Sunday, 14 March 2010

Sunday Treats: Strudel

Sunday Treats #3


Biting in this soft, warm light dessert you are transported back in time: you hear the waltz, see frilly frocks and horse drawn carriages. Its origin is traced back to the Austro-Hungarian Empire and has conquered the world since. It is called 'rétes' in Hungarian, but the world got to know it under its German name 'Strudel'.

Up until the last couple of months I wasn't too fond of the strudel as I imagined it must be a complicated dessert, the preparation of which was not only lengthy but also difficult. I couldn't have been more wrong! Since you can buy strudel sheets in pre-prepared packages in most stores the preparation of this delicious and extraordinary dessert only takes about 20 minutes.

The strudel can be sweet or salty and can be filled with anything, just a few ideas to inspire you: some salty fillings: spinach and ricotta filling, broccoli puree, pumpkin, cheese paste, bolognese sauce (almost like the one you use on spaghetti, but make it a lot less liquid or else it will leak out!!), some sweet fillings: apple, sour cherry, quark/curd cheese and raisins, poppy seed, etc.
/ETA: the instructions concerning the filling may sound much more complicated than it is in reality, so don't alarm yourself, once you start doing it you'll see how easy it is./

Preparation time: 10 minutes + 10 minutes baking time

Use 3 sheets of strudel sheet for 1 roll.

Ingredients for sour cherry filling: (for 3-4 bars)  Mix everything together:

1000 gr sour cherry (canned or fresh)
150 gr sugar (depending on how sour the cherries are)

Ingredients for quark/curd cheese & raisins filling:  (for 3 bars)

500 gr quark/curd cheese (use the kind of cheese you would use for cheesecakes)
2 eggs
3 spoons of cream
2 spoons of semolina
150 gr sugar
50 gr raisins
1 lemon's skin and juice
oil for greasing the strudel sheets
fine bread crumbs

1. Preheat the oven to 200 Celsius and put baking paper on a baking tin.

2. Separate the egg yolks and whites and mix the yolks with the curd cheese, sugar, cream, lemon skin and juice, semolina and raisins.

3. Whip the egg whites until they are hard, then gently mix the whites in the curd cheese mixture.

4. Wet a kitchen cloth and put it on the kitchen table. Gently peel off one strudel sheet from the package and lay it down on the wet cloth. With a cooking brush grease the sheet with oil, don't soak it, just thinly oil the whole surface, then lay a second sheet on the oiled first one and grease this second sheet too, then do it again with the third sheet. Once the third sheet is oiled too, thinly sprinkle it with fine bread crumbs (it will absorb the extra moisture from the filling and thus preventing it from soaking the strudel sheets).

5. Put the filling in an approx. 4 cm wide line, but leave approx 2 cm on each side as well as 4-5 cm from the edge of the sheet. With the help of the wet cloth roll up the strudel sheet, put the roll on the baking tin and tuck its edges under, so the filling won't leak out.

6. Oil the top of the roll and bake it for approx. 10 minutes, until it is golden. Let it cool a bit before slicing up the roll in diagonal pieces.

Tell me what kind of strudel you made and what filling you whipped together, would love to try out new ones!

Guten Appetit! (just to stay in tone with the Austro-Hungarian Empire setting ;-) )

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