Why This Recipe Works
Most modern phyllo-based versions of strudel have tough layers of phyllo on the underside, while the sheets on top shatter before you even cut a slice. Meanwhile, fillings collapse and leak everywhere, despite the bread crumbs supposedly added to soak up liquid and prevent leaking (instead, they just make the filling taste pasty). We warmed our apples through in the microwave in order to activate an enzyme that allows them to bake until tender without collapsing, and we stirred in ultradry panko bread crumbs instead of homemade toasted crumbs since we could use less of them (thus avoiding pastiness) to soak up a comparable amount of liquid. To avoid a compressed, tough underside, we used fewer sheets of phyllo and changed the typical wrapping technique so the seam was on the top instead of on the bottom. To minimize the flyaways on top, we dusted a small amount of confectioners’ sugar between the phyllo layers so that they fused in the oven, and we sliced our strudel while it was warm. Making two smaller strudels further simplified assembly.