Apple Phyllo Bundles

Apple Phyllo Bundles
Serves 8
2 pounds (about 4 large) Golden Delicious apples
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) plus 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup dried cranberries or cherries
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
8 sheets phyllo
confectioners’ sugar, to dust
1 cup caramel sauce, warm

Individual packages like these are sometimes called beggar’s purses. They really do resemble a drawstring pouch or sack of coins. You can adapt the techinque of enclosing food in phyllo to different fillings, sweet or savory. Try bundles of pears with candied ginger for dessert or purses of wild mushrooms and balsamic caramelized leeks for appetizers. If you want to prepare the bundles ahead, freeze them unbaked, and bake in a preheated oven directly from the freezer.

Peel and core the apples. Cut them into 1/2-inch chunks. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet. Add the apples and cook and stir over medium heat until they are just tender, 5 to 8 minutes. Remove from heat and pour off and discard any excess liquid. Stir in the dried cherries, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Let cool.

Preheat oven to 375ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, or brush it lightly with melted butter, or spray with cooking spray. Melt the remaining 8 tablespoons of butter.

Unroll the package of phyllo sheets on a work surface. Cover the sheets with a dampened kitchen towel. Keep them covered while you work so they don’t dry out.

Pick up 1 sheet of phyllo, place it on a large cutting board and brush it lightly with melted butter. Repeat, staking and buttering 4 layers. Using a sharp knife, cut the buttered stack of phyllo in half, crosswise and lengthwise, making 4 rectangles. Put about 1/2 cup of the apple mixture in the center of each rectangle. Gather up the corner of the rectangles and gently pinch the dough together just above the apple filling. Butter, stack and cut another 4 rectangles; fill and pinch into bundles.

Place all the bundles on the prepared pan. Bake 45-50 minutes or until they are rich golden brown all over. Keep warm in the turned off oven with the door ajar.

Dust the phyllo bundles with confectioners’ sugar. Place each bundle on a plate and drizzle the warm caramel sauce generously over the bundles and on the plates.

This recipe needs no high altitude adjustment.

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