There are a lot of desserts on my "work out how to make it vegan" list. I try and limit how often I make desserts though, so often the list doesn't get looked at for a long time. The monthly Sweet Adventures Blog Hop usually makes me get out my list and give one of them a go, although I'm not sure if that is always a good thing. This week I'm starting a new weights and exercise routine, along with a bit of an increase in protein intake and a definite decrease in dessert. This, obviously, is not a good start! Oh well. Wish me luck for the next 12 weeks of not making stuff like this!
Strudel was one of the things on my list. I haven't eaten strudel for years! It wasn't hard to veganise the creamy filling. The secret, as with many vegan creamy things, is nuts. Soaked nuts can substitute almost any creamy thing you can imagine, and it works beautifully here. The fruits I normally associate with strudel are apple, apricot, peach and cherries. However, since the summer weather is in full swing here (it's been hot!) I thought I'd give it a summer tropical twist by using mango and passion fruit. The results were delectable!
1 cup raw blanched almonds
1/4 cup agave nectar
3 tbsp maple syrup
Zest and juice of 1 lemon (tip: zest lemon before you juice it!)
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup flaked or slivered almonds
1 mango, thinly sliced and skin removed
6 sheets filo pastry, thawed
1/2 cup vegan margarine (nuttelex), melted
Icing sugar, to dust
1. Soak the almonds over night, or for at least 4 hours.
2. Preheat oven to 170 degrees.
3. Place the drained soaked almonds, agave nectar, maple syrup, lemon zest, lemon juice, vanilla extract and water in a food processor. Process until completely smooth, scraping down the sides often. This may take a little while, depending on your food processor. Should take between 5 and 8 minutes to get it completely smooth.
4. Remove the pulp from the passion fruits and fold the pulp through the creamy almond mixture.
5. Slice the flesh off the mango (you can suck on the seed while you cook), remove the skin and slice.
6. Lay out two sheets of filo next to each other with the edges overlapping (see pictures). Brush all over with melted margarine and layer another two sheets on top. Layer with melted margarine again and add the last two pieces of filo (so you should have three layers all together).
7. Layer the almond cream in middle of one of the sheets of pastry (once again, see the picture). Top with sliced mangos and slivered/flaked almonds. Fold the bottom and edges over onto the filling and gently flip the strudel over and "roll" it up right to the end. You'll probably want an extra pair of hands to help you with this, as it's a little bit delicate. But if you rip the pastry a bit it doesn't matter, you'll hide it when you roll it all up.
9. Remove from oven and allow to cool. You can serve it warm (let it sit for at least 15 minutes) or at room temperature (don't chill!), dust with icing sugar before serving.
Makes 1 strudel (serves about 6).