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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Poppy Seed Strudel

Friends were coming to our home for dinner and I wanted to try something different:  poppy seed strudel with walnuts.  Poppy seed strudel -- Makowiec --  and walnut strudel -- Orzechowiec -- are traditional Eastern European desserts.  I love them, but I thought I'd try a combination of the the two fillings.  Happy I tried. Everyone was satisfied, and I enjoyed leftover slices for breakfast.

Here is a recipe that will yield three strudels each about 12 inches long. 

Dough:

1 envelope dry yeast
400 grams flour
280 grams butter
1 egg
1 egg yolk
60 grams of sugar

Sift together the flour and yeast.  In a food processor, pulse the butter with the sugar.  When combined, add in the flour mixture and pulse until it resembles pea-sized crumbs.  Add the egg and egg yolk and pulse until the dough just comes together.  Remove the dough from the food processor, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for one hour.

Filling:

1 can (850 grams) of poppy seed filling or 2 (12 oz.) cans Solo brand filling*
150 grams ground walnuts**
zest of 1/2 of an orange
1 egg, lightly beaten

Remove the chilled dough from the refrigerator and divide into three equal parts. Roll each third of the dough out on a floured surface into a rectangle about 8" x 12" [or approx. 20 x 30 cm]. Spread the filling over the surface of the rectangle. [This isn't easy since the filling will be sticky.] Loosely roll up the filled dough and place on a greased baking sheet putting one strudel next to another on the same sheet.  [If the dough sticks to the rolling surface, help it along with a spatula.]  Brush the surface of the strudel with the beaten egg.  Bake in a preheated oven at 375 F for 40 minutes.  Cool before cutting and serve with or without powdered sugar on top.

 * While a poppy filling can be made with dry poppy seeds ground by hand, with sugar or honey and a bit of hot milk added, I find that canned poppy seed filings are just fine.  The Solo brand is readily available in the US, but I prefer the less sweet and more crumbly versions from Poland.

** Walnuts can be ground in a blender or food processor, but the result can be too oily and the walnuts may be uneven.  The best method, sorry to report, is to grind them by hand.

Walnut grinder from Esty.com
And, if you want to go all out, you can also grind the poppy seeds with a special mill:
A Czech poppy seed grinder from Cooking Treasures
Yes, I have one one these but, to tell the truth, I only used it once.  A bit too much work when there are good ready made products.



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