Form this lightly sweet, extra crispy spiced pumpkin strudel into curves so you can serve him as a Loch Ness Monster for Halloween. Or save this recipe for Thanksgiving and serve spiced pumpkin strudel as part of your Thanksgiving dessert menu. Either way, it’s crispy, buttery, pumpkiny goodness that everyone will enjoy.
I should come clean right off the bat and tell you that the filling is actually made with half butternut squash and half pie pumpkin. Feel free to use all butternut, all pumpkin, or a mixture as I did.
Welcome to Progressive Eats, our virtual version of a Progressive Dinner Party. Our menu this month features spooky and spectacular cocktails, appetizers, and desserts for a Halloween Extravaganza! Hosting this month’s shenanigans is Anshie from SpiceRoots.
If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, a progressive dinner involves going from house to house, enjoying a different course at each location. With Progressive Eats, a theme is chosen each month, members share recipes suitable for a delicious meal or party, and you can hop from blog to blog to check them out.
Spooktacular Halloween Party
- Spooky Breadstick Fingers from Mother Would Know
- Black Magic Martini from Spiceroots
- Meringue Ghost Cookies from Creative Culinary
- Mummy Cookies from The RedHead Baker
- Jack O’Lantern Apple Hand Pies from The Wimpy Vegetarian
- Halloween Spider Chocolate Chip Cookies from That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Loch Ness Monster Pumpkin Strudel from Pastry Chef Online
Fun line-up, right? I have the best time with this group of talented ladies every single month!
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Is This Spiced Pumpkin Strudel Hard To Make?
No, I wouldn’t say it’s hard to make. It is a little bit fussy, though. You’ll have to brush several layers of phyllo with butter, sprinkle spiced sugar and toasted walnuts between each layer, make the filling (which does require draining in a fine-mesh sieve overnight to keep it as dry as possible), and if you’re making it for Halloween, you’ll want to spend some time (or have your kids spend some time) decorating the platter so it approximates Loch Ness. Or at least some sort of water.
What Can Go Wrong When Making This?
Well, if you’re anything like me, you will get annoyed that phyllo dough, while much easier to work with than trying to stretch true strudel dough to ultra-thinness, is not stretchy and will resist curving into a Loch Ness Monster Shape. So you might curse. And when your husband asks you what is wrong, you banish him from the kitchen. Forever.
If your strudel decides to split a bit when you curve him, it’s not the end of the world. I just took a couple of extra sheets of phyllo dough, brushed them with butter, sprinkled them with spiced sugar, and then just wrapped them around the split part, kind of like wrapping up a mummy or wrapping an Ace bandage around a sprained elbow or something. Like edible, tasty paper mache.
Strudel filling should also be pretty dry, so that’s why I recommend straining the filling for several hours before forming and baking your strudel. If you don’t strain it out, it could make the entire pastry soggy, and you don’t want that.
Since you end up spreading quite a bit of butter between each layer of strudel, more than a little will leak out during baking. Make sure you’re baking on a rimmed baking sheet (I love a good half sheet pan), and line it with parchment paper for ease of clean up.
What Should My Husband Do to Help?
He should stay out of your way. Far out of your way. Unless he is super crafty and will make this guy for you, send him away to buy you treats.
And if, at any time during the making of this Spiced Pumpkin Strudel Loch Ness Monster, your husband giggles or rolls his eyes or gives you any sort of flack at all, you just let me know.
Okay, let’s make this guy.
Spiced Pumpkin Strudel Loch Ness Monster (or just regular)
This spiced pumpkin strudel features layers and layers of buttery, crispy phyllo sprinkled with toasted nuts and sugar all encasing a smooth, lightly sweetened, earthy butternut squash and pumpkin filling. A lovely Thanksgiving dessert, or shape him and present him as "Nessy," and he's perfect for Halloween!
