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A Memorable Dessert: Chocolate Banana Strudel

832 - Diabetic Gourmet Magazine

The best Hungarian bakery in New York City, now sadly out of business, was near my apartment. Their mouth-watering strudels included traditional apple, cheese and ones filled with vegetables, including spinach or carrot.

Cabbage strudel, mildly sweet and studded with raisins, was my favorite until recently, when I discovered this indulgent pairing of banana and chocolate.

Flaky and crisp outside, inside its finely chopped chocolate melts as this treat bakes. Crunchy, creamy and sigh inducing, the result is surprisingly sensible, nutritionally speaking.

Paper-thin phyllo dough is sold frozen in most food markets. Usually it is used to cover a savory filling like spinach with feta to make the Greek spinach pie, spanakopita, or to layer with nuts for sweet baklava.

Using phyllo requires a particular technique. Here, I simplify what you need to do in several ways. First, you use just one layer rather than stacking several sheets.

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Using oil to coat the phyllo keeps it pliable and lets you skip using butter. Brushing phyllo with oil also assures you get nicely separated layers, which cooking spray does not do.

Sprinkling panko over the phyllo also helps you get lovely, fine layers.

Follow theses simple but essential steps, and even if you are a beginner with phyllo, you'll bask in success.

When making the actual chocolate banana strudel, after applying the egg wash, you can either bake them or wrap them in plastic wrap and freeze them. When ready to bake, pop them in the oven without defrosting.

Chocolate Banana Phyllo Rolls

Makes 8 servings

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Coat baking sheet with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Place a sheet of phyllo with narrow end toward you. Brush it lightly with oil.
  3. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon panko over phyllo.
  4. Set a banana half 2 inches above bottom of phyllo.
  5. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon chocolate over and around banana.
  6. Lifting bottom edge of phyllo up over banana, roll it over, covering banana. Fold in sides, then finish rolling banana in phyllo.
  7. Transfer phyllo roll to prepared baking sheet.
  8. Repeat, wrapping remaining banana halves.
  9. Brush top, sides and ends of phyllo rolls liberally with beaten egg. Using small, sharp knife, make 2 diagonal slits in phyllo to let steam escape. Discard remaining egg.
  10. Bake phyllo rolls for 12 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool baked phyllo rolls on baking sheet for 20 minutes.
  11. Meanwhile, cut bottom tip off each strawberry. Placing strawberry with bottom toward you and rotating blade of a sharp knife at 45-degrees, make 4 or 5 vertical cuts from base to near top, just below hull. Gently press on strawberry to fan out slices.
  12. To serve, transfer warm phyllo rolls to individual dessert plates. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon grated chocolate over each roll. Place a fanned strawberry on plate, and serve.

    * If you can find only 13" x 18" sheets, cut in half to make 13" by 9" sheets

Nutritional Information Per Serving:
182 calories
8 g total fat
Less than 1 g saturated fat
28 g carbohydrate
3 g protein
3 g dietary fiber
42 mg sodium

Photo by Heather Victoria Photography