This sweet potato and cranberry strudel, made with sweet potato purée, dried cranberries, and brown butter in crisp phyllo pastry, is an impressive and crowd-pleasing Thanksgiving side dish.
This sweet potato and cranberry strudel is defined by contrasts. Its healthfulness is tempered by the inclusion of brown butter and toasted pecans. And its creamy filling juxtaposes oh so nicely against the crisp phyllo dough. And it comes together more easily than you’d ever imagine. But no one else at your Thanksgiving table needs to know it wasn’t a tremendous labor of love.–Renee Schettler Rossi
Sweet Potato and Golden Raisin Strudel
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup golden raisins
- 1 medium sweet potato peeled and sliced
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 large carrots peeled and sliced
- 1/2 cup plus 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 pound frozen phyllo pastry thawed
- 1/4 cup pecan pieces toasted and finely chopped
- Coarse sea salt
- 3/4 cup crème fraîche*
- Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat.
- Put the cranberries and golden raisins in a small bowl and add enough hot water to cover. Set aside until plump, about 10 minutes. Drain the dried fruit, discarding the liquid.
- Meanwhile, place the potato in a medium saucepan, cover with hot water, and add a little salt. Cook over high heat until fork-tender. Meanwhile, put the carrots in a small saucepan, cover with hot water, and add a little salt. Cook over high heat until fork-tender. Drain the potatoes and carrots in a strainer and set aside.
- Put the butter in a small saucepan over high heat. Let the butter melt and then stir continuously until the butter starts browning on the bottom of the pan. It will also start bubbling and foaming a little. The butter should have a medium golden-brown color. Immediately pour the butter into a small dish.
- Smash the soft-cooked potatoes and carrots with a fork or handheld potato masher until lumpy but mostly mashed. Stir 6 tablespoons of the brown butter into the vegetables. Blend in the dried fruit and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Unroll the phyllo dough and place it flat on a clean work surface. The dimensions of the dough will be about 9 by 13 inches (you may need to cut larger sheets of phyllo dough to 9 by 13 inches). To help prevent the dough from drying out while working with it, cover with a slightly dampened clean kitchen cloth. Carefully place 1 sheet of dough on the prepared baking sheet. Brush with the melted brown butter, and lightly sprinkle with pecans and coarse sea salt. Lay another sheet on top and continue layering with brown butter, sea salt, and pecans. Layer and stack 7 sheets.
- Carefully spoon the filling along one of the long edges of the dough, nudging it with the back of the spoon into a tube-like shape. Starting with the filling side of the dough, roll the strudel tightly into a log. Place the strudel in the center of the baking sheet, brush with the remaining butter, and sprinkle with pecans and a little sea salt.
- Bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes.
- Let the strudel cool slightly in the pan on a wire rack. Transfer the strudel to a cutting board and, using a serrated knife, cut the strudel using long sawing motions to prevent excessive flaking of the pastry. Serve warm or at room temperature with a dollop of spiced crème fraîche.
*What You Need To KnowHomemade Creme FraicheTo make your own crème fraîche, in a small saucepan over low heat, combine 2 cups heavy cream with 4 tablespoons buttermilk. Do not bring to a boil. Pour the warm liquid into a small container and cover. Store at room temperature until thick, 8 to 48 hours. Once the crème fraîche is thick, cover and stash it in the fridge for up to 1 week. Spiced Crème Fraîche Spice up homemade crème fraîche with a hint of ground cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and vanilla extract, adding as much (or as little) as you desire.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
This strudel recipe is fabulous! It has just the right combination of textures—smooth, plump, creamy, crunchy, and nutty—to entice your palate over and over again. The buttery sweetness of the sweet potatoes and dried fruit are cunningly disguised by the sea salt, giving a unique savory take on a traditionally sweet combination. I would serve this strudel to my friends any day—if there’s any left over after I dive into it first!
Everyone who had this sweet potato strudel thoroughly enjoyed it. It has all the delights of a perfect, crisp autumn day. The buttery, flaky crust surrounds the earthy richness of fall’s best ingredients. Sweet potatoes and carrots make a wonderfully smooth and earthy base in which the cranberries and raisins just sparkle.
Topping off the strudel with crème fraîche full of warm spice flavors adds the perfect finishing touch.
It will become a staple in this kitchen every fall and may even make an appearance at my Thanksgiving table.
Let autumn colors and flavors dress your harvest table this year. This strudel marries red cranberries, golden raisins, and orangy sweet potatoes and carrots together for a taste experience that is to be savored. You’ll love how these earthy and sweet-tart notes harmonize with the nutty essence of the browned butter and toasted nuts. Give this strudel a pleasantly warm oven where these flavors can emerge, and you’ll soon be captivated by its superb aroma and taste. Serve this show-stopping strudel at home or take it out on the town…one will not be enough to go around.
This strudel is a great side dish or main for a luncheon with a mixed greens salad. I made this the first time with phyllo pastry. The next time I made it using a sheet of puff pastry dough that I had in the freezer and it was just as delicious. This will be a great side dish at Thanksgiving with the combination of carrots, sweet potatoes, and pecans.
Originally published November 25, 2019