Friday, July 30, 2021


To me, comfort food is not, and will never be, about lavishness. It is about the nostalgia, the joy, the comfort of the familiar flavours and textures, the memories we cherish. I grew up having this type of dessert, so no wonder it is a great comfort food for me, both to make and enjoy.
Traditional desserts, especially the sweet dough desserts, are always incredibly forgiving and versatile. Effortless to prepare, uncomplicated, easily adaptable, plentiful, and quite convenient to share.
Any jam you like or have on hand will work wonderfully, and if you do not have fresh mint available, simply use two tea bags of your favourite mint tea and proceed with the recipe; and it will be perfect. Made with a handful of cupboard ingredients, this lovely little strudel rewards greatly, with a gorgeous blend of tangy jam, vanilla, and mint.
Best served while still warm, while the icing sugar is still slowly melting into the dough and sticking to the fingers; and always with a cup of freshly brewed mint tea.

For the dough
400 grams plain flour
200 millilitres water
10 fresh mint leaves
50 light grams brown sugar
25 grams fresh yeast
45 millilitres vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1 teaspoon salt
For the filling
400 grams sour jam (cherry, blueberry, blackberry)
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

Start by making the fresh mint tea for the strudel. Bring the water to a rapid boil, remove from the heat, and add the fresh mint leaves. Cover with a lid or a larger saucer and let it steep for about 5 minutes. Pour the brewed tea into a large bowl, add in the sugar and the vanilla, and mix well. Wait a few minutes more, so the tea is just pleasantly warm, and crumble in the fresh yeast.
Let the yeast dissolve and activate, and when it starts to become bubbly and fragrant, add in the oil, and mix well. Finally, sift in the flour and the salt, and vigorously mix with a wooden spoon until a very soft and sticky dough forms. It should not be overly sticky, but if it is, add another tablespoon of flour. Cover the dough with a kitchen towel and let it rise, at room temperature, for about an hour, or until doubled.
Once the dough is ready, transfer it to a floured surface, lightly knead it, and roll it out into a large rectangle of about 5 millimetres thickness. In a large bowl, mix together the jam and vanilla, and spread the filling evenly all over the dough, making sure one of the edges is clean, so the strudel can be sealed nicely. Starting from the longer edge, gently roll the dough into a tight roll. Press and seal the roll really well, so the filling does not leak out during baking.
Place the strudel on a large baking sheet lined with baking parchment, seam side down, cover it with a kitchen towel, and let it rest and rise for about 30 more minutes in a warm place. Just before baking, generously mist it with room temperature water, and bake, in a preheated oven, at 200°C, for about 20 minutes, or until golden. Let it cool down completely, so it firms up, and then slice and serve. Yields 12 servings.

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