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Flaky Nusse (Nut) Strudel Recipe
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Flaky Nusse (Nut) Strudel

Here is a recipe from the Jewish Chronicle (UK). Evelyn Rose discusses the traditional use by Jews of honey as a sweetener. She writes:

Honey is a familiar ingredient in Jewish cookery, not surprising, considering it's the oldest sweetener known to mankind. Jewish dishes we still sweeten with honey include dried fruit compote, lekach and tsimmes.

Honey has a big advantage over white sugar in that it flavors, as well as sweetens, a dish. It also has excellent browning properties when spread on poultry, as in the spiced chicken dish below. It's also good to use to bind together fillings for pastries, as in hamantashen, baklava and the wonderful cream cheese strudel I give here.

Flaky Nusse (Nut) Strudel

Makes about 20 slices.
The cooked strudel will freeze for 3 months or will keep for 3 days at room temperature in an airtight container.

Make the flaky pastry and filling the day before.
The nuts can be quickly and evenly chopped using the pulse action on the food processor.

For the pastry:
4 oz. (125 g) butter left at room temperature for 1 hour
4 oz. (125 g) low or medium fat soft cheese (e.g. ricotta or curd cheese)
4 oz. (125 g) self-raising flour.

For the filling:
1 egg white
3 oz. (75 g) caster sugar [i.e. superfine sugar]
8 oz. (225 g) walnut halves, or pecans, finely chopped
1 rounded tbsp honey
finely-grated rind of 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For spreading on the dough: 2-3 tbsp apricot, damson or cherry conserve

For the glaze: the egg yolk mixed with 1 teaspoon water

For dredging on the cooked strudels: sifted icing sugar

The day before, make the flaky pastry as follows: work the butter and cheese together with a fork until well blended, then gradually work in the flour, kneading until a smooth dough is formed. Flatten this dough into a block about 1 inch (2.5cm) thick, wrap in film or foil and refrigerate overnight.

Now make the filling. Put the egg yolk into a small basin, cover and refrigerate. Whisk the egg white until it holds soft peaks, then fold in all the other filling ingredients, mixing well. Cover and refrigerate the flavor will mature overnight.

To assemble the strudel: next day, remove the chilled pastry from the refrigerator and divide in two portions. On a lightly floured board, roll one portion into a rectangle approx. 12 x 7 inches (30 x 17.5 cm) then neaten the edges with a knife.

Spread the dough with a thin layer of the conserve, leaving 1/2 inch (1.25 cm) clear on all sides, then spread half the filling on top. Turn in the short ends to enclose the filling then roll up into a long cylinder. Repeat with the other portion of pastry and filling. Arrange the strudels side by side on an ungreased baking sheet.

To bake: preheat the oven to gas no.8 (450 F, 230 C). Brush the strudels evenly with the glaze then prick decoratively with a fork or tweezers (this prevents the pastry bursting in the oven and also makes it easier for the icing sugar to cling to the surface after baking). Bake for 5 minutes then turn the heat down to gas 5 (375 F, 190 C) for a further 20 minutes, or until the strudels are a rich brown. Remove to a cooling rack.

To serve: ensure the strudels are at room temperature. Dredge thickly with icing sugar then cut in 1- inch (2.5 cm) wide diagonal slices. Serve plain with tea or coffee.


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