Ever since last year when I was he fell in love with cabbage, I collected recipes that present vegetables as a main dish. To that end, I’m so pleased to introduce Luis Weiss – you may know her as Wednesday chef blogger, author Classic German baking or remember her wonderful guide Berlin – who will share her recipe for krautstrudel or cabbage strudel …
Choosing a favorite recipe from a cookbook you wrote yourself is a bit like choosing a favorite child. But if you twist my arm, I’ll admit there’s a cabbage strudel least in the top five. Imagine the crackling, fluffy, thin rind of gooseberries surrounding silky threads of braised cabbage, chewed chunks of bacon, and the occasional salty crunch of cumin seeds, which in Central Europe are considered the soul mate of cabbage. See what I mean?
You may not remember this looking at the list of ingredients, but Krautstrudel is, as it is called in German, a surprisingly delicate dish. In Austria, a piece of it would be considered a light meal, and it would be best to eat it outdoors, with a glass of white wine (though I can’t help but think of it as a winter meal). Most people think of apples, plums or cherries when it comes to strudel fillings, but salty strudels stuffed with mashed or stewed mushrooms are also traditionally one of the best discoveries I’ve made while writing Classic German baking.
Now you can take a shortcut to a delicious strudel, regardless of the filling, packed with filo dough (also known as noodle dough, depending on the origin of your cod). Instructions for this are below. But let me tell you my case: part of the joy of homemade strudel is making the dough yourself, surprisingly calming and, yes, a simple task.
When I first started writing my cookbook, the strudel completely intimidated me. A high classic of Austrian cuisine, I thought that only old ladies in dirndls, who live in mountain villages, with decades of baking experience, can lay claim to mastery over these thinly thin, sharp layers. How would I ever learn?
But the truth is that making the perfect dough for strudels is really not difficult at all. (The icing on Sacher cake, well, that’s a different story.) It’s a lot less work than sourdough, for one, or any yeast dough, for another. In fact, I would call the strudel the perfect light but impressive baking project for this phase of our pandemic flu.
The dough is very simple: just flour, oil, salt and water are mixed for 10 minutes until they become soft and silky. I like to think of it as upper body training i meditative practice in one! (I told you it’s a perfect pandemic.) Long kneading gives a miraculous elastic dough, which is important because when the dough rests a bit, it should be rolled, pulled and stretched until it becomes so thin that you can hear the newspaper through it.
This is the hardest part, as it requires a bit of a mixture of gentle patience i moxie to roll and stretch the dough until it is the right size and thickness. But when you master that, and it happens quickly, I promise, you’ll start racing with strudels.
See the note at the bottom of the recipe if you plan to do this with phyllo from the store.
Make one strudel 16 inches / 40 cm long
Serves from 4 to 6
1 ¼ cups minus 1 tablespoon / 150 grams of flour for all purposes, plus more for dust
A pinch of salt
3 tablespoons sunflower oil or other neutral vegetable oil
1/3 cup / 80 ml cold water
2 tablespoons olive oil or vegetable oil
150 grams of bacon, diced
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 small head of green cabbage, chopped
¼ teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
Freshly ground black pepper
50 grams of unsalted butter
First make the dough: In a small bowl, mix the flour and salt. Pour the oil into the flour mixture, then slowly add the water, stirring with your index finger. Stir until the dough is combined, then toss it on the work surface (you may need to lightly dust with flour, but once you start kneading, you don’t need to add more.) Knead for 10 minutes (set the alarm clock; time will pass faster than you think) ). Finally, the dough should be soft, pliable and silky to the touch. Shape it into a ball and place it on the work surface. Turn the bowl over the dough and let it stand for 30 minutes.
While the dough rests, prepare the filling. Put the oil in a large pan. Put on a medium heat and add the bacon and then the onions. Saute for a few minutes, until the onion becomes translucent. Add the chopped cabbage and mix well. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Towards the end of cooking time, season with salt, cumin and black pepper to taste. Turn off the heat and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 200 ° C. Melt the butter in a small pan and set aside.
Spread a clean cotton or linen kitchen cloth measuring 60 x 80 cm on your work surface. Lightly sprinkle the flour over a towel. Place the strudel dough in the middle of the towel and roll it out several times in both directions with a narrowed roller. Then bend your hands into loose hands, place them under the rolled out dough and gently begin to roll out the dough with the backs of your hands. Alternately, gently pulling the dough with your fingers, continue to stretch the dough evenly. This requires patience and a certain amount of self-confidence; you don’t want the dough to crack, but you have to stretch the dough with a certain assertiveness. Finally, the dough should have dimensions of about 16 × 24 inches / 40 × 60 cm. Be sure to roll the edges of the dough as thin as you can. The dough should be evenly thin.
Coat all the strudel dough with melted butter. Scrape the cabbage over a quarter of the strudel dough along the longer side, leaving an edge of 3 cm at the edges. Gently fold the sides of the puff pastry over the stuffing, stretching slightly if necessary, then pull the bottom edge of the puff pastry over the stuffing. Working carefully, roll the strudel firmly over the remaining dough with a towel. Pull the end of the dough, thinning the dough while pressing lightly against the strudel. Using a towel as a strap, gently roll the strudel onto a baking sheet. You may need another set of hands for this. Spread the strudel generously with more melted butter.
Bake the strudel for 15 minutes, then remove from the oven and spread generously with melted butter. Bake for another 15 minutes, remove and coat with remaining butter. Bake for an additional 10 minutes. The strudel should be scaly and brown.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool 5 to 10 minutes before serving. Cut into 2 inch / 5 cm pieces and serve. The strudel is best on the day it is made, but it will stay at room temperature for an additional day or two and can be squeezed in an oven at 325 ° F / 165 ° C.
For making with Phyllo dough
I always make strudel dough from scratch, but if you want to try this recipe with filo dough, I would do this: First, find some filo dough. In the United States, it is usually sold frozen. (If you can find fresh filo, her!) In Germany, fresh filo dough can usually be found in Turkish grocery stores, where it is labeled as noodle dough. (I’m always glad to see this little culinary intersection of the Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian Empires!) Thaw the package, remove the three leaves, then rewind the remaining leaves and freeze again or use in a separate recipe. Melt 3 extra tablespoons of butter. Place a sheet of filo dough on a kitchen towel. Thinly coat with a tablespoon of melted butter, then place another sheet on top. Coat that sheet with another tablespoon of butter, then place the finishing sheet on top and coat that with the remaining butter. Then continue with the rest of step 4. To make sure the pastry sheets don’t dry out, prepare the cabbage stuffing before you start working with filo dough.
Thank you, Luisa!!