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If you're an apple dessert fan but are intimidated by strudel, this is just the ticket. This is a strudel in the round. It's easy to assemble, using prepared filo sheets. And it is extra easy to cut; the rounded shape makes for attractive, apple-stuffed wedges.
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
12 sheets filo
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, melted
10 to 12 apples (2 1/2 to 3 pounds), peeled and sliced 1/4-inch thick
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup golden raisins, plumped in 1/2 cup hot water and drained
1/2 cup sour cherries, pitted and drained if packed in juice
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon flour
Powdered sugar for dusting
* Mix together 2 tablespoons sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Set aside.
* Lay out filo sheets and cover with lightly damp towel. Brush bottom of 10-inch springform pan with melted butter. Brush 1 sheet of filo with butter, sprinkle with some of cinnamon-sugar mixture and press into pan, allowing sides to drape over. Repeat with 4 more sheets.
* Toss apples with remaining 1/2 cup sugar, lemon juice, raisins, cherries, remaining 1 teaspoon cinnamon, cornstarch and flour. Spoon apples into springform pan and arrange so fruit filling is flush with top of pan. Pat filling down slightly. There should be enough apples to mound slightly over top of springform pan. Fold overlapping ends of filo over apples.
* Brush another filo sheet with melted butter, sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar and lay buttered side up on top of apples. Repeat with 1 more sheet. Fold in excess. Cut remaining sheets into 3 circles exactly size of pan. Brush each with butter and gently place on top of apples. (Top layer should have been brushed with melted butter as well so top will brown). Make small cuts in pastry through to apples to allow steam to escape.
* Place strudel on baking sheet to catch any drippings and set on lowest rack of 375-degree oven. Immediately reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake until pastry puffs up and apples begin to give off juices, 55 minutes to 1 hour. Cover loosely with foil if it starts to get too brown.