Topfenstrudel is an Austrian dessert with a curd cheese filling interleaved with layers of thin strudel pastry. I don’t think it’s particularly a winter dessert, except that I heard about it from someone who had been ski-ing in Austria, so it’s associated in my mind with snow and mountains. I’ve adapted the filling to use cream cheese, which is more easily available in the UK than curd cheese.
I rolled the pastry for this recipe out to about 15 inches by 20 inches (about 35 cm by 50 cm), and in theory it should be thinner than that if you can manage it. I stopped at this because the filling is fairly liquid, and I was concerned about it leaking out through breaks in the pastry if the pastry was any thinner. I gather that strudel pastry is supposed to be rolled out so thin that you can read a newspaper through it. Not sure I am ever going to manage that, but there’s the standard to aspire to!
4 oz (approx 125 g) plain flour
1 Tablespoon (1 x 15 ml spoon) vegetable oil
4 Tablespoons (4 x 15 ml spoons) water
0.5 teaspoon (0.5 x 5 ml spoon) white wine vinegar
1 oz (approx 25 g) butter
1 oz (approx 25 g) light brown soft sugar
4 oz (approx 125 g) cream cheese
1 egg, separated
Rind of 1 lemon
2 fluid ounces (approx 50 ml) single cream
To make the pastry
Mix the flour with the vegetable oil, vinegar and water to make a soft dough.
Wrap in cling film and leave to stand for 30 minutes to 1 hour, while you make the filling.
To make the filling
Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy
Beat in the cream cheese, egg yolk and lemon rind.
Stir in the cream.
Beat the egg white until stiff. Fold into the cream cheese mixture.
To assemble the strudel
Grease a large baking sheet.
Roll out the pastry on a floured work surface as thinly as possible, aiming for an approximately rectangular shape. I rolled this pastry quantity out to about 15 inches by 20 inches (about 35 cm by 50 cm).
Brush the pastry with melted butter.
Spread the filling evenly over the pastry, leaving a margin of about 1 inch (approx 2.5 cm) round all the edges.
Starting from one of the short sides, fold the 1 inch pastry margin over the filling.
Fold the 1 inch pastry margin over the filling along each of the long sides.
Starting from the first short side, roll up the strudel like a Swiss roll. When you get to the other short side, moisten the last 1 inch pastry margin with water and seal it to the roll so that the filling is fully enclosed.
Very gently lift the strudel roll onto the greased baking tray.
Brush the top of the roll with milk.
Bake in a hot oven at about 180 C for about 30 minutes until golden. Don’t worry if some of the filling leaks out through one or two breaks in the pastry; it seems to set quite quickly as it cooks and this seals the break, so most of the filling stays in the strudel.
Serve hot, cut into slices, with cream or ice cream. I cut this into six servings.