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When an unintended but quickly modified and rather easy dessert idea becomes perfection in its simplicity ! Yes, I am proud of this accident, which is why I tested it again and why I’m sharing this crunchy, fruity and gooey baklava-style apple dessert with you. 

I had planned to prepare something different. It was going to be a small spiral apple pie using filo sheets (of which I had 8 sheets in the refrigerator) instead of making regular pie dough or puff pastry for the apple filling.

I had prepared everything, planning the weights and proportions. I knew I wanted equal parts of filo dough and apple slices and half as much butter and sugar, and of course a few extra flavorings. 

I wanted a syrup too, to drench the dessert, once it was baked and I preferred getting it directly from the marinated apples slices which were going to release their liquids, instead of opening up a bottle of apple juice.

Everything seemed okay until I tried shaping the rolled apple and filo sheets assembly into a tight little spiral to fit into a small enameled baking dish but I started seeing tears. The apple slices were too thick and the filo couldn’t be spiralled that tightly, so I patched them up with a bit of filo and melted butter, but that wasn’t going to work for a tight snail-like spiral shape.

I quickly rummaged through the cabinets for a bundt pan that would allow me to curve the rolled assembly without tearing it apart. My filo and apple assembly was almost long enough to make a doughnut shape but I had to patch up the small missing gap with extra filo. If I had known this was going to happen, I would have used a measuring tape and measured the circumference of the bundt pan and planned it out mathematically. This is what I did the second time.

Thickening the remaining apple & sugar liquid was always my intention but adding the cornstarch wasn’t, but it works perfectly, binding it all into a syrupy and glossy glaze, with a little apple brandy and vanilla to boost it !

And the flaked almonds ? That was just a last minute idea. And why not add a few tablespoons of almond powder to the strained apple slices ? Maybe next time ...

Just to be clear, the very thin apple slices are marinated in a mixture of sugar, lemon and lime juice and some cornstarch until they release their juices, become softer, stickier and easy to bend so they can handle being curved.

The resulting liquid, like sweetened apple juice, is saved, because later, part of it is used, boiled down with some extra sugar and thickened until it becomes the glazing syrup of the dessert.

The filo sheets, usually available in 500 grams rolls, sometimes weigh 20 grams each when there are 25 sheets per pack or could weigh up to 30 grams each when there are only 17 sheets per pack. Count them and do the math. The size is rather standard though, every filo sheet usually and approximately measures 30 x 40 cm each. 

Don’t forget to measure the outer circumference of your bundt pan with a tape measure and create a large and wide filo sheet assembly of that length, overlapping and layering the sheets with melted drizzled butter.

I’ve given you very precise measurements, but a little more or a little less makes no difference in the end. Fill it up, roll it up, sprinkle it, bake it, pour the syrup over the baked apple and filo pie, let it cool down a bit, invert it out, flip it upright again (and not upside down) and you’ve got yourself a lovely and simple dessert.

So proud indeed.

Take care my fellow “second wave lockdown” mates … :)

rolled apple & filo baklava crown


650 grams for 8 servings


apple slices :

  • 300 grams (2 ½ cups) apple slices, sliced very thinly (from 2 whole apples weighing 325 grams total)
  • 100 grams (½ cup) sugar
  • 12,5 grams (1 tbsp) cornstarch
  • 30 ml (2 tbsp) lemon and/or lime juice
  • 1 gram (¼ tsp) sea salt

filo dough :

  • 250 grams (8-12 sheets) filo dough (check the weight and size of your sheets)
  • 125 grams (½ cup) butter, melted

syrup for drenching & glazing :

  • 125 ml (½ cup) apple & sugar liquid (from strained apple slices)
  • 25 grams (2 tbsp) sugar (or up to 50 grams or 4 tbsp)
  • 15 ml (1 tbsp) apple brandy (or cognac or more juice)
  • 5 ml (1 tsp) vanilla extract (or 1 scraped vanilla bean)
  • 6 grams (½ tbsp) cornstarch (to thicken the syrup faster)
  • 1 gram (¼ tsp) ground cinnamon powder

decorative garnish :

  • 15 grams (2 ½ tbsp) flaked almonds


  • peel and core the apples, slice them thinly (2 mm thick) and immediately transfer them to a bowl of water so they don’t brown until all are sliced, strain them well, add the lemon and/or lime juice and add the sugar, cornstarch and salt (that you combined together earlier) and mix well, then let sit for 30-45 minutes until the apple slices release at least ½ cup - ¾ cup of liquid, then strain them and reserve the slices separately from the liquid
  • *note : the apple slices, after releasing their liquid, will approximately weigh approximately 250 grams and the released liquid will weigh 180 grams …
  • measure the outside circumference of your bundt pan, lay 2 large sheets of baking paper on your work surface (slightly wider than what you measured) and melt the butter, then lay 3 sheets of filo side by side (the shorter sides toward you) with a slight overlap of a few centimeters (brush the overlap between the 2 sheets of filo with melted butter), drizzle some melted butter on top (leave gaps), then lay 3 more sheets on top and drizzle again and finally add 2 or 3 more sheets with more drizzling (save some butter for the rolling)
  • *note : I used a bundt pan with an inner diameter of 24 cm and an outer circumference of 75 cm, circumference = Pi or 3,14 x diameter but it’s easy to use a tape measure too; my filo sheets measure 30 x 40 cm each so I used 3 sheets per layer, overlapping each sheet by 3,5 cm so all 3 sheets together measured at least 75 cm wide by 40 cm long …
  • preheat the oven to 200°C with the rack on the bottom
  • lay out the apple slices towards the bottom of the 3 or 4 layers of filo sheets, leaving an edge of at least 5 cm, even out the apple slices, grab the ends of the baking paper lift and roll the buttered filo sheets over the apple slices, brush the outside of the roll with some melted buter and keep rolling by lifting the baking paper and keep brushing the outside part of the roll with some butter until it is all fully rolled up (but not too tight either)
  • carefully lift (with an extra pair of hands if possible) the rolled apple dessert and place inside a slightly buttered bundt pan, press down slightly until slightly flattened, sprinkle with flaked almonds (if you have some butter left over, drizzle it onto the flaked almonds)
  • bake for 25-30 minutes until golden and crispy
  • *note : you can increase the syrup amount if you like because you’ll have approximately ¾ cup of this liquid after straining the apple slices, but if you do use it all, add 2 additional tbsp of sugar …
  • prepare the syrup with at least ½ cup of the reserved apple and sugar liquid, bring to a quick boil, add 2 tbsp more sugar and simmer until dissolved and reduce heat to medium (keep the extra liquid just in case the syrup thickens too much and you have to thin it out with more liquid)
  • combine the apple brandy, vanilla extract, cinnamon and cornstarch together and whisk until smooth, then add the mixture to the gently simmering juice and sugar mixture, keep simmering and keep stirring until it slightly thickens to a thin syrupy texture (as thick as maple syrup but not much thicker) and set aside to cool down a little bit
  • remove the baking dish from the oven, pour the slightly warm and thickened syrup glaze on top of the very hot rolled apple and filo crown (it will sizzle), let it sit for 10 minutes, then remove the dessert from the baking dish by placing an inverted plate on top of the bundt pan and by inverting it onto the plate, then flip the dessert over again onto a different plate (so it is upright and not upside-down) and let cool down before slicing and serving …
  • *note : several almond flakes will stick to plate when you remove the dessert from the bundt pan, simply place them back onto the top of the rolled apple and filo crown, once inverted in an upright position.