Strudel (and more specifically Apple strudel) was first created by
Viennese bakers. Traditional strudel dough uses high gluten flour which is
mixed with water and fat and then stretched; to a paper-thin consistency
without tearing (this is WAY harder than it sounds). It takes literally a
lifetime to master the art of making strudel dough. In fact, the best
strudel makers I know are well over 70 years of age and learned the craft
from their mothers.
Making strudel dough the old-fashioned way took hours of rolling and
pulling just to get the right thickness. Today, we tend to skip all the
pressing and stretching and take a shortcut by using phyllo dough. You
just have to thaw the tissue like sheets and brush them with butter or
margarine to turn them golden and flaky savory or sweet treat. The key to
working with phyllo dough is to keep it wrapped in a damp towel while you
are preparing the strudel. If phyllo gets dry, it will crack and break. I
like to place the phyllo sheets on a sheet of plastic wrap, cover with
another sheet of plastic wrap; then place a damp kitchen towel on top of
the film. I have found that placing a damp towel directly on top of the
phyllo will make the sheets of dough sticky and gummy.
The following strudel recipes (except for my grandmothers) are all the
“take the easy way” phyllo dough kind of recipes. They run the gamut from
sweet to savory and while perfect for any Yom Tov meal
but are guaranteed to be gobbled up any time you serve them.
Quick notes -
You can substitute a pareve margarine for butter
but the taste of the end product will be different. DO NOT use diet
margarine. The water content is too high and the dough will be mushy.
Always slash the top of your strudel before baking. Slashing the top of
the strudel before baking allows steam to escape and ensures a crisp
MY GRANDMOTHERS STRUDEL DOUGH
This dough is LOADED with calories but so delicious it melts in your mouth
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup flour
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/3 cup warm water
1/2 cup butter, melted
filling of your choice
In a bowl combine the salt, flour and egg. Add water. Mix dough quickly
with a knife, then knead on board, stretching it up and down to make it
elastic, until it leaves the board clean. Toss on a small, well-floured
board. Cover with a hot bowl and keep it warm 1/2 hour or longer.
To stretch the dough, have materials for filling ready before stretching.
Work quickly. Lay dough in center of a well-floured tablecloth on table
about 30 x 48 inches. Flour dough. Roll into a long oval with rolling pin.
Brush dough with 1/4 cup of the melted butter. With hands under dough,
palms down, pull and stretch the dough gradually all around the table,
toward the edges, until it hangs over the table and is as thin as paper.
Cut off dough that hangs over edge and drip 1/4 cup more butter over
surface of dough.
To fill, roll and shape, sprinkle your filling over 3/4 of the greased
stretched dough. Fold a little of the dough at one end over the filling.
Hold the cloth at that end high with both hands and the strudel will roll
itself over and over, like a large jellyroll. Trim edges again. Twist roll
into a greased 16 x 11-inch pan or cut into 3 strands and lay them side by
side in pan. To bake strudel, brush top with more melted butter and slash
the top at 1/2 to 3/4 inch intervals. Bake at 400 for 1/2 hour.
Reduce oven temperature to 350 and bake 1/2 hour longer, or until brown
and crisp. Brush well with butter from time to time during baking, using
all together about 1 cup melted butter for the strudel with its fillings.
Makes several dozen pieces depending on the size you cut. This recipe can
be doubled BUT not tripled.
APPLE STRUDEL WITH CRANBERRY SAUCE (dairy or pareve)
Lightly sweetened whipped cream is a nice addition to this delicious
2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries (about 8 ounces)
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
3 tablespoons kosher kirsch (clear cherry brandy)
1/4 cup raisins
1 1/2 tablespoons kirsch (clear cherry brandy)
3 medium Granny Smith apples (about 18 oz), peeled, cored, cut into
1/2 cup plus 9 teaspoons gingersnap cookie crumbs
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter or margarine, melted
9 sheets fresh phyllo pastry or frozen, thawed
Combine cranberries, sugar, water and kirsch in heavy medium saucepan.
Bring to boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to medium and
cook until most of berries burst, about 10 minutes. Cool slightly.
Transfer to processor and puree. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and
refrigerate. Rewarm over low heat before serving.)
Combine raisins and kirsch in small bowl. Let stand 1 hour. Preheat oven
to 375. Combine apples, 1/2 cup crumbs, 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
and raisin mixture bowl.
Brush large baking sheet with some of melted butter or margarine. Place 1
phyllo sheet on work surface with 1 long side parallel to edge of work
surface (cover remaining phyllo with plastic and damp towel). Brush phyllo
with melted butter. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon gingersnap crumbs over. Top with
second phyllo sheet. Brush with butter; sprinkle with 1 teaspoon
gingersnap crumbs. Repeat with remaining phyllo sheet, melted butter and
gingersnap crumbs. Spoon apple mixture in 3-inch-wide log along 1 long
side of phyllo, leaving 2-inch border at long and short edges. Fold bottom
long side over filling, then fold in short sides and roll up jelly roll
style. Carefully transfer strudel to prepared baking sheet, seam side
down. Brush top of strudel with butter. Bake strudel 15 minutes. Brush
with remaining butter. Bake until golden, about 30 minutes. Cool on sheet.
