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Macedonian Sweet-and-Savoury Strudel

Macedonian Sweet-and-Savoury Strudel (Domaca Gibanica)
Made by: Nancy Bennett

From Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant

Serves 8

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups chopped onions
4 cups grated carrots (use food processor)
1/3 cup currants (or to taste)
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
4 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons unbleached white flour
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill (1-1/2 teaspoons dried)

2 cups crumbled feta cheese (about 10 ounces)
1½ cups cottage cheese
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

½ - 1 pound filo dough
1/3 cup butter, melted – or butter/oil combo – or all oil

2 teaspoons caraway seeds

Sauté the onions in the oil until translucent.  Add the grated carrots and cook them for about 5 minutes, stirring often to prevent scorching.  Mix in the currants and black pepper, simmer for a couple of minutes longer.  Drain excess juices, if there are any.

In a large bowl, mash the cream cheese, add the cottage and feta cheeses, eggs, flour, parsley, and dill.  Stir the sautéed vegetables into the cheese mixture and mix thoroughly.

Preheat the oven to 350˚.

To assemble the strudel, butter the baking pan with some of the melted butter or oil using a pastry brush or small paint brush.  Unfold the stack of filo sheets next to a 9x13-inch baking pan and place the melted butter nearby.  Cover the filo with a damp cloth or the plastic wrapping to keep it from drying out.  Try to work quickly to keep the delicate filo from drying out and becoming crumbly and more difficult to use.  Take about six sheets of filo from the stack and, in one smooth movement, lift them and lay them flat in the pan; the edges may drape over the sides.  Spread the filling evenly over the stacked sheets.  Then brush the edges of the filo with butter and fold them in over the top of the filling.  Cover the filling with two sheets of filo; brush the top sheet with butter.  Repeat with three more pairs of filo sheets.  Butter the top sheet.  Tuck the edges inside the pan.  Scatter the caraway seeds over the top.

Bake the strudel for 45 minutes or until golden brown.  Let the strudel rest for 10 minutes before slicing it to serve.

NANCY'S NOTE:  I use a 10x15” glass baking pan and increase each ingredient by about one-third.  The President’s Choice filo dough fits this size pan perfectly and the quantity should feed about 10-11.  (2 ¼ c. onions, 4½ c. grated carrots, ½ c. currents, 3 tablespoons flour, dill and parsley, 13-14 oz. feta, 2 c. cottage cheese, 10-12 oz. cream cheese.  Same amount filo dough and butter/oil and caraway seeds.)

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