Apple and Hazelnut Filo Roll-ups

applesNow I could call these strudel but you know they aren’t really strudel –  what they are is me making use of the last of the wizening garden apples that have been sitting wrapped in paper in a box in the garage and a packet of Theos filo pastry that I bought for something else only I forgot what –  and I thought that I should use both of them up.

I rang my sister who used to make lots of this and who I think of as a strudel expert and had a chat about breadcrumbs and soft middles which was fun. She thinks the breadcrumbs are what makes the difference to the texture, with them the middle all comes together into a soft filling, without crumbs it stays separate and more chunky.


I hanker terribly after chocolate and sweeties late at night and then when I eat them I don’t sleep very well, so I thought if I made a little lowish sugar apple pastry thingy, then when that nadir of sugar desire came upon me, I would have an answer that was somehow a little kinder than the rigour of the rice cake. Rice cakes work to fill the needy gap, but they are a bit boring and there is always that moment when you have eaten four rice cakes and still want chocolate and so maybe, this is the answer…and it has the plus of using up things that need using and being a treat!

All amounts are approximate, you will have to trust your own judgement and sense of taste and be prepared to taste your filling mixture as you go along.

You need

  •  1 pack of fresh filo pastry – there are different sorts out there. The one I used today is new to me, called Theos and it is very fine and light and has a tendency to break along the fold lines if you don’t handle it very gently.
  • at least a pound of apples
  • a lemon
  • about 4 oz of butter
  • about 4 oz of Hazelnuts or walnuts
  • Fresh breadcrumbs (or Panko ones)
  • 2 or more tsps of cinnamon
  • a bit of sugar

A pastry brush

An oven tray or cookie sheet or something of that ilk

Preheat the oven to 175 C or 160 Fan

For the filling

  •  12 small apples, peeled, cored and chopped up into small chunks
  • A bowl with  half a squeezed lemon’s worth of juice in it – you put the apple chunks in here as you go and it stops them discolouring
  • Optional lemon zest in the mixture if you are a zesty sort of person – I am!
  • 2-4 oz of hazelnuts or walnuts or almonds, pulsed or chopped to small coarse bits
  • a good handful of breadcrumbs, I used Panko
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar or more, this is up to you entirely, I use the minimum  (or sweetener or none at all if you can eat your apples without sugar)
  • 2 tsps of cinnamon (again more or less according to taste)

Mix the filling ingredients well together and leave to sit for the breadcrumbs to absorb the juices, it should be quite dry with no wetness sloshing around in the bowl

Melt a chunk of butter in a saucepan

Unfold your filo pastry and decide what size and shape you want your rollups to be. I went for half sheet sizes. Remember to cover your unused sheets with a damp teatowel or protect them otherwise from drying out.

Brush the half sheet of filo with a light coating of melted butter

Lay a couple of tablespoons of filling along one edge, staying away from the ends, otherwise it will fall out as you roll it up.

Gently roll up the pastry and transfer each roll to your oven tray.

Once you have filled the tray with rolls, brush another layer of melted butter over the top of the rolls

Bake for about 20 minutes till the pastry starts to go golden.

Remove from oven and sift icing sugar lightly over the top of the rolls

Transfer to cooling rack and eat when still a little warm but not too hot!

Dusting lightly with icing sugar gives you a hint of sweetness but nothing like the sugar that you find in the average piece of cake, it’s a good option to go for!


Anyway I like these and I think I will be making them more often. They would be quite good for breakfast too with yoghurt or something, not with the  soya custard that we have here.

If you want to tell me what you nibble in dark moments of twilight hunger then your secret is safe with me (and the other people who venture into the murky world of Zeb Bakes, heh heh heh).

An afterthought, a whole pack of filo would make loads of little rolls, so you might find that if you put them in the fridge they go a bit soggy. If you pop them back in a hot oven for 5-10 minutes before eating them you will find they crisp up again….

