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Strudel - a Varied Dish from Austria

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Apple Strudel with Vanilla Sauce

Strudel is a dish consisting of dough rolled around a filling, which can be sweet or savoury. There are almost infinite variations of different fillings. It was invented in the lands of the Austrian Empire after the wars with the Turks and is closely related to dishes like Baklava. Today it is one of the most popular traditional foods in Austria and, just like dumplings, comes in a wide variety of flavours. Savoury strudel are eaten as main dishes or starters, while sweet strudel can be both main dishes or dessert. The name 'strudel' means 'swirl' or also 'whirlpool'.

In Austria, dough for strudel is available at the supermarket, ready to fill. If you are not able to find ready-made strudel dough, and do not want to go through the work of preparing your own dough, most fillings also work well with puff pastry, but be aware that the result is not quite the same as with the original dough.


  • 300g flour
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 1 egg
  • warm water (about 1/8 litre (125ml) - that's half a cup)
  • salt
  • a big table and a large cloth

Put the flour on the table in a heap and form a hole in the middle so it looks like a volcano. Place the egg (without shell), vinegar1 and oil into that hole instead of magma. Add a pinch of salt and mix it to a dough by adding the water. Knead the mixture until it doesn't stick on your hands any more. Form it into a ball, cover it with a bit of oil and let it rest for half an hour or longer.

Put the dough on a tablecloth, a sheet or something similar sprinkled with flour. Roll it with a rolling pin as thin as you can. Then carefully pull it thinner by sliding your hand under the dough. Support the dough with the back of your hand, then gently pull while making a fist. If you pull with your fingers, the dough will rip. It is said that you have to pull the dough thin enough to see the pattern of the cloth or read a newspaper through it. In the end cut off the thicker rim - or leave it if you don't mind having it in the strudel (some people even prefer these parts).

Rolling a Strudel

Spread the filling evenly on about 2/3 of the dough, leaving a small rim around it. Once all of the filling is on the dough fold the rim over the filling but not the part you left empty. Carefully start lifting the cloth on the side with the filling so the Strudel rolls slowly on itself. In the end the part you left empty will wrap around the strudel and keep the filling inside. Pinch the dough on both sides together so that the roll is closed properly.

Sweet Fillings

Apfelstrudel - Apple Strudel

The most famous kind of strudel.

Peel the apples, remove the core and cut them into thin slices. Then mix the slices with sugar and cinnamon. Roast breadcrumbs in a pan with butter until they are brown. Spread more melted butter on the dough. Then put the breadcrumbs and the apple mixture on about 2/3 of the dough and roll the strudel. Line a baking tray with baking paper and put the rolled strudel on it. Spread melted butter on it and let it bake for 45 minutes at 180°C.

When the strudel is done sprinkle some caster sugar on it. You can serve it with warm vanilla sauce or just eat without.

Topfenstrudel - Curd Cheese Strudel

  • 300g curd cheese
  • 120g butter
  • 100g sugar
  • 1/16 litre (63ml) cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • lemon zest (grated)
  • raisins (to taste)
  • ½ cup milk

Mix butter, sugar, vanilla sugar, the yolks of the eggs and the lemon peel and stir until the mixture is frothy. Then put in curd cheese, cream and the beaten egg white. Put this filling with raisins on the dough and roll it. Put it in a baking tin. Spread some melted butter on the strudel, then bake it for 45 minutes at 180°C.

After half of the baking time you can pour some hot milk over it. Serve with warm vanilla sauce.

You can combine this filling with different fruit like for instance apricots or blueberries.

Milchrahmstrudel - Milk and Sour Cream Strudel

  • 150g butter
  • 120g sugar
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 5 beaten egg whites
  • 7 stale bread rolls
  • 250ml sour cream
  • a pinch of salt
  • grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla sugar
  • raisins to taste
  • milk

Cut the crust off the rolls and soak the rolls in a cup of milk. Squeeze out the milk that is too much and mush the bread. Mix butter, sugar and yolks and beat them until frothy, then put in the rolls, salt, lemon peel, vanilla sugar and beaten egg whites. Spread it all on the dough, put raisins on top and roll the strudel. Spread a baking tin with fat and put in the strudel. Pour 1½ cups of boiling milk over it after half of the baking time. Serve with vanilla sauce.

Savoury Fillings

Gemüsestrudel - Vegetable Strudel

Prepare the vegetables by cutting and peeling whatever is necessary. You should have rather small pieces in the end. Of course you can also buy a frozen vegetable mix that is already prepared. Steam the vegetables in a pan until they are still firm to the bite. Add salt and pepper to taste. Let them cool off a bit, then mix with egg, sour cream and bacon and fill the strudel. Bake it at 180°C for about half an hour.

This strudel tastes great with a sauce made of yoghurt and herbs.

Krautstrudel - White Cabbage Strudel

  • 1 head of white cabbage
  • 1 white onion (chopped)
  • 100g bacon (optional)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • caraway
  • salt and pepper

Prepare the white cabbage by removing the outer leaves and stalk, then cut it into small pieces. Put it in a bowl and mix it with salt, then let it rest for about half an hour. Roast the onion in a pan with oil (and bacon if you like it) and add the sugar. Then add the cabbage as well as salt, pepper and caraway. It is done when it is already a bit brown.

Roll the strudel, then whisk the egg in a cup and spread it on the finished strudel. Bake it at 180°C for about half an hour.

Serve with a sauce made of yoghurt and garlic (you can add herbs if you like).

Fleischstrudel - Meat Strudel

  • 500g minced meat (beef and pork)
  • 1 onion (chopped)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • salt and pepper

Roast the onion in a pan with oil for a few minutes, then add the meat and roast until it is done. Add tomato paste and seasoning, then mix thoroughly. Let it cool before filling the strudel. Whisk the egg and spread it on the strudel, then bake the strudel at 180°C for about half an hour.

Other Strudel

Strudel can be filled with many other things. Cherries, rhubarb, grapes and other fruits can be used to fill strudel. There are also many more options for savoury fillings: spinach and feta go well together for instance, or sauerkraut and bacon, ham and cheese, or mushrooms. Lungenstrudel - filled with veal or pork lungs - is a delicious filler for beef bouillon.

There are also other kinds of dough used for strudel. One with yeast is often filled with walnuts or poppy seeds, for instance.

1A little bit of vinegar makes pulling out the dough easier later.

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