How to make phyllo dough strudel with pumpkin – a flavor loaded seasonal twist on ordinary strudel, based on Bulgarian tikvenik. Plus – an optional pumpkin ale simple syrup adds fragrant sweetness to the dessert.
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- Read on for relevant tips and step-by-step pictures (1 min)
About Pumpkin Strudel
My recipe for pumpkin strudel is a very serious rival to regular apple strudel. It is based on tikvenik – a pumpkin dessert with phyllo dough very popular in Bulgaria where I grew up. Traditionally the filling is comprised of grated fresh pumpkin and walnuts – here I replace the walnuts with toasted pumpkin seeds. Instead of confectioners sugar dusted on top, I add a generous pour of sweet and fragrant pumpkin ale simple syrup which the strudel eagerly absorbs and becomes a simultaneously moist and crunchy treat, reminiscent of baklava.
TIP: While you do not need to make the simple syrup with pumpkin ale I recommend that you do – it is what takes this rustic treat over the top. One of my favorite ways to incorporate beer into desserts is to make a simple syrup with it. Whether making beercicles, sorbet or another recipe, reducing a sweeter craft beer to release most of the alcohol, concentrate the flavors and boost the sweetness level with brown sugar or honey is an easy and effective way to cook with beer. In the case of this pumpkin strudel the strategy is more than befitting.
Ingredients You Will Need
- Phyllo dough. Typically a box contains two packages with about 20 to 24 sheets of phyllo in each. You need only one of these packages to make enough pumpkin strudel for eight servings.
- Butter. To melt it and brush it between layers of phyllo.
- Pumpkin seeds. Shelled of course. If you find already toasted ones use them, otherwise you can do that yourself before you make the strudel filling.
- Fresh pumpkin. Your best bet is pie pumpkin, even though you can substitute with butternut squash.
- Brown sugar & cinnamon. To add sweetness and spice to the filling, also some extra sugar to make the simple syrup.
- Pumpkin Ale. The fragrant key to the tasty syrup for the strudel.
TIP: Choose the Right Pumpkin Ale
Stay away from pumpkin IPAs or pale ales with high IBUs (unless you are intentionally looking for bitterness). Typically pumpkin ales (and the occasional lager) are on the sweet side (overly so in fact) and you will not need to worry about bitterness but I am issuing the warning just in case.
I used a pumpkin ale with cranberries added which contributed a bit of welcome tartness, or rather brightness to an otherwise spice heavy brew.
How to Make Pumpkin Strudel
- Thaw. Before you begin follow the instructions on the phyllo dough package and thaw it accordingly. Do not open package before you have already made the filling – phyllo sheets dry really fast and can become incredibly brittle before you know it.
- Make the syrup. If you will be using syrup make it in advance so that it can cool down properly. Pour the pumpkin ale into a cold, wide sauce pan, bring to simmer, add brown sugar, stir and let simmer until reduced by a third to a half of the original volume. Let cool down.
- Make the filling. Carve two or three slices of pie pumpkin, remove the seeds and skin and grate using a box grater. Toast the pumpkin seeds in a dry non-stick pan, add the grated pumpkin, brown sugar and cinnamon, stir well and cook until the sugar just begins to melt. Melt the butter in a bowl in the microwave.
- Assemble. Lay out a quarter of the phyllo sheets, brush generously all over with melted butter, then scatter a quarter of the pumpkin filling. Place more phyllo sheets on top, brush, scatter more filling. Tuck the short sides in and roll, place on lined baking sheet with the edge facing down. Repeat for a second strudel roll. Brush both with butter once more.
- Bake. Bake the strudel until it begins to turn a deep golden color.
How to Serve Pumpkin Strudel
- If you are not planning on making simple syrup to drizzle over the strudel, serve it warm. Do not try to slice it thinly, the phylo will crumble too much. Instead, cut a chunkier piece as shown above. A scoop of vanilla ice cream is very complimentary to a warm piece of this treat.
- If you do want to serve it with pumpkin ale simple syrup, then it is better to let the strudel cool down. Drizzle the simple syrup over each plated serving and let it pool around it.
You will love the unpretentious overall texture of pumpkin strudel. You have the crunch of the pumpkin seeds amidst the softness of the pumpkin flesh (not entirely mushy, still a touch of firmness to it), wrapped in the buttery crispness of the phyllo sheets and drenched in the delicious pumpkin ale syrup.
It makes for a great partner to a cup of strong coffee – whether in the morning or as a dessert. If need be it can outright replace dinner – tried and true! Simply indulge in a double serving.
Other Recipes You Might Like
- 1 packet phyllo dough, about 24 sheets
- 2 1/2 cups of grated fresh pumpkin
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted preferred
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 stick unsalted butter (may not use it all)
PUMPKIN ALE SIMPLE SYRUP
- 12 oz pumpkin ale
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- Follow the instructions of your phyllo dough packaging and thaw one of the packets from the box (about 20-24 sheets).
- Carve out a few slices from a pie pumpkin, clean the seeds and remove the skin, then grate using a box grater until you have enough to fill 2 1/2 cups.
- If your pumpkin seeds are not toasted, toast them in a dry pan over medium high heat.
- To the same pan add the grated pumpkin, brown sugar and cinnamon and stir a few times until you see the sugar beginning to melt. Remove from heat.
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Melt the butter in a small bowl in the microwave, set near your working surface area.
- Roll out 5-6 sheets of phyllo dough. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with 1/4 of the pumpkin/sugar/seeds mixture leaving the edges free of mixture.
- Place 5-6 more sheets of phyllo on top, brush with butter and sprinkle another 1/4 of the mixture.
- Fold the short sides of the phyllo dough inwards and then roll the layers (like a burrito).
- Repeat the above steps with the remaining 10-12 sheets of phyllo and remaining mixture.
- On a parchment paper lined baking sheet place the two strudel rolls and bake for 35-40 minutes or until the phyllo dough turns golden.
- While the strudel is baking, prepare the simple syrup. Bring the pumpkin ale to simmer in a sauce pan and add the brown sugar. Mix and let reduce for about 10 minutes, remove from heat and let cool down.
- Once the strudel is finished baking you have two options to serve it. (1) Warm, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top or (2) cooled down, drizzled with a generous amount of the pumpkin ale simple syrup (as shown above).
The only difference between this pumpkin strudel and a traditional Bulgarian tikvenik (tikva=pumpkin, tikven=made with pumpkin, -ik ending forms a noun) is the substitution of walnuts with pumpkin seeds. Typically tikvenik is served dusted with powdered sugar - do try the pumpkin ale syrup instead!
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1 grams
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 214Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 15mgSodium: 29mgCarbohydrates: 35gFiber: 1gSugar: 28gProtein: 2g