Have you ever been afraid to make pastry dough? I have – and I still am! Luckily, my mother-in-law has recently given me the recipe below, which is an easy to make, but also economical (no eggs, no butter!) strudel-type pastry.
I am a big fan of strudel, that Austrian multi-layered pastry which is not just delicious, but also versatile. I literally grew up eating apple strudels, lol Meanwhile, my husband loves ricotta&raisin strudel, and always wants me to make more. As a matter of fact, yesterday I brought ricotta strudel to a pre-Thanksgiving party at work, and everybody loved it – and how couldn’t they? Light as a feather and delicately powdered with sugar, this dessert can brighten up any meal, and any occasion, Thanksgiving included. I made it for Halloween last month, and I’m making it again for Thanksgiving. We just can’t seem to get enough of it 🙂
My mother-in-law’s recipe calls for a “2-step process” when it comes to making the dough. Fear not, though: It looks more complicated than it is – and the yummy end result is so worth it! Moreover, there is no sugar in the dough, which means that the sweetness can only come from the filling and from the powdered sugar sprinkled on top of the strudel. Naturally, you can add more sugar to the filling if you want your dessert to be sweeter.
Ingredients for the pumpkin filling
Grated flesh from 1 medium pumpkin
1/2 cup sugar (use more to make the filling sweeter)
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
Put the pumpkin in a pan and heat it up. Cook for about 15 minutes over a medium heat, stirring occasionally – the goal here is to cook the pumpkin, but also to eliminate as much moisture as possible. Add the cinnamon and cook for a further 5 minutes. Taste and add more sugar and/or cinnamon, if necessary. Take the pan off the stove and let the pumpkin cool down.
Ingredients for “dough element #1”
2 cups flour
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 packet dry yeast
1 cup water at room temperature + extra 1 tbsp for the dry yeast
1 tsp salt
Put the flour in a bowl. In a separate cup combine the dry yeast with a bit (about 1 tbsp) of water. Add the yeast&water mixture to the flour, then add 1/2 cup vegetable oil, 1 cup water and the salt. Mix the resulting dough until smooth and homogeneous. Let the dough “rest.”
Ingredients for “dough element #2”
1 3/4 cup flour
1 cup vegetable oil
Put one third of the flour in a bowl. Add one third of the vegetable oil, and mix (I used a fork to do that). Continue adding the flour and the oil slowly, alternating between the two. The resulting dough must have a sour cream-like consistency.
Take “dough element #1” and roll it on a dry surface with a rolling pin until about 1/4in thin. Spread “dough element #2” evenly on top of it using a fork. Roll the resulting dough into a cylinder. Let the dough “rest” for about 15 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350F.
Roll the dough on a dry surface with a rolling pin until about 1/4in thin. Spread the pumpkin filling evenly on top of it. Roll the resulting dough into a cylinder. Use a knife to make several small incisions in the dough. Place the dough in a baking tray (I used a glass tray). Note: There is no need to butter or oil the tray!
Using your hands, moisten the top of the dough with a bit of water, then sprinkle granulated sugar on top. You will probably need about 1/2 cup sugar for this purpose.
Place the dough in the oven and bake for about 45 minutes or until golden brown and dry. Take the strudel out of the oven and let it cool down.
Cut the strudel into slices and serve it with powdered sugar and toasted chopped walnuts sprinkled on top. If you wish, you can add whipped cream to make the dessert creamy and truly decadent!
You can store the unused pumpkin filling (if any!) in a container in the refrigerator for about 1 week. We always make one batch of strudels one weekend, and another the following weekend. To us, this is very convenient since we hardly have any time to cook/bake during the week.
I hope you like this strudel. Happy Thanksgiving! 🙂