I am on a fluid diet. No, not the kind you drink. The kind that seems to change and adapt each day, due to the fact that my self-discipline chip has apparently been deprogrammed. It doesn’t help, of course, that I can’t exercise. Still, I think I can do better than this. I am well aware that this side of the holidays may not be the best time to begin, but the real problem is that I may have to lock Victoria in a closet to prevent her from derailing my good intentions like she did last night.
I kept lunch to a minimum yesterday. Dinner was healthy – Baked Halibut en Papillote. Fish, vegetables, rice. I was on course for a mostly guilt-free day. We had gone upstairs after dinner to read, and I thought I had dodged the dessert bullet. I was feeling strong. Didn’t even cave when the CE sat next to me scarfing down a handful of Oreos.
And then it happened. Victoria sent Taylor upstairs with two plates, mouth-wateringly fragrant with the smell of apples and cinnamon. She had made another recipe from the Eiffel Tower cookbook and this one is very, very dangerous. Crisp, delicate layers of phyllo pastry enveloped warm caramelized apples within, and – I am most regretful to report – she added a dollop of vanilla Haagen-Dazs on the side. It would have been rude (and insane) to decline, even though it likely means I’ve left yet another dress size in the dust.
Since misery loves company, I am going to share the recipe with you, because I think this may be one of the finest desserts I’ve ever tasted:
ALSACE APPLE STRUDEL WITH ICE CREAM
From the Eiffel Tower Restaurant Cookbook
“We use Granny Smith apples in this recipe because they stay crisp and tart, and top it with cinnamon ice cream. The contrast between the flakiness of the dough and the smoothness of the ice cream and the apples is unbeatable. This dish is nice for both dessert and as a treat to enjoy with afternoon tea.”
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
8 sheets thawed frozen phyllo dough
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
1 cup turbinado sugar
In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the apples and stir until the apples are heated through, about 4 minutes. Stir in the granulated sugar, raisins, cinnamon and nutmeg. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place a sheet of phyllo dough on a work surface with the long side facing you. Brush the sheet with the melted butter, then sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of the turbinado sugar. Repeat these steps with 3 more sheets of phyllo, creating a stack. Spoon half of the apple filling on the bottom third of the stacked phyllo facing you and roll the phyllo around the filling into a log. Repeat to make another log.
Place the strudels on the prepared sheet and brush the tops of each with the melted butter. Sprinkle each strudel with turbinado sugar. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool for 10-15 minutes. Cut the strudels into 3-inch-thick slices and serve with ice cream.
All well and good, but I just want to know if there’s a way to lose weight on an apple strudel diet…otherwise, it’s straight to the closet with Victoria!