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Top Eastern European Strudel Recipes

Strudel Dough and Filling Recipes by Eastern European Country


Strudels exist in every culture. After all, a strudel is nothing more than a sweet or savory filling wrapped in a flaky dough or a yeast-raised dough and then baked. Eastern Europeans are strudel makers extraordinaire. The dough ingredients vary by region and nationality. Some call for only flour, water, salt and oil. Others use eggs, butter and vinegar (helps relax the gluten formation that would otherwise toughen the pastry), and yet others are made with yeast. Some require the filling to be spread on top of the entire surface of the dough and yet others call for just the first third of the dough to be spread with filling. And some people stretch their dough twice! And some say the dough should be dried first before filling and rolling so the leaves of pastry don't stick together. Others say the dough becomes too brittle.

Here are some of the most popular Eastern European sweet and savory strudel doughs and fillings. Feel free to mix and match the doughs and fillings that appeal to you and work best for you. Don't be discouraged if your first attempts at hand stretching strudel dough result in tears or a less than flaky product. As with all things, it takes a little practice and patience. Don't give up! This is one skill you want to pass on to your children and grandchildren. Besides, the failures are just as delicious as the perfect ones.

For an easier time of it, you can roll the dough with a rolling pin or make a more forgiving yeast-raised dough, or use purchased filo dough, which produces a very acceptable result. If you find traditional filo sheets too difficult to work with, try kore, which is partially baked filo dough. The sheets are thicker, less fragile and don't dry out so quickly. You will only need two leaves of kore to make each strudel because of its thickness versus three to four of traditional filo dough.

1. Bulgarian Cherry Strudel Recipe - Chereshata Shtrudel

Bulgarian Sweet Cherry Strudel
© Barbara Rolek licensed to About.com, Inc.
Sweet Bing cherries work great in this Bulgarian cherry strudel recipe (chereshata shtrudel). This dough is not made with yeast. It is a flaky dough but not one that will separate into sheets like filo. This dough can be rolled very thinly or stretched by hand, if desired. Here are step-by-step instructions for making Bulgarian cherry strudel.

2. Klara's Croatian Apple Strudel Recipe - Strudel od Jakuba

Apple Strudel
© Flickr by Pearlyn83
Klara Cvitanovich of Drago's Seafood Restaurant in New Orleans, used to make her pita or pastry dough by hand, but now with filo dough so readily available, she uses purchased filo dough with good results. You won't find her strudel on the menu of her family's restaurant, but this strudel and fritule and krostule are the desserts she serves for holidays. Here is more about the Cvitanovich family and Drago's Restaurant.

3. Croatian Sour Cherry Strudel Recipe - Fil za Strudlu s Tresnjama ili Visnjama

Croatian Sour Cherry Strudel
© Barbara Rolek licensed to About.com, Inc.
The dark Morello cherry is the traditional variety of cherry used in Eastern European cooking, but if fresh aren't readily available, jarred sour cherries can be used in this Crostian sour cherry strudel recipe (fil za strudlu s tresnjama ili visnjama). Barring that, the fire-engine red Montmorency cherries, known as pie cherries, are a very acceptable substitute. If you don't have the inclination to stretch your own strudel dough, #7 filo dough (thicker than #4 which is used for baklava) can be used.

4. Croatian Pumpkin-Cheese Strudel Recipe - Fil za Bučnica s Sirom

Croatian Pumpkin-Cheese Strudel
© Barbara Rolek licensed to About.com, Inc.
Pumpkin is very popular in Eastern Europe, both with Slavs and Balkans. Here it appears married with curd cheese in Croatian pumpkin-cheese strudel or fil za bučnica s sirom. This is an unusual recipe that is a welcome change in the fall and winter.

5. Croatian Savory Cabbage Strudel Recipe - Strudla s Kupusom or Savijača s Kupusom

Croatian Cabbage Strudel - Strudla s Kupusom
© 2010 Barbara Rolek licensed to About.com, Inc.
The filling for this savory Croatian cabbage strudel is made with onion and bacon and can be served as an appetizer when cut into small pieces, or as a side dish or main course. Of course, the bacon can be omitted for fasting days and instead of butter, oil would be used.

6. Hungarian Apple Strudel Recipe - Almás Rétes

Hungarian Apple Strudel
© Barbara Rolek licensed to About.com, Inc.
The dough for this Hungarian strudel uses an egg, sour cream and vinegar. Strudel dough recipes vary from country to country, region to region and family to family. What are standard operating procedures for one cook, would be unthinkable for another. Find a recipe you're comfortable with and which produces the result you like, and stick with it.

7. Hungarian Sweet Cabbage Strudel Recipe - Édes Káposztás Rétes

Hungarian Sweet Cabbage Strudel
© Barbara Rolek licensed to About.com, Inc.
This recipe for Hungarian sweet cabbage strudel is from chef Gale Gand. It was one her grandmother made when apples were too expensive. It's really delightful and easy to make with filo dough. Gand says many people think the filling is made with coconut. I call this Poor Man's Apple Strudel but there's nothing poor in the taste. Here are step-by-step instructions for making Hungarian sweet cabbage strudel.

8. Polish Almond Strudel Recipe - Strucla z Migdalowa

Polish Almond Strudel or Strucla z Migdalowa
© Barbara Rolek licensed to About.com, Inc.
This Polish strudel recipe is made with a yeast dough and is often known simply as almond roll. It is filled with canned almond paste which speeds up the process. Years ago (and still today), the almond filling was made from scratch. Polish makowiec or poppyseed strudel or roll is similar to this recipe in that the dough is yeast risen and it is rolled, not hand stretched.

9. Serbian Cheese Strudel Recipe - Sir Štrudla

Serbian Cheese Strudel
© Barbara Rolek licensed to About.com, Inc.
Cheese strudel is another favorite with Eastern Europeans, especially Balkans who make it in sweet and salty (savory) versions. This recipe calls for a hand-stretched strudel dough, but you already know the filo dough trick, so don't count that labor-saving option out. Hand stretching strudel dough is fast becoming a dying art. The Serbian sisters kolo of St. Sava church in Merrillville, Ind., stretch pounds and pounds of dough for all the major holidays and parish functions. Try stretching some dough. It's an art that needs to be passed on to your children and grandchildren, no matter what their ethnic heritage may be. Get involved and preserve this technique!

10. Ukrainian Fruit and Nut Strudel Recipe - Fruktovykh ta Horikhovykh Shtrudel

Ukrainian Fruit and Nut Strudel
© Barbara Rolek licensed to About.com, Inc.
This Ukrainian strudel dough uses no fat (except from the egg) because it is believed butter or oil will inhibit the formation of gluten so necessary for proper stretching of paper-thin strudel dough. The fruit-and-nut filling is somewhat unusual but nonetheless delicious and a new dessert to present for fall and winter holiday entertaining.
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