30 thoughts on “Apple and Hazelnut Filo Roll-ups

  1. sallybr

    Your post reminded me of a very similar concoction I made twice in my life, both before blogging days. I wish I had saved the recipe to compare, but I think it was very similar, bread crumbs included

    My ex-Mother-in-law (are there really so many hyphens in that?) who is German, used to make the real thing, starting with stretching the dough to the point it was transparent – she used bed sheets and all sort of tricks to do it, but unfortunately I never watched her preparing the dough, only enjoyed the real thing a few times while married to her son.

    1. Joanna Post author

      I am not going to make strudel pastry, no checkered tablecloths for me. So hence I call these rollups, harking back to my days as a smoker, when I thought it was cool to smoke rollups. (Shakes head sadly at younger self…) I can barely manage pasta dough and quite honestly this brand of filo is fabulous, light and ethereal and the point of the exercise is to have something nice to eat with relatively little effort, if one excludes the endless peeling and chopping of apples part, of course if one happened to have some apples in the freezer, then they would be a good option too :) But these are really good and light and fun, if you keep them small and skinny and not big and overstuffed with filling, they are really just the thing for a treat that says pastry without overdoing it. I have to say I have been reading recipes for tarte au citron this weekend, the ones that involve nine eggs, loads of sugar and cream and that is just the filling, so these are virtue incarnate in comparision :)

  2. stitchinscience

    These look lovely, I have noted this recipe. Rice cakes are so boring aren’t they? I alternate with oatcakes with a scraping of really good honey. Somehow it seems virtuous.

    1. Joanna Post author

      I have learnt to appreciate rice cakes, having moved on from the ‘why am eating polystyrene ?’ thought that ran through my mind the first time I tried them. They are also popular with the dogs, though they tend to get sort of mashed into their long ear fur… I love oatcakes but I will sit and eat the whole packet…

  3. maree

    Yumoh!! These look so nice. I have done a similar recipe and they are really tasty.
    Lately I have been really naughty baking brown sugar & coconut pavs, with leftover eggwhites that were in the back of the freezer!! Have to make the morning walk longer to compensate:)

    1. Joanna Post author

      Hi Mariee, I have to confess I have never made a pav, though they do sound good :) Longer walks are always a good thing !

  4. ardysez

    They look and sound delicious, Joanna! I, too, do not sleep well if I’ve had something very sweet before retiring. Enjoyed the post, thank you!

    1. Joanna Post author

      I am glad to hear I am not the only one! Seriously I am practising not eating for at least four hours before bedtime. I usually fail miserably but I have managed it tonight. I really sleep so much better !

  5. Ann

    Those look good – I haven’t used filo pastry for ages.
    How do your dogs manage to get rice cake mashed into their ear fur? Have they morphed into spaniels?! It must be nasty and sticky to comb out. I do not like the things – eating polystyrene is a good description.

    1. Joanna Post author
        On the ear fur question… they eat with their heads and nose and ears all falling forward and down, their ear fur is long like a spaniel, reaches beyond the end of their noses and fluffy and thick. Hence the earclips when they eat their food usually :) Some poodles have their ears clipped to follow the ear more closely, ours have the long sort, for better lift when flying. The rice cakes have zero fat which means they can’t upset Lulu’s tum!
  6. heidiannie

    These look really good! I wish I could make all the sweets I like w/o having to make the ones Frank likes- then I would always have sweets and he could eat store bought stuff.
    I would make these and he would eat them and complain about them but not stop eating them until they were all gone. And then – well…..
    I guess I’ll just make his stuff and sneak some of mine in on the side.
    I made some sourdough and old dough buns today- I’m going to post on it later.

    1. Joanna Post author

      I love the image of Frank grumbling and eating them all Heidi, it sounds like something lots of us do, me included! I made a loaf of sourdough yesterday too! I am a bit out of practice lately as i have been making mostly the kefir sort, will look out for yours ! xx

  7. Misky

    This is exciting! It has huge possibilities for Peder. Ive never worked with filo pastry, so Ill be trying something completely new.

    1. Joanna Post author

      Filo is pretty easy, you can experiment to see how little fat you can get away with too, though I find without the brushing of butter it is a bit meh. Worth trying different brands as they do vary in tensile strength etc (I was thinking of you when I wrote this) . Can one get a powdered sweetener for dusting I wonder? You can use filo for all sorts, savoury and sweet/fruit etc. Good Luck!

      1. Misky

        I don’t think a slight snowing of powdered sugar will kill him. ;) Are your apples ‘eating’ apples or cooking variety? We ate all of our apples over Christmas, so I’ll have to buy some at the supermarket.

  8. Jan

    Those roll-ups look absolutely delicious. They would be such a treat for breakfast with some yogurt. Your apples look so pretty. I too get that night time yearning for chocolate or something sweet, but no way would I be strong enough to fill my mouth with polystyrene instead. I used to have a handful of sultanas and nibble them slowly, but then they started to give me the tummy tootles and I would have to scuttle into dark corners:) Now I occasionally have a fresh date, or two, which is soft and sweetly satisfying without causing me to be found giggling in dark corners!

    1. Joanna Post author

      I think ideally I shouldn’t be eating anything before bed, it is all about timing isn’t it? If we eat our main meal too early then I get the munchies by about 9.30 pm… Dates are good, fresh dates are spectacular, but the good ones here, the Medjool ones, cost an outrageous 80p each, last time I looked, so they fall into luxury nibble class :) I am getting quite fond of the polystyrene, spurred on by the dogs’ enthusiasm for them no doubt !

  9. cityhippyfarmgirl

    :-) Just chuckling at Jan’s comment.
    I used to have cereal o’clock which meant a bowl of cereal at 9pm. I’ve tried to kick that bad habit though and have raw almonds and dried dates these days. It sits far better in my belly than a bowl of cereal ever did.

  10. narf77

    Oh YUM! That’s really scrumptious looking :) Steve would love this but as it is forecast to be 100F tomorrow he has bucklies and none of me even contemplating turning on an oven of any kind. He is lucky I put a jar of peaches in the fridge for him…must be true love ;)

    1. Joanna Post author

      Had to look that one up, first I thought, Buckleys cough mix (Canadian) maybe you mean Steve had manflu? but then I consulted urban slang and found this:

      “Buckley’s no hope or chance (australian slang, also Buckleys)

      Buckley (1780-1856) was an English convict sent to Australia who escaped and survived against the odds for 32 years..” learnt something today

      Personally I would join the peaches in the fridge! xx


      1. narf77

        If I am not mistaken, Mr Buckley actually escaped rather than be sent to Tasmania! I think I prefer our Tassie temperatures (in the 30’s) rather than the N.S.W. temperatures in the 40’s Mr Buckley and you have “buckleys” of getting me to move there any day soon ;) . I would have to first move Earl and Bezial who are decamped in front of the fridge to climb in and cuddle the peaches ;)

        1. Joanna Post author

          Puts on her thermals and prepares to face the deluge of rain once more…. could do with some hot sunshine on my old bones, for a day or two, hey ho! xx

          1. narf77

            This is the kind of sunshine that bleaches your bones clean! Not the sort of thing that I wish to be participating in at the moment so I am indoors, “perspiring” (ladies don’t sweat ;) ) nicely over copious mugs (buckets) of tea and reading up a storm until it gets cool enough to head outside again. Only 60 odd days till your spring hits so you can start counting down. Just sent you an email :)

  11. thefoodsage

    ‘Wizening apples’ – what a lovely phrase. I have some of those in my fruit bowl – bought and uneaten and looking for a home. Now i’ve found one for them. Just need to buy the film. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Joanna Post author

      I try very hard to use everything that I grow in my back garden. I don’t grow masses so we either store, give away, preserve or freeze anything we can’t eat right away. Even my one apple tree produces loads of fruit. I hope you enjoy making them. You can wrap pretty much anything in filo after all :)

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