More precisely rétes is a type of layered pastry with a— most often sweet—filling. It is also often served in warm with cream or vanilla custard. It became popular in Hungary in the 18th century through the Habsburg Empire so that it is most often associated with Austrian cuisine but is also a traditional pastry in the whole area of the former Austro-Hungarian empire.
The oldest Strudel recipe (a millirahmstrudel) is originated from 1696, in a handwritten recipe at the Viennese City Library. The pastry descends from similar Near Eastern pastries (see baklava and Turkish cuisine).
The best-known strudels however are the German Apfelstrudel (German for apple strudel) and Topfenstrudel (with sweet soft quark cheese, in German Topfen cheese), followed by the Millirahmstrudel (Milk-cream strudel, Milchrahmstrudel).
In Slovenia, cottage cheese is used instead of quark ( I also love that filling). In Hungary according to the fillings there are lots of strudel types include sour cherry (Weichselstrudel), sweet cherry, nut filled (Nussstrudel), Apricot Strudel, Plum Strudel, Poppy seed strudel (Mohnstrudel), and raisin strudel. There are also savory strudels incorporating spinach, cabbage, pumpkin, and sauerkraut and versions containing meat fillings like the (Lungenstrudel) or (Fleischstrudel).
Traditional Austrian, Hungarian and Czech Strudel pastry is different from strudels elsewhere, which are often made from puff pastry because the dough is very elastic. It is made from flour with a high gluten content, egg, water, and butter with no sugar added. The dough is worked vigorously, rested, and then rolled out and stretched by hand very thinly with the help of a clean linen tea towel or kitchen paper. Purists say that it should be so thin that you can read a newspaper through it. A legend has it that the Austrian Emperor’s perfectionist cook decreed that it should be possible to read a love letter through it. The thin dough is still laid out on a tea towel, and the filling is spread on it. The dough with the filling on top is rolled up carefully with the help of the tea towel and baked in the oven.
My Hungarian poppy-apple or cherry raisin-“rétes”
Instead of dealing with the difficult streching process I decided to buy a philo pastry then I made the poppy-apple filling.
- 1 phyllo pastry
- 1 tbs oil and
- 60 g raisins
- 2 tbs rum
- 1,5 kg apples
- 4 tbs lemon juice
- grated lemon zest
- 50 g butter
- 250 g ground poppy cooked in milk and sugar or just mixed with sugar and a bit of sour cream, milk or cream
- 50 g bread crumble
- 100 g sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees/380 F. Combine the rum and raisins in a small bowl and let them sit for 15 minutes.
In a saucepan, combine the apples, brown sugar, and 1/2 cup water. Bring to a simmer and cook until the apples soften and breakdown. Set aside and let cool. Combine the cinnamon, granulated sugar, and nuts together. Add to apples.
Prepare the ground poppy, add sugar and raisin and vanilla sugar and grated lemon zest to it. Add sour cream or cream but be careful do not overdo. Mix poppy and apples together.
Melt 2 to 4 tablespoons butter. Lay out a phyllo pastry sheet, brush with melted butter, sprinkle with nut sugar mixture or bread crumbes, and put another sheet on top. Repeat this process until all 7 sheets are used up.
On the last buttered sheet, put stewed apple poppy mixture in a line across the sheet horizontally, leaving 1- inch on each side.
Carefully roll the pastry away from you to resemble a log.
Close the ends with your fingers, brush the top with butter, and sprinkle extra brown sugar on top. Bake in the oven until lightly browned and crisp on top, 35 to 40 minutes. Let it cool, then sprinkle with castor sugar and serve in 2-inch slices with whipped cream.