Food Friday Jewish Cake Edition

As my parents were planning my sisters’ wedding and mine, at some point the discussion turned to dessert.  Each time my father would say in a plaintive voice,  “You know what I would really like? I would like Jewish cake for dessert.”

What my father meant by Jewish cake was strudel. I remember his describing how some Jewish cooks of real skill would roll out the strudel dough out on a table cloth and then use the cloth to roll up the pastry.

My two other sisters made other dessert choices at their weddings.  I was amused by how much my father wanted “Jewish cake”. I also didn’t particularly care what was served for dessert, so Jewish cake was served at my wedding. My father was really pleased.

I also made sure that “Jewish cake was served at my youngest’s bar-mitzvah six month’s after my father’s death.

I have never made strudel on my own. I had made it once about ten years ago as part of a class on Jewish cooking in Klezkamp. Strudel was one of those things I had assumed was too hard to learn without a more experience strudel –maker at your elbow.


Tonight we were invited to eat at the home of one of my parent’s friends. Since  I don’t live in my home town it isn’t often that I spend time with people who were friend’s of my parents.  This friend is one of my favorite people on the planet. When I asked her what I should bring aside from my challah, she said “ Buy a chocolate babka”.  I assume that she meant that I ought to purchase one. When I mentioned that to my son he seemed horrified that I would purchase a dessert. I don’t like to disappoint my children.


I looked up babka recipes and they were all really butter rich. That’s wonderful, but we are eating a meat meal tonight. I had to re think. I wanted to make something that had similar taste notes to a chocolate babka. last night I realized that I could make a strudel.

I realized that I have been doing so much noodle making that the rolling out wouldn’t be all that far out of my wheelhouse.


I found the recipe for the dough in my mother’s copy of The Jewish Cookbook.

strudel 001

strudel 2 001

It’s a much stiffer dough than noodle dough. I started my rolling with my noodle rolling dowel.



I then had to switch to my husband’s great grandmother’s rolling pin.


I wasn’t quite able to roll the dough thin enough to read a news paper. But it was rolled thin enough to easily see the pattern of the table cloth underneath.


I made a cocoa filling with cocoa , brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom. a bit of olive oil and water. I also soaked some raisins and chopped figs in wine and added them to the filling. I sprinkled a bit of shredded coconut over the whole thing.


Rolling up the strudel was not all that difficult. I used my bench scraper to help me roll up the strudel. I painted a bit of olive oil over the top and then baked. SAM_2304


Here it is done.



I also made an apricot filled strudel, that is dried apricots, a bit of citric acid, honey and water whisked in the food processor.


I did a better job with the second strudel. I think that a 30 minute rest is really not quite enough for the dough. It really needs an hour. you can see the table cloth print much more clearly through the dough this time.



Because I didn’t have a whole meal to cook I had time to get some errands done. Today is one of those days that I call menopause  weather, it is damp and simultaneously hot and cold.


Even the hearty pigeons were taking shelter from the rain.



  1. You will have to give a report about what everyone thought of it...what you thought of it!
    Was it as good as you think your father would have liked?

  2. I snitched bits when i plated the dessert. The apricot is luscious because I remembered that you need to oil the dough as you roll it up. The chocolate filling tastes great but the dough is a bit dry for my taste. I think that there is more strudel in my future. I will probably make cheese strudel for Shavuot.


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