Strudel (Rétes) is a layered pastry, usually with sweet filling, popular in Hungary, Austria and Serbia. Austrians like to claim it as an Austrian dessert, but it is presumably originated from the Turkish baklava, and became popular in Austria by Hungarian mediation. The current form of rolled and filled strudel was spread on the territory of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, in the 18-19th century. Since the 19th century, strudel is part of the festive meals, weddings in Hungary, important part of the Hungarian gastronomy. The Parisian Ritz Hotel had a Hungarian “rétes” on their menu, in the 19th century, and their pastry cooks were sent here, to learn the method of preparation.
The traditional strudel is made of a very elastic puff pastry. 1/2 litre high gluten content flour, 1/4 litre warm water and a spoon of lard or oil is needed to prepare the pastry. After kneading the dough, let it rest, then roll out, stretch it by hand very thinly with the help of a clean linen tea towel. As a legend says, the Austrian Emperor’s cook decreed it should be possible to read a love letter through it. The thin dough is laid with the filling on top, rolled up carefully and baked in the oven.
The most popular fillings are: apple (Apfelstrudel in Germany and Austria), quark, walnut, cherry, sour cherry, plum, apricot, poppy seed, sour cherry-poppy seed mixture. There are also savory strudel versions: with spinach, cabbage, pumpkin, or meat.
Rétes bolt: http://retesbolt.eu/
Rétes Ház: http://www.reteshaz.com/
Most of the confectionary shops and cafés are offering strudel on their menu. If you are interested in this special Hungarian pastry, would like to try some, and also other delicious pastry products, please join us on our “Coffee Houses” walking tour, for more information please click here.