While strudel may be most associated with Austrian cuisine today, this flaky pastry was originally composed of influences from countries throughout the former Austro-Hungarian Empire. Each of these countries have nourished their ways in preparing this exquisite pastry to a fine art.
The best-known kinds of strudel are made with fruit or cheese fillings but savory fillings are also common such as cabbage and eggplant.
This recipe makes 1 large strudel.
2 3/4 cups (350 grams) bread flour
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup (55 grams) unsalted butter, plus extra for basting
1 egg, beaten
1 cup (250 ml) water
In a large bowl, add the flour and the salt. Add the 1/4 cup of butter and mix until pieces are the size of small peas.
In a small bowl, stir together the beaten egg and the water. Add egg mixture to flour mixture. Mix until combined.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead dough for 15 minutes. If necessary, knead in some or all of the remaining flour if dough is sticky. Let dough rest at room temperature for 1 hour.
Cover a table with a clean, smooth cloth. The cloth should hang over the sides of the table.
Flour the cloth. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out as large and flat as possible.
Flour the back of your hands, make fists and place them under the sheet of dough. Stretch the dough carefully using your knuckles, pulling your hands gently apart. Move around the table to work from all sides.
Brush with extra melted butter and sprinkle with breadcrumbs, then keep on stretching it until it is very thin, taking care not to tear it; you should be able to see through the dough.
Trim the edges to the shape of a large rectangle.
Lay desired filling on long side of dough in a row. Leave a couple of inches between the filling and the edges of the dough.
Use the cloth to help roll strudel away from you. Tuck the first turn in tightly. Roll tightly to maintain shape. Tuck in the side edges of dough as you go.
Transfer strudel to a buttered or parchment lined baking sheet.
Brush with a little more melted butter if desired. Make several incisions at regular intervals on top of pastry for steam to escape.
Bake in 400°F (200°C) oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until crisp and golden. Transfer to rack or serving platter. Dust with icing sugar and serve warm.
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Suzanne Urpecz, creator and editor of The Hungarian Girl. Click on my About page for more info.