NOTE: The filling is enough to make 4 strudels, so half all amounts if you only want to make 2 (or enough to make one Loch Ness Monster)
- 1 1/2 pounds cubed pumpkin and butternut squash (any combination)
- 1 Tablespoons neutral vegetable oil
- 1 slice white or multigrain sandwich bread
- 2 oz almond flour or meal I used Bob's Red Mill
- 5 oz dark brown sugar by weight
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice or your favorite pie spice blend
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- heavy pinch kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice or your favorite pie spice blend
- 1/2 package phyllo dough sheets (1 roll, thawed)
- 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter melted
- 1 cup walnuts toasted and finely chopped
Spread the cubed pumpkin and butternut squash (I did half and half) with the vegetable oil on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Roast at 375F until tender and easily pierced with a knife, about 20-25 minutes.
Allow to cool for a few minutes. In the meantime, tear the slice of bread into a few pieces and add it to the bowl of your food processor. Process until you have fine crumbs. Add the almond meal and pulse to combine.
Dump in the somewhat cooled vegetables, the sugar, salt, spice, and vanilla. Process until completely smooth. Turn into a fine-mesh sieve set over a bowl, cover all with plastic wrap, and let drain in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight.
Discard any liquid in the bowl and then add the puree to the bowl. Stir in the egg until completely combined. Set aside.
Set a rack in the center of your oven and preheat to 375F.
Whisk together the granulated sugar, salt, and spice. Set aside convenient to your work area.
Unroll the phyllo dough and place it on a dry surface. Cover with a sheet of plastic wrap and a damp, lint-free towel.
Place one sheet of phyllo, a long side close to you, on a parchment-lined sheet pan (cover the remainder). Brush with melted butter--it does not need to be saturated, but do be fairly thorough. Sprinkle on about 2 teaspoons of spiced sugar, and top with another sheet of phyllo.
Brush with butter, and sprinkle on 2 more teaspoons of sugar and a scattering of finely chopped nuts.
Repeat this process three more times. You will have a total of 8 layers of phyllo with nuts between every two sheets.
Spoon on 1/4 of the pumpkin filling about an inch away from the close edge of the phyllo and leaving about an inch clear on either end.
Fold either short edge of the phyllo up and over the edges of the filling, and then use a bench knife or a spatula to help you roll the whole thing up like a very long egg roll. If making a Loch Ness Monster, do your best to curve this strudel into a C shape. If you get any tears in your phyllo, patch with 1/2 sheets of phyllo, using butter and spices sugar as glue. If making a "plain" strudel, leave it straight.
On another tray, make another spiced pumpkin strudel the same way. Leave this one straight, even if you are making a Loch Ness Monster.
Bake each strudel in succession for about 25 minutes, rotating pan halfway through the baking time if your oven doesn't bake evenly. The finished strudel will be a lovely deep golden brown.
Let cool completely on the pans.
Use whatever icings and decorations you have to decorate a large serving platter so it looks like water.
Evenly cut off the two ends of the C-shaped strudel. This will be the middle "hump" of the monster's body.
Set this piece, cut sides down, onto the decorated tray.
Cut the second strudel into two pieces and cut each piece on a slight angle so the "head" leans a bit forward and the "tail" leans a bit back. Pipe or spoon some whipped cream around each piece of strudel. This is meant to look like churning water. 🙂
Present your impressionistic (or realistically decorated, depending on how crafty you are) spiced pumpkin strudel Loch Ness Monster to your Halloween revelers. If serving for Thanksgiving, your guests will still be really happy.
The amount of filling called for will make four strudels. If you need that much to feed a crowd, go for it. Otherwise, half the filling amount or use it to fill hand pies or tartlet shells. Bake for 20 minutes at 350F.
And there you have it. Spiced Pumpkin Strudel. Delicious, whether you serve it for Halloween as a Loch Ness Monster or if you serve it for Thanksgiving as a “regular” strudel, you are going to love it. Familiar flavors, made a little earthy with the whole grain bread and almonds, all wrapped up in crispy, flaky phyllo. Nice!
Thanks for spending some time with my Progressive Eats friends and me today. Take care, Happy Halloween, and have a lovely, spooky day!