Lightly sift powdered sugar over strudel. Cut strudel crosswise into thick
slices. Transfer to plates. Spoon sauce around strudel and serve. 6
Bon Appétit November 1995
APPLE RAISIN STRUDELS WITH VANILLA CREAM (dairy)
For the strudels:
1/2 cup fine dry bread crumbs
7 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter or margarine
1 1/2 pounds tart apples, such as Granny Smith, peeled, quartered, and
sliced thin crosswise
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
12 17- by 12-inch sheets of phyllo
For the whipped cream:
1 cup well-chilled heavy cream
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
In a small skillet cook the bread crumbs in 1 1/2 tablespoons of the
butter over moderate heat, stirring, until they are golden and transfer
them to a large bowl. To the bread crumbs add the apples, the granulated
sugar, the raisins, and the cinnamon and toss the mixture well. On a work
surface arrange an18-inch-long-piece of wax paper with a long side facing
you, cover it with 1 sheet of the phyllo, and brush the phyllo lightly
with some of the remaining butter, melted. Layer 5 more sheets of the
phyllo over the first sheet in the same manner, brushing each sheet
lightly with some of the melted butter, and mound half the apple mixture
evenly along the long side facing you, leaving a 2-inch border at each
end. Using the wax paper as a guide and rolling away from you, roll up the
strudel tightly and, with the seam side down, fold the ends under to
enclose the filling. Transfer the strudel carefully to a lightly buttered
jelly-roll pan and brush it with some of the remaining melted butter. Make
another strudel with the remaining phyllo, melted butter, and apple
filling in the same manner and transfer it to the jelly-roll pan. Bake the
strudels in the middle of a preheated 375°F. oven for 35 to 45 minutes, or
until they are golden, and let them cool to warm in the pan on the rack.
The strudels may be made 1 day in advanced and kept covered loosely at
room temperature. Reheat the strudels in a preheated 400°F. oven for 15
minutes. Transfer the strudels with slotted spatulas carefully to serving
platters and dust them with the confectioners' sugar.
Make the whipped cream:
In a chilled bowl with an electric mixer beat the heavy cream, the
confectioners' sugar, and the vanilla until the mixture holds soft peaks
and transfer it to a serving bowl. Serve the strudels warm, sliced
diagonally, with the whipped cream. Makes 2 strudels.
Gourmet February 1992
BANANA CHOCOLATE STRUDEL (dairy or pareve)
4 phyllo sheets,
3 tablespoons unsalted butter or margarine, melted
2 firm-ripe bananas
2 oz fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), finely
1 large egg, beaten with 1 teaspoon water
Confectioner’s sugar for dusting
sweetened whipped cream or non dairy topping
Preheat oven to 425. Arrange 1 phyllo sheet on a work surface with a
short side of phyllo nearest you, keeping remaining sheets covered, and
brush with some butter. Top phyllo with 3 more sheets of phyllo, brushing
each with butter or margarine. Arrange bananas one above the other,
horizontally, on lower third of phyllo, leaving a 1-inch border on both
sides (trim bananas if too long). Sprinkle chocolate over bananas, then
fold the sides of phyllo toward middle (over ends of bananas). Fold bottom
edge of phyllo over bananas and roll up bananas in phyllo. Transfer
strudel, seam side down, to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or
to a buttered baking sheet, then brush strudel with beaten egg. Cut 4
(1/2-inch-long) steam vents diagonally along top of strudel with a sharp
knife. Bake in middle of oven until golden, about 12 to 15 minutes. Cool
slightly on a rack, and then dust with confectioner’s sugar. Makes 6
PUMPKIN OR BUTTERNUT SQUASH STRUDEL ROSES (dairy or pareve)
This is an extremely simple and versatile recipe, as you can adapt it to
any taste, even savory.
2 cups baked butternut squash or canned pumpkin
1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar
30 sheets of defrosted phyllo dough
1/2 cup butter or margarine
Preheat oven to 400. If using butternut squash, pierce flesh and bake
in 400 degree oven for 1 1/2 hours. Whether using pumpkin or squash, you
will need to place it in a strainer overnight to allow excess moisture to
drain. In a large bowl combine the squash, walnuts, salt, cinnamon, and
sugar. Mix to combine and Season to taste with more of any of the
ingredients you like. Cut the phyllo sheets to 6 inch by 12 inch pieces.
Keep covered with a damp towel. Place one piece on work surface and brush
with butter or margarine. Place another sheet on top and brush again.
Spoon the pumpkin/squash filling in a 1/2 inch line, lengthwise, leaving
1/2 inch of dough on three sides. Fold the ends of dough over the ends of
the filling. Fold the small piece of long edge over the length of the
filling and ‘loosely' roll to wrap filling in remaining 5 inches of dough.
Now, coil the rope to make a ‘rose'. Place on parchment lined baking sheet
and brush with butter and slash every 1/2 to 3/4 inch on the top to allow
the steam to vent. Bake for approx 20 minutes, until golden and crispy.
You can sprinkle tops with cinnamon sugar mixture if you want a sweeter
strudel. Serves 6.
Eileen Goltz, a
professional chef and caterer, is the author of the new cookbook,
© Eileen Goltz 2004