1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 cup ( 1/2 pint) vanilla ice cream (not premium
ice cream), at room temperature
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup apricot preserves
1 1/3 cups golden raisins
1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
For the dough: In a medium saucepan melt the butter slowly over low heat. Do not let it brown. Pour the butter into a large bowl. Add the ice cream and stir until the ice cream melts. The mixture will look lumpy.
Add the flour and stir until the flour is incorporated and a very soft dough forms. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight. The chilled dough should feel firm to the touch.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and divide it into 4 pieces. Roll one of the pieces of dough between your hands into a smooth ball. Do this quickly so that the dough does not soften.
Press the dough into a 1-inch-thick disk. Lightly flour a rolling surface and roll the dough to a 12 x 6-inch rectangle about 1/8 inch thick. Lift and turn the dough several times as you roll it so it doesn’t stick to the surface.
To fill the dough: The long side of dough should be facing you. Leaving a 1/2-inch edge all around, spread 2 tablespoons of the apricot preserves evenly over the dough. Sprinkle with 1/3 cup of raisins and 1/4 cup pecans. With the long side still facing you, roll up the strudel. Press the edges and seam together to seal tightly.
Repeat the rolling and filling with the 3 remaining pieces of dough.
To freeze: Roll each strudel strip tightly in heavy-duty foil. Freeze up to three months.
To bake: Set the oven at 375 degrees F.
Unwrap as many strudel strips as you want to bake. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil from the frozen strudel. Place the strudel, seam side down, on the baking sheet. If baking more than one strip of strudel, place the strips 2 inches apart.
Bake the strudel for 35 to 40 minutes, reversing the baking sheet from front to back halfway through cooking to ensure even browning. The crust should be golden brown. Let the strip cool for 10 minutes on the baking sheet.
With a long wide metal spatula, transfer the strudel to a rack to cool completely. On a board with a sharp knife, cut in a slight sawing motion on the diagonal so make eight pieces. Wrap baked strudel with plastic wrap and store up to three days at room temperature.