Strudel pastry

Strudel pastry

By
From
How to Cook Pastry
Makes
500 g
Photographer
Peter Cassidy

Strudel pastry is a very thin pastry that is traditionally stretched by hand. It is used to wrap around fillings in several layers and cooks to a crisp texture.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
300g plain flour, plus extra to dust
pinch salt
1 egg
150ml water
1 teaspoon light olive oil

Method

  1. Sift the flour and salt into a medium bowl. Beat the egg in a small bowl, then add the water and oil. Using a cutlery knife, mix the egg liquid into the flour until it forms large flakes.
  2. Feel the flakes and, if they feel dry, add about 1 tbsp more water at a time, until you feel the pastry come together into a soft, not sticky dough.
  3. Lift the dough up in one hand and, with a flick of the wrist, slap the dough onto the work surface. If the dough is very sticky, lightly flour the work surface. Continue kneading in this way until the dough becomes very elastic, no longer sticks to your fingers and is smooth, about 8–10 minutes. This kneading technique is to develop the gluten, which will allow you to stretch the dough into a very thin sheet.
  4. You should be able to stretch it out between your hands to 75–100cm. Wrap the dough well in cling film and leave to rest at room temperature for at least 15–20 minutes, to allow the gluten to relax and make it easier to stretch.
  5. After resting the dough is now ready for rolling and stretching. Line one side of your work surface with a tea towel and liberally sprinkle with flour. On a clear part of the work surface, roll the dough out to a large circle, about 30cm in diameter.
  6. Place your hand underneath the dough, palm uppermost and, from the centre of the circle, gently tug at the dough with your fingertips encouraging it to stretch. Don’t be too forceful, or it will tear.
  7. Stretch and pull, then turn the dough, to ensure an even stretching. Keep doing this until the dough becomes very thin.
  8. The strudel pastry is ready when it is almost paper thin; you should be able to see through it. Trim off the thicker edges. It will dry out very quickly and become brittle, so either use immediately, brush with melted butter or cover with cling film.

A note on stretching the dough...

  • Stretching the dough is much easier with two people, but possible to do on your own. If a few holes appear, don’t worry; once the pastry is filled and rolled the holes will disappear, and even if there are some holes on the top of the strudel the pastry around the edges will cook to a lovely crispness.

A note on using ready-made filo...

  • When using bought filo pastry, remove and work with one piece at a time, keeping the rest covered with a slightly damp cloth or well wrapped in cling film. It dries out quickly when exposed to the air and becomes impossible to roll or shape.

    In the recipes we have given only an approximate number of sheets required when using bought filo pastry, as the dimensions of sheets vary greatly. However, if you buy a 250g pack you will have enough for the recipe and some left over. It is always a good idea to have a few sheets too many, in case any become too brittle to use.
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