Recipe: Zucchini-Strudel

I’ve been hesitant to try strudel and palatschinken recipes because I’ve not had the time to practice making strudel dough and crepes. I am taking a bread and pastry class in the fall, and plan to use that time to also work on the many flour-related items that I want to learn: strudel dough, crepes, pierogi, and spaetzle. I’ve realized that I can use store bought dough in the meantime (oh, the horrors!), and so we begin.

Zuchini Strudel mit Würzige Käsesauce

Zucchini Strudel mit Würzige Käsesauce

Ingredients:
500 grams (18 oz) puff pastry (equivalent of 2 ready made pastry sheets)
1 tablespoon olive oil (for brushing)

For the filling:
100 grams (3.5 oz) bread cubes or plain stuffing (preferably from whole grain bread)
100 grams (3.5 oz) boiling hot milk
125 grams (4.4 oz) Bröseltopfen (can substitute cottage cheese)
1 egg
50 grams (1.8 oz) strong/”stinky” cheese, shredded (Tilsit, long-ripened mountain cheese, feta cheese, blue cheese or camembert)
500 grams (18 oz) zucchini (sliced ​​into strips with a planer or coarsely grated)
1 tsp herb salt
1 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp marjoram
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp thyme
a couple dashes liebstöckel*
a couple dashes pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp nutmeg

1. Preheat oven to 170 ° C (350 F) for a standard oven or 190 ° C (375 F) for a convection oven.

2. First, prepare the strudel filling: Put the bread cubes in a large bowl and pour the hot milk over them. Let cool for a couple minutes.

3.  Add the bröseltopfen, egg, strong cheese, and zucchini one at a time in that order, lightly stirring after each addition.

4. Season well. Lightly mix everything together with your hand or a wooden spoon.

5. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Unroll the pastry sheet on the parchment paper and lightly brush with oil.

6. Unroll the second sheet of pastry on top of the first and press down so the oil from the first sheet is distributed to the second. 

7. Remove the second sheet of dough and flip it so oiled side (that had contact with the first sheet of dough) is now up. Lightly press again to distribute oil.

8. Flip both the sheets together so the bottom of the first sheet is now at the top. Lightly press to distribute oil.

9. Spread the filling over the left third of the strudel dough. Fold over the top and bottom slightly so the filling does not fall out, then use the baking paper to roll the strudel starting with the filled side.

10. Place the strudel in the middle of the baking paper and bake for 50 minutes. The strudel is done when the core temperature is about 95 ° C (200 F). 

Tips:

— You can freeze the finished strudel. To defrost, brush with water and warm at 160 ° C (320 F) until the strudel is warmed the whole way through.

— You can substitute 500 grams (18 oz) leaf spinach for zucchini to make a spinach strudel. If using spinach, use 150% of the spices. For example, use 1 1/2 tsp dried parsley instead of 1 tsp.

*What is Liebstöckel, you ask? It translates to “lovage” and while this is amusing, it does not shed light on what it actually is. I did some research and discovered that it is a type of plant whose leaves taste kind of like celery, and the seeds are similar to fennel seeds. I am not sure whether this is available in the U.S., which leaves two possibilities: drying and grinding celery leaves as you would cilantro or basil, and using the dried leaves in place of Liebstöckel. The other option would be to skip it entirely. I suspect its flavor would not be missed due to all the other seasonings used, especially if you serve any sort of sauce over the strudel (as I did; recipe to follow).

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