Good Morning! Breakfast Strudels

Before I start, let me say HAPPY NEW YEAR everyone!  May your 2011 be filled with delicious recipe discoveries and good health!

Now that I’m back in Ottawa for the winter term, I figured it was time to resume blogging.  For my last days at home I was almost never on my computer, since my parents were worried that I was over-doing my computer usage by watching endless amounts of How I Met Your Mother on my brightly lit macbook (I’ve almost finished four seasons in two weeks, a tv addiction like this hasn’t happened since I fell in love with LOST…).

But back to the food… These are the breakfast strudels that my family and I have every Christmas morning.  They’re rich, tasty and the perfect start to a special day.  My mom has always made these in the past but, just like with my dad’s fruitcake, I decided it was time for me to take up the reins on making this second Duff family tradition. The recipe for these strudels was from an old edition of Canadian Living and has been adapted by my mom to become the recipe that I love today.

The one challenging thing about these strudels is the phyllo pastry.  Phyllo is probably the most delicate item you will ever have to cook or bake with and it becomes a bit of a hassle when you’re a tad impatient like me.  In the process of making my strudels, I wrecked one or two sheets of phyllo simply because I wasn’t careful enough when handling it.  Luckily for me I enjoy eating raw pastry dough (one of those weird Hilary things), and ate the destroyed sheet despite the disapproving look I got from my mom.  Regardless of the initial challenges, these strudels are a foolproof way to make an awesome breakfast!

End note: you know you’re back in a student kitchen when you keep watching the stove while boiling water, waiting for a fire to begin.

End note 2.0: YES, my suitcase just got delivered after it was lost in transit yesterday.  Going to unpack this instant!

See recipe after pictures.  ALSO: Since the directions may be a little confusing, I’ve included a very poorly-photographed/focused (my kitchen is dark, okay?) step-by-step visual guide on how to arrange the phyllo pastry for these.  Hope it helps!

Breakfast Strudels
Adapted from Canadian Living, December 1998

– 2 tbsp butter
– 2 tbsp all purpose flour
– 1 cup milk
– ½ cup shredded old cheddar cheese
– pinch of salt and pepper
– 6 eggs, lightly beaten
– 1 cup diced smoked ham
– 2 tbsp minced fresh parsley
– 2 tsp minced fresh chives or green onion tops
– 8 sheets phyllo pastry
– ¼ cup butter, melted

The first step is to make the cheese/egg sauce filling for the strudel.  In 30 second intervals, melt butter in the microwave.  Stir in flour.  Heat in microwave until bubbly; slowly whisk in milk.  Cook, stirring occasionally every 30 seconds until thickened.  Add cheddar cheese, salt and pepper and stir until cheese is melted.  Set aside.

In a non-stick skillet, scramble eggs, ham, parsley, and chives.  Cook for about 3 minutes until eggs are just cooked but still moist.  Add to cheese sauce; mix well.  Let cool.

Place one sheet of the phyllo pastry on work surface, keeping remainder covered with plastic wrap and damp towel to prevent drying out.  Carefully brush the phyllo with melted butter.  Fold in half lengthwise; brush with butter again.  Spoon about 1/3 cup of the egg mixture onto the end of the phyllo, leaving a one inch border along each side.  Gently roll up, tucking in sides to enclose filling (like a little parcel).  Brush top with butter.  Repeat with remaining seven phyllo sheets.

Freezing instructions: At this point, you can freeze them if you made them ahead of time.  On the morning when you are going to eat, take them out of the freezer and bake frozen at 375° for about 30-40 min until golden.

If you are not freezing: Place seam side down on greased baking sheet.  Bake at 375° for 13-16 min until golden.

Let stand for 5 min before serving because they are very hot inside.  Makes 8 servings.

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