Friday, January 27, 2023


Filo pastry desserts are among my favourite things to make. Supremely thin and perfectly crunchy when baked, filo sheets are perfect for many types of fillings, although my favourite ones are fruits and nuts.
Sweet cooking apples, delightfully mellow and fragrant, toasted walnuts, date caramel, and vanilla make for such a wonderful dessert; and to take it even a step further, a medley of rum, cinnamon, and raisins is added. A fantastic, crunchy treat that is done in less than an hour.
There is no need to soak the raisins prior to assembly, as they will absorb some of the liquid that apples release during baking and become wonderfully soft. On the other hand, if your dates are a touch too dry, you can soak them for 10-15 minutes before blending, but that is purely optional.

For the pies
500 grams filo pastry sheets, 16 pieces
700 grams sweet cooking apples, peeled and cored
50 grams cornflour
100 grams toasted walnuts, ground
100 grams toasted walnuts, chopped
150 grams raisins
½ teaspoon dark rum
For the date caramel
100 grams Medjool dates
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
small pinch of salt
For the glaze
150 millilitres tepid water
75 millilitres vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

Start by making the date caramel paste. Place the dates, cinnamon, vanilla, and salt into a blender, and let it run until a smooth, thick paste is formed. If you want a somewhat runnier caramel sauce, add a splash of water, and blend again.
Peel, core, and dice the apples into desired pieces, and place them into a large bowl. Sift in the cornflour, and toss them really well, so every piece is as coated as possible. Add in the walnuts, raisins, the date caramel paste made earlier, as well as the dark rum. Mix well, and set aside.
To make the glaze, pour the water and the oil into a small saucepan, and place it over high heat. Let the mixture come to a boil, then remove it from the heat and add in the vanilla. Blend well and set aside, so it cools down just a tad.
Lay one filo sheet flat on the work surface, brush it generously with the oil and water mixture, lay another sheet on top, and then place a portion of the filling right in the centre. Fold the sheet into a nice, tight parcel. Continue making the pies until all of the filling and the filo are used up, and arrange them on a large baking sheet, lined with baking parchment.
Brush each of them with the remaining mixture of water and oil, and bake immediately in a preheated oven, at 200˚C, for about 20-25 minutes. Once baked, remove them from the oven, let them cool down on the baking sheet for about 20 minutes, and serve. Yields 8 servings.