The word strudel no doubt conjures up thoughts of stewed apples, flaky pastry and dusted icing sugar. Unlike the Austrian kind, this Bosnian ‘Poppy Seed Strudel’ is more like a sweet bread than an apple strudel, but delicious nonetheless.
The filling is particularly noteworthy, a ground poppy seed paste. I can hear you thinking, poppy seeds…dessert??? Admittedly, it took my taste buds a little getting used to, but after a few bites I couldn’t get enough of the curious but tasty filling.
Apart from poppy seeds, there are other Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian strudel fillings, such as walnuts, apples and cherries. I’ll hopefully have the walnut recipe posted for you all to enjoy in the next few months.
1 x 7g sachet dry yeast
350ml (1 1/3 cup) milk, warm
70g (1/3 cup) caster sugar
1 free-range or organic egg and 1 egg yolk, room temperature
70g butter, melted
400g (4 cups) plain flour, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla sugar
Zest of 1 lemon (leave a pinch of zest for the filling)
250g poppy seeds, finely ground (to grind poppy seeds use a herb or coffee grinder)
20g (1/4 cup) raisins, roughly chopped
60g (1/3 cup) caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla sugar
125ml (1/2 cup) milk, hot
70g butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
1 free-range or organic egg
1 tablespoon milk
Pinch of sea salt
1) In a small bowl dissolve yeast in 5 tablespoons of warm milk. Allow to rise and double in size (7-10 minutes).
2) While yeast is fermenting whisk sugar, egg and egg yolk until just combined. Add melted butter and lightly whisk.
3) In a large bowl add sifted flour, vanilla sugar, 3/4 of lemon zest and make a well in the centre. Add sugar and egg mix, yeast and remaining warm milk. Use your fingers or a fork to slowly incorporate the wet and dry ingredients. Once the dough starts to come together knead in the bowl or on a lightly floured surface for 5-8 minutes, or until the dough feels smooth but still a little sticky. Place dough in bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel, allow to rest in a warm spot (45 minutes – 1 hour).
4) While dough is proving prepare filling. In a medium bowl combine ground poppy seeds, raisins, caster and vanilla sugar, milk, butter and remaining lemon zest. The filling should be smooth and spreadable, if it’s too dry add a little extra hot milk.
5) Grease a rectangular loaf tin (approx. 12 x 40cm).
6) Lightly whisk egg, milk and salt in small bowl.
7) Knock air out of dough then roll out on lightly floured surface to 1cm thick (approx. 50cm wide and 60cm long). Evenly spread the poppy seed filling over the dough, leaving a 2cm boarder. Fold the short edges and gently roll into a log, brush the exposed edge with egg wash to seal. Place strudel in baking tin, cover with damp tea towel and allow to prove for further 30-45 minutes.
8) Preheat the oven to 180°C.
9) After 45 minutes brush strudel with egg wash and bake in centre of the oven for 35-40 minutes or until golden and cooked through. If strudel browns too quickly loosely cover with sheet of foil to avoid burning.
10) Allow to cool for 10 minutes in tin before turning out. Slice into 2cm thick pieces and serve while warm or at room temperature.
The strudel will keep for 3-5 days in the fridge if wrapped well or 4-6 weeks in the freezer.