of each apple. Set the apples aside in a baking dish. Combine the raisin mixture with the remaining breadcrumb mixture. Divide the mixture equally between the four apples and stuff each apple core with the filling, packing it tightly. Set aside and prepare the phyllo.
Now, if you’ve never worked with phyllo dough before, then be forewarned: this stuff is no joke. It is incredibly delicate, and it dries out ridiculously quickly. To prevent the drying, keep your phyllo covered with a damp towel until ready to use. Remove only one sheet at a time, keeping the rest covered with the damp towel at all times.
Be patient! It’s so delicate, but if you are patient and take your time separating the sheets, then you will be successful and have zero to very few tears.
On a sheet of parchment paper, place one sheet of phyllo in the center. Generously coat the top with melted butter. You can use a brush, as pictured above, or you can use your fingers, which is actually gentler and faster. Once the sheet is covered with butter, sprinkle with one teaspoon of sugar. Repeat this process with four more sheets of phyllo on top, totaling a stack of five sheets (per apple).
Trim your prepared phyllo so that it is a square. Save the extra phyllo, which we’ll use for garnish.
Place an apple, top side down, in the center of the phyllo to wrap it.
Wrap by bringing up one corner of the dough over the apple. Fold in the excess, then bring up the next corner. Again, fold in the excess, then pull up the third corner. Finally, tuck in all the excess dough before pulling the final corner up.
Once the apple is wrapped, turn it over so that it is seam-side down.
If you want some extra garnish, cut strips of phyllo from the extra pieces. Braid the strips together gently.
Brush each wrapped apple thoroughly with melted butter. If using, apply the braided phyllo as desired.
For the final touch, before baking, I added a sprinkling of large sanding sugar, and after the dumplings came out of the oven, I topped them with some sweet apple roses with almond sliver leaves. These are just like the roses that Queenie puts on her strudel, and seriously, they add such a beautiful touch.
To make these, I thinly peeled an apple (I chose to do a red apple for the pink hue, rather than using my green apple skins). I placed the apple skins on a small baking sheet and baked them in a 350 degree oven for about 8 minutes. I immediately rolled the skins into roses while they were still warm, then put a toothpick through them to hold them together. These are not difficult to make – you literally just roll the skins up. Once all the roses were rolled, I placed them back in the oven for five minutes. Once removed from the oven, allow to cool completely before removing the toothpicks and garnishing the baked apples.
Now, this step is key…because looky how pretty! Once the apples are cooled, generously dust them with a happy sprinkling of confectioners’ sugar.
Everything about these makes me happy. Not only are they delicious, invoking both a crisp apple strudel and a flavorful apple dumpling, but they’re also so very lovely. And of course, magical. Obviously.
The phyllo bakes up so crisp and light, and if you use vanilla sugar in the layers, there is a rich, sweet, buttery flavor that’s irresistible. The apples are sweet and tart, and the filling adds the perfect blend of spices.
Grab your wands, light the candles, snuggle into the couch, and enjoy the perfect magical dessert while you watch Newt and friends on their wild adventures.
- ⅛ cup golden raisins
- ⅛ cup dried cranberries
- 2 tablespoons apple cider
- 4 medium to large Granny Smith apples, cored and peeled
- ⅛ cup bread crumbs
- ⅛ cup (about 2 cookies) Biscoff cookies, crushed finely
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 10 to 12 tablespoons (141 to 170 grams) unsalted butter, melted
- about ½ cup vanilla sugar
- about 20 sheets of phyllo dough, thawed
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- In a small skillet or saucepan, combine the raisins and cranberries with the apple cider and bring to a simmer. Let simmer for about 30 seconds, then cover, remove from heat, and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, thoroughly combine the breadcrumbs, cookies, lemon juice, cinnamon, salt, one tablespoon of the butter, and ¼ cup of the sugar. Roll each apple in the mixture to get a light coating on them. Set the apples aside in a 9x13-inch baking dish.
- Stir the raisin mixture into the remaining breadcrumb mixture until thoroughly combined.
- Stuff the core of each apple with the raisin mixture, packing them tightly. There should be just the right amount for the four apples. Set aside in the baking dish while you prepare the phyllo.
- On a sheet of parchment paper, place one sheet of phyllo in the center. Generously coat the top with melted butter. Sprinkle with one teaspoon of sugar. Repeat this process with four more sheets of phyllo on top, totaling a stack of five sheets (per apple). (See blog post for any helpful tips and advice.)
- Trim the phyllo to a square shape, place an apple, top-side down, in the center of the dough, and wrap the apple gently, but tightly. Turn the apple over so it is seam-side down, and return to the baking dish. Brush with melted butter, and sprinkle with sugar. Garnish as desired. Repeat with remaining apples.
- Bake for 25 minutes, until pastry is turning golden brown, remove from oven, and cover loosely with aluminum foil. Return to the oven and bake for another 25 minutes, until dough is deep golden brown and apples are cooked through.