Place the oven rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Combine the first 7 ingredients in a bowl. Lightly brush one sheet of phyllo pastry with melted butter. Top with another sheet and brush it lightly with butter. Repeat these steps until all the phyllo is used. Place the layered phyllo on a large, parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Spoon on the apple mixture, shaping it into a long narrow rectangle along the bottom of the pastry. Fold over the sides of the pastry, about 2 inches on either side, and then carefully roll the filling into the pastry. Brush the top of the strudel with a little melted butter. Make small, diagonal cuts, about 2 inches apart, into the top of the pastry to make it easier to cut after baking. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until puffed and golden. Allow it to rest for 15 minutes before slicing with a sharp, serrated knife. Dust portions with icing sugar and, if desired, serve with whipped cream.
Note: To plump up the raisins before baking, soak them in 1 cup of hot water for 30 minutes. Drain well and they are ready to use. You’ll find phyllo pastry in the freezer section. Thaw before using.
Recipe Options: Instead of apples, use three ripe pears, halved lengthwise, cored and thinly sliced, Use dried cranberries rather than raisins. And for a sweet crust, sprinkle the top of the strudel with a little granulated sugar just before baking.