Those of you who visit this blog regularly know how much I enjoy baking breads. The good thing about making them at home is that you get to enjoy some of those delicious celebratory breads that you can’t even buy at the stores. Don’t be intimidated by bread making, as like all things, practise makes perfect. I have said it before, but I am going to say it again, “There is nothing like the aroma of homebaked breads!”.

Strudel is a pastry made from thinly stretched dough with a filling inside and is closely associated with Austrian and German cuisine. Probably the best known kind of strudel is the apple strudel with a filling of apples, raisins, cinnamon, and breadcrumbs. If you have not tasted strudel, I must say that it is really a treat.

Homemade strudel recipes normally uses pre-packaged phyllo pastry for the dough. The traditional strudel dough is quite a challenge to make as it uses flour with a high gluten content which has to be worked vigorously and stretched very thin. This recipe that I am sharing uses a bread like dough and has a lemony filling which is quite different but delicious. It should be taken in small quantities as the filling is very rich.

The recipe was adapted from my favorite The Cooks Encyclopedia of Bread Machine Baking. The original recipe calls for soft goats cheese and though it turned out really well, the family was not too thrilled by the goats cheese and so I have changed it by using a mix of feta and cream cheese. I have also omitted the egg yolks and changed the amount of fruits and nuts used. Here is my version.

Lemon, Pistachio, and Feta Strudel
1 cup low fat milk
1 egg
2 cups unbleached white bread flour
½ tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
¼ cup butter
1 tsp rapid rise dry yeast

2 oz feta cheese
4 oz fat free cream cheese
½ cup fat free small curd cottage cheese
2 tbsp sugar
grated zest of 1 lemon
½ tsp vanilla extract
⅓ cup golden raisins
⅓ cup pistachios, peeled
¼ cup dried apricots, chopped
2 tbsp butter, melted
½ cup slivered almonds

Pour milk and egg into bread machine pan. Add flour. Place salt, sugar, and butter in separate corners of bread pan. Make a shallow indentation in the center of flour and add the yeast. Set bread machine to dough setting and press the start button.

In the meantime, grind slivered almonds using a food processor. Remove and set aside.

To make the filling, place feta cheese, cream cheese, and cottage cheese in a bowl. Using a fork, mashed cheeses so that they are well mixed and there are no huge clumps. Stir in vanilla extract and lemon zest. Mix well and add golden raisins, pistachio, and apricots.

When dough cycle is complete, remove and place dough on a lightly floured surface. Punch down gently and roll out to a rectangle 14×10 inches. Brush dough with melted butter. Sprinkle ground almonds onto buttered dough. Spread cheese filling over dough. Fold in the edges along both the long sides to prevent cheese from oozing out when melted during baking. Starting from the short side, roll up like a jelly roll. Place on a baking sheet seam side down. Cover with lightly oiled plastic wrap and let rise for 30 to 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375˚F. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Remove and place on wire rack to cool. Slice and serve warm.

Enjoy…..and have a wonderful day!