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.

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

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Comments

  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?
    Sandy

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  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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