Hungarian Nut Strudel (Rétes)
Strudel is a type of layered pastry with a filling that is usually sweet.
The traditional strudel pastry dough is very elastic. It is made from flour with a high gluten content, water, lard, vinegar, salt and egg, with no sugar added. The dough is worked vigorously, rested, and then rolled out and stretched by hand very thinly. Purists say that it should be so thin that you can read a newspaper through it. Making strudel from scratch requires special knowledge, practice and patience. It is time consuming so now I am sharing the recipe which uses store bought phyllo dough. Most common fillings are apple, cottage cheese, sour cherry, poppy seed and walnut.
4 sheets of phyllo dough
1 stick of butter
200 grams (0.45 pounds) of finely ground walnuts
50 grams (0.10 pounds) of coarsely chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon of lemon zest
1 handful of raisins – optional
1/2 cup of milk
1/2 cup of powdered sugar
1 coffee spoon of vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
In a pan brown the butter. Set aside.
Walnut filling: In a pan heat the milk with the sugar, bring it to a boil. Take the pan off the heat, add the ground and coarsely chopped walnuts, the raisins, the lemon zest and the vanilla extract. Mix well and let it cool completely.
Open the box of phyllo dough and slowly and carefully unroll the package.
Take one sheet and carefully lay it down on the wet towel. Carefully and GENTLY brush the sheet with browned butter. Place a second, third and layer, brushing each one as first.
Spread the walnut filling evenly on the side of the dough in a row. Roll it tightly and carefully transfer the roll to the baking tin. Brush the strudel with the browned butter.
Place it into the pre-heated oven and bake for about 25 minutes or until light brown.
Remove from the oven and let it cool. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve.