Cookie Strudel

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Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Makes

    10 to 12

    11½ by 2½ inch strudels; servings

Appears in

The Baking Bible

By Rose Levy Beranbaum

Published 2014

  • About
Oven Temperature 350°F/175°C
Baking Time 40 to 45 minutes

The tender dough used for this strudel reminds me of another of my favorite cookies: Rugelach. Actually, the dough is quite similar, only instead of cream cheese, it contains sour cream, and instead of being shaped into individual spirals, it is shaped into long, slim rolls. The incredible sour cream dough is easy to work with, but it bakes up fragile and flaky. It is not strong enough to use for a fruit filling, but is perfect for the rugelachlike filling of currants, nuts, and apricot preserves.

I discovered this very special heirloom recipe years ago when I stayed at the historic Mercersburg Inn in Mercersburg, Pennsylvania. Sandy Filkowski, the innkeeper, had to get permission from her mother, Dorothy Thompson, who created this recipe many years ago and who has never before divulged it. It is a perfect treat for an afternoon tea or after dinner dessert to serve with coffee.

Plan Ahead The strudel is best made a minimum of 6 hours ahead.

Ingredients

Cookie Dough

Makes 12.5 ounces/354 grams

VOLUME WEIGHT
bleached all-purpose flour 1 cup (lightly spooned into the cup and leveled off) plus 1 tablespoon 4.5 ounces 128 grams
fine sea salt teaspoon plus ¹⁄₁₆ teaspoon . 1.1 grams
unsalted butter (70° to 75°F/21° to 23°C) 8 tablespoons (1 stick) 4 ounces 113 grams
sour cream ½ cup 4.3 ounces 121 grams

Filling

VOLUME WEIGHT
pecans or walnuts, coarsely chopped ½ cup 2 ounces 57 grams
dried currants ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons 2 ounces 56 grams
ground cinnamon teaspoon . .
apricot preserves ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons 7 ounces 200 grams

Topping

VOLUME WEIGHT
sugar ½ tablespoon . 6 grams
ground cinnamon ¼ teaspoon . .
milk 1 tablespoon (15 ml) 0.5 ounce 15 grams

Special Equipment

One 15 to 12 inch cookie sheet, lined with parchment or aluminum foil

Method

Make the Dough

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Add the butter and sour cream and mash and stir with a wooden spoon until the mixture forms a ball.

Chill the Dough

Divide the dough in half, about 6.2 ounces/177 grams each, and scrape each piece onto a sheet of plastic wrap. Using the plastic wrap, knead each half of the dough several times until it becomes one smooth piece. There should be no visible pieces of butter. Press and form each piece into a 4 by 4 inch square. Refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours or up to overnight.

Make the Filling

In a medium bowl, with a fork, stir together the pecans, currants, and cinnamon until well mixed.

Roll the Strudel

On a floured pastry cloth with a floured rolling pin, or between floured sheets of plastic wrap, roll the first piece of dough into an 11 by 9 inch rectangle. Turn the dough two or three times and flour it lightly as necessary to be sure it does not stick.

Spread half of the apricot preserves (¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon/3.5 ounces/100 grams) evenly over the dough, leaving a margin of about ½ inch all around. Sprinkle half of the filling mixture evenly over the apricot.

Using the pastry cloth or plastic wrap to lift the dough along the long side, roll up the dough, brushing off the excess flour as you go. Flip the roll onto the lined cookie sheet, seam side down. Tuck the ends under ½ inch. The strudel will be 10 by 2 inches.

Repeat with the remaining dough and filling. Place the second strudel next to the first, leaving at least 1 inch between them. With a small sharp knife, cut 3 or 4 small horizontal steam vents into the top of each strudel. Bake at once, or cover the strudels with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 24 hours before baking.

Preheat the Oven

Twenty minutes or longer before baking, set an oven rack at the highest level and preheat the oven to 350°F/175°C.

Make the Topping

In a small bowl, stir together the sugar and cinnamon.

Bake the Strudel

Bake for 20 minutes. After the strudel has baked for 20 minutes, with a pastry brush, brush each roll with milk and sprinkle the rolls evenly with the cinnamon sugar topping. For even baking, rotate the cookie sheet halfway around. Continue baking for 20 to 25 minutes, or until lightly browned.

Cool the Strudel

Set the cookie sheet on a wire rack. Cool completely.

The inside of the pastry has the best texture if allowed to sit for at least 6 hours before serving.

To serve, use a serrated knife to cut ½ inch diagonal slices. For a crisper texture, place the slices, cut side down, on an aluminum foil–lined cookie sheet and bake at 350°F/175°C for 10 minutes before serving.

Store

Airtight: room temperature, 5 days; refrigerated, 8 days; frozen, 3 months.