Tuesday, 26 Jan 2021

Poppy and Pumpkin Strudel

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New Year’s Cookbook

Hector Jimenez-Bravo



The designation strudel is derived from “stredan”, the Old High German word for “to surge, to roar”, and refers to the spiral shape. The origin of dough is probably the Near East. One can assume that during Moorish times, strudel dough was brought from North Africa to Spain and France, and then to North and East Europe. In historic cookbooks (“Granat-Apffel cookbook” of 1699)strudel dough is called Spanish dough. However, in Moorish Spain, the dough was not stretched but thin sheets of dough were layered one on top of the other.

During the Turkish wars in the 16th and 17th centuries, dough came via Balkan and Hungary to Vienna. The durable dough was perfectly suited as marching ration. Moreover, Janissaries brought the Turkish dessert “Baklava” to Austria. It is made of thin pastry layers which are filled with nuts and sweetened with honey. For a long period Hungarians were world-renowned experts in the preparation of strudel (“rétes” in Hungarian). Hungarian wheat flour was rich in gluten which resulted in very smooth dough.

Even the patissier of the famous Parisian Hotel Ritz came to Budapest to study the perfect preparation of dough. Consequently, “Rétes hongrois” (Hungarian Strudel) became a speciality of the Hotel Ritz in the first half of the 19th century. Allegedly, Empress Maria Theresia (1717-1780) made strudel highly acceptable in society and became famous throughout the entire Austria-Hungarian Monarchy. Viennese apple strudel was so popular that a big, green and slightly sour apple variety was named “Strudler” due to its special suitability for apple.

Today, “Strudler” is used for various apple varieties characterized by their sour flesh. In Vienna, it was further developed. Thus, Viennese strudel cuisine offers numerous variations of strudel with various fillings, among them fruits, vegetables, meat and meat products, and curd cheese. Nowadays, the term “strudel” is used for filled, baked or boiled dough rolls based on strudel dough, filo pastry, short pastry, or yeast dough.

Poppy and Pumpkin Strudel - photo 1



“Strudel” is derived from “stredan”, the Old High German word for “to surge, to roar” and refers to the coiled shape of strudel. The designation  is found in a handwritten cookbook of 1629. In 1715, the “Frauenzimmer-Lexicon” (women lexicon) of Amaranthes (pseudonym of Gottlieb Siegmund Corvinus) describes as a pastry curved like a snail shell. The terms “Struggls”, “Strugl”, “Struchl”, or “Strudl” are found in handwritten notes of the 16th century, while “Strudl” has been common since the 18th century. The English word is a loanword from German and relates mainly with sweet fillings.

Poppy and Pumpkin Strudel - photo 2

Apple fillings 


Before the invention of the domestic baking oven, strudel was baked in a covered cast iron pan (“Reinstrudel”) over open fire. In rural kitchens, it was also boiled. The earliest handwritten recipe for Mülch Raumb Strudl (milk and cream strudel) is found in an anonymous cookbook (“Koch-Puech”) of 1691. In 1699 the designation “Milch-Rahm-Strudel” appears in “Ein gantz neues und nutzbares Koch-Buch“ (Granat-Apffel cookbook). Since the 18th century, Austrian cookbooks have referred to recipes with various fillings, among them apples, almonds, semolina, rice, curd cheese, milk and cream, poppy, nuts, potatoes, cabbage or mushrooms.

In 1827, Anna Dorn notes in her “Neustes Universal- oder: Großes Wiener Kochbuch” fillings with crustaceans, rice, bone marrow and chocolate. According to traditions and customs in regions, fillings with fruits, vegetables, meat, cheese or meat prevail.


Poppy and Pumpkin Strudel - photo 3

Pumpkin fillings


Strudel is a traditional festive or even everyday dish in Danube countries which are, therefore, called “Strudelländer”. In these areas, strudel is a main dish in the pre-Christmas Lent. One can safely say that it is more common in lowlands, while fried pastry and doughnuts dominate in alpine areas. In the Austrian province of Burgenland, strudel is a typical dish of the parish fair (“Kirchtagsstrudel”), of marriage supper, and on Christmas Eve.

According to beliefs, it has to be eaten on New Year’s Day, as otherwise it would not be available the entire year. There is a saying that a female cook in love would prepare the best strudel as she would stretch the dough so thinly that she could read a love letter through the dough. 

Poppy and Pumpkin Strudel - photo 4



4 Servings

Multiplicity •


  • Flour – 200 g.
  • Water – 1/3 cup.
  • Olive oil – 1tsp.
  • Salt – petite.
  • Eggs (yolks) – 2 pieces.
  • Poppy – 150 g.
  • Milk – 100 g.
  • Pumpkin – 200 g.
  • Honey – 2 tsp.
  • Ground cinnamon – 4 g.
  • Butter (72%) – 20 g.
  • Sugar – 1 tsp.
  • Mint – 1 twig.


  • Mix the sifted flour (150 g.) with cold water (1/3 cup), salt and olive oil. The dough should be well kneaded for at least ten minutes. We roll it in plastic wrap and put it to the fridge for half an hour.
  • Poppy should be washed and poured by boiling water for 15 minutes. Pumpkin peeled and cut into cubes with the side of 1 centimeter. Caramelize on butter with sugar and cinnamon for five minutes. Drain the poppy water and squeeze the seeds well. We break it with a food processor or a meat grinder, add honey and cook on a small fire, gradually adding milk. It will be enough for five or seven minutes. Mix the pumpkin with poppy seeds.
  • The filling is ready, we return to the dough. We roll it in a thin layer, constantly sprinkling with flour. Put the filling on the edge of the dough and wrap it up. The edges of the strudel can be clogged (it is important that the dough does not open in the oven). Bake for 45 minutes at a temperature 160C/320F. Serve it hot, slice with cream, ice cream or custard, decorate with berries and mint.
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