Friday, May 31, 2024


When it comes to desserts, few things can match the comfort of a freshly baked strudel. Especially when fresh strawberries are in season and just bursting with flavour.
Making homemade strudels is a truly rewarding experience that combines simple ingredients with a dash of creativity. I love them because they are egg-free, dairy-free, and so versatile and lovely to serve on so many occasions, from a delightful after-lunch treat to a picnic or a gathering.
Sweet dough desserts are loved by all, as they are a simple, comforting treat. And they pair incredibly well with a cup of coffee or tea.
On a final note, some tried and tested tips for success - for the best flavour, use ripe and fresh strawberries. They are the juiciest and most fragrant, and will make the best filling. However, if you don’t have them available, you absolutely can use frozen strawberries, just make sure to thaw them really well. In this case, there may be slightly less filling, but it will be delicious regardless.
Speaking of the filling; if it was still a touch warm when you tried to spread it on the dough and roll it up, and the dough does not want to seal, but instead starts to slide or tries to split open, simply cover it well with cling film and refrigerate it for about 30 minutes. That will help set the filling and give you the possibility of rolling it up nicely.
And, of course, if you have wild strawberries, use them! They are so aromatic and gorgeous, and will make the strudel even better!

For the sweet dough
400 grams plain flour
1 teaspoon salt
200 millilitres warm water
30 light grams brown sugar
25 grams fresh yeast
60 millilitres vegetable oil, divided
1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1 teaspoon rosewater
For the filling
400 grams fresh and ripe strawberries
200 grams light brown sugar
50 millilitres fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
10 grams cornflour
20 millilitres cold water

Start by making the fresh strawberry filling, as it needs to be lukewarm when assembling. Place the fruit, sugar, and lemon juice into a large saucepan, and let it macerate for about 30 minutes, or up to an hour. When the fruit is ready, and in the vanilla and place it over medium heat. Once it starts to simmer, turn the heat to medium-high, and start to stir so it doesn’t burn.
Cook, stirring often, for about 20-30 minutes, or until thickened. It does not have to be as thick as traditional jam. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the cornflour and the cold water. Add the cornflour to the jam, and cook, stirring constantly, for about 2-3 minutes, or until thickened and glossy. Remove it from the heat and set it aside to cool.
While the filling is cooling, make the dough. Pour the warm water into a large bowl; add in the sugar, 40 millilitres of oil, and the fresh yeast. Mix briefly and let the yeast dissolve and activate. Once it becomes bubbly and fragrant, add in the vanilla, lemon zest, and rosewater, and mix well.
Finally, sift in the flour and the salt, and mix vigorously with a wooden spoon until a soft dough forms. It should not be overly sticky, but if it is, add another tablespoon of flour. Knead it for a few minutes with your hands in the bowl, cover it with a kitchen towel and let it rise, at room temperature, for about an hour, or until doubled.
Once ready, transfer the dough to a floured surface, and without any kneading roll it out into a large rectangle of about 1 centimetre thickness. Vigorously whisk the cooked jam so it becomes smoother to spread, and spread it 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 it very well, so the filling does not leak.
Place the strudel on a large baking sheet lined with baking parchment, seam side down, generously mist it with cold water, cover it with a kitchen towel, and let it rest and rise for about 30 more minutes in a warm place. Let the oven preheat to 200˚C. Just before baking, brush it with the reserved oil, and bake, in a preheated oven, at 200˚C, for about 15-20 minutes, or until golden. Let it cool down completely, slice, and serve. Yields 12 rich servings.