Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Poppy seed strudel with cherries

I have been wanting to make poppy strudel since forever and when I saw this recipe in the food-magazine Essen und Trinken I knew the moment had come. I love poppy seed, taste is so special, so different, and oh so delicious. And poppy seed with sour-cherries just cannot be wrong.

To use poppy seed in baking is very Central and Eastern European thing. There are many different cakes, cookies and breads that are made with poppy seed, and luckily strudel is one of them as well.

This time I made strudel dough with spelt flour, and I was really surprised how well it worked. It was the best strudel dough I have ever made. In Germany there are three different types of spelt flour and I used the white one which in German holds the number 630. The number says that each 100 grams of this type of spelt flour contains 0,63 grams of minerals (i.e. good stuff).

Poppy seed strudel with cherries
adapted from Essen & Trinken
serves 10
200 gr ground poppy seeds
2 dl milk
7 tbsp sugar
zest of 1/2 lemon
1/2 dl raisins
3 tbsp dark rum
seeds of 1 vanilla pod
1/4 tsp cassia cinnamon
2 tbsp butter
2 eggs
about 3 tbsp bread crumbs

1 can of sour cherries
2 tbsp sugar
1 dl orange juice
1 tbsp cornstarch (more or less)

2,5 dl white spelt flour (or strong bread flour)
2,5 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
about 7 tbsp warm water

80 gr melted butter for brushing the strudel dough

First make the strudel dough and let it rest for an hour. While the dough is resting start preparing the filling.

In a sauce pan heat the rum and raisins, pour over in a small bowl and set aside. Put the milk, sugar, lemon zest, vanilla, cinnamon and 2 tablespoons of butter in a pan and cook until it boils, add ground poppy seed and mix well. Add raisins with rum, blend well, take off the heat, cover with a lid and set aside. The mixture should be quite thick (but wet, not dry) as later eggs will be added.

In a small sauce pan melt 2 tablespoons of sugar until light golden, add the orange juice and cherries with their juice, and let everything boil. Dissolve cornstarch in a bit of cold water and add slowly to the cherries (mixing all the time) until you have a thick sauce. Depending on how much cherry juice there is you will maybe have to add more cornstarch. Drain the cherries from the sauce and set both aside.

Stretch the strudel dough, and cut the edges so that you have 70x50 cm sheet. Let it dry for about 10 - 15 minutes and then brush with melted butter (a bit more than half of the melted butter). Preheat the oven, 200 C.

Lightly beat the eggs and add to the poppy seed, mix well. Spoon the poppy seed paste over a third of the stretched dough (40x25 cm), leaving a 5 cm edge on the three sides.

Now carefully with a help of a spoon spread the poppy seed paste evenly and put the cherries on the top.

Sprinkle the bread crumbs over the whole strudel dough, filling and the part without the filling. Fold in the sides (only the sides around the filling) and start rolling the strudel.
As you roll keep on folding in dough sides over the strudel and push the ends inwards when the strudel wants to get out of the path.

Brush the strudel with melted butter and with the help of the cloth roll over the strudel on a baking sheet. Now brush the other side with the melted butter, use all of the butter that is left, strudel loves the butter. If you have some butter left over brush the strudel couple of times during the baking. Strudel really loves the butter.

Bake for about 40 minutes.When done let it cool, then cut and serve with the cherry sauce.

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