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Hungarian Poppy Seed Strudel

I think we can all agree that one major thing we are all missing because of the pandemic is traveling. While there is no way to make up for not traveling, I have been whipping up some of my family’s favorite dishes we have eaten overseas in the kitchen to bring me at least a few memories of our travels. (On the plus side, I think there may be  a light at the end of the tunnel and we will be able to travel semi-soon!)

While none of the recipes I have made come close to tasting like the versions we ate on holiday (I think it’s a combination of the ingredients, chefs who have been making these dishes for years and most importantly the atmosphere), the meals transport me back to wherever I ate the meal and puts a smile on my face.  

Today’s recipe is inspired by the poppy seed strudel my parents and I ate at Budavar Ruszwurm Cukraszda, the oldest confectionary in Hungary which is located in Budapest. Budapest is actually two cities (Buda and Pest) that are divided by the Danube River. This day, we walked across the Chain Bridge which connects Buda and Pest and visited Matthias Church, a Neo-Gothic church that served as a coronation church from the 16th century.  The confectionary is in the shadows of Matthias Church and is a small output with no more than 12 tables inside and outside. We waited a few minutes before snatching a table and ordering an afternoon pick-me-up of lattes (which they serve with honey) and desserts. Dad and I chose the poppy seed strudel and mom picked the Dobostorta which is a Hungarian sponge cake, layered with chocolate buttercream and topped with caramel. It is named after József C. Dobos, a Hungarian chef and delicatessen owner in Budapest. 

I really wanted to make the poppy seed strudel so I searched, found and combined a few different recipes. I knew that I was not going to make my own pastry so instead I used phyllo dough which made the dessert a little lighter than the original. I was really happy with how it turned out! Below I’ve included some images from our vacation but keep scrolling to the bottom for my recipe! 

Looking from Pest to Buda; Chain Bridge with Matthias Church on top of Pest 

Matthias Church

St. Stephen (Hungary’s first Christian King) looking upon Mattias Church

Dobostorta & Poppy seed Strudel

Poppy seed Strudel, lattes with honey & Dobostorta

Ingredients:

  • Phyllo dough thawed (you will only need 4 sheets so you can freeze the rest)
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 cups fresh Poppy seeds
  • 1/3 raisins heaping (I used golden raisins, but you can use whichever you prefer)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Instructions:

  • Preheat the oven to 375°F
  • In a small saucepan, over medium to low heat, lightly brown the butter (you can tell the butter is browned because there will be brown bits of butter fat that settle to the bottom)
  • Remove from heat and set aside
  • In small batches, place your poppy seeds and raisins in a small coffee grinder and grind until seeds are as fine as possible
  • Repeat until all poppy seeds and raisins are ground to a fine paste. Be sure you do this step thoroughly!
  • In a pan heat milk with sugar and bring it to a light boil
  • Remove pan off the heat and add ground poppy seeds, raisins, ground cinnamon and lemon zest
  • Mix well and let cool completely
  • Wet and wring out a clean kitchen towel
  • Lay out flat on a clean counter
  • Place the phyllo sheets that you will be using gently next to the towel (Keep these covered with a damp towel)
  • Remove one sheet and carefully lay it down on the wet towel
  • Carefully and GENTLY (so you do not tear the phyllo) brush the entire sheet with some of the browned butter
  • Place a second layer of phyllo on top, butter and repeat until you have four layers
  • Spread poppy seed filling evenly along the bottom of the dough, leaving about 1 inch along the bottom and sides. It should look something like a 3″ or so wide log.
  • Using the towel as a tool, roll dough tightly around the filling and place on baking sheet
  • Depending on the size of your baking sheet, and how you rolled up your phyllo, it may need to go onto the sheet diagonally
  • Brush strudel with browned butter
  • Place into pre-heated oven and bake for about 20-25 minutes or until light brown
  • Remove from oven and let cool
  • Dust with powdered sugar, and slice into 10 or so slices 

Hungarian Poppy Seed Strudel

Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Course Dessert
Servings 8 servings

Ingredients
  

  • Phyllo dough thawed (you will only need 4 sheets so you can freeze the rest)
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 cups fresh Poppy Seeds
  • 1/3 cup Raisins, heaping (I used golden raisins, but you can use whichever you want)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 375°F
  • In a small saucepan, over medium to low heat, lightly brown the butter (you can tell the butter is browned because there will be brown bits of butter fat that settle to the bottom)
  • Remove from heat and set asideIn small batches, place your poppy seeds and raisins in a small coffee grinder and grind until seeds are as fine as possible. Be sure you do this step thoroughly!
  • Repeat until all poppy seeds and raisins are ground
  • In a pan heat milk with sugar and bring it to a light boil
  • Remove pan off the heat and add ground poppy seeds, raisins, ground cinnamon and lemon zest  
  • Mix well and let cool completely
  • Wet and wring out a clean kitchen towel
  • Lay out flat on a clean counter
  • Place the phyllo sheets that you will be using gently next to the towel (Keep these covered with a damp towel)
  • Remove one sheet and carefully lay it down on the wet towel
  • Carefully and GENTLY (so you do not tear the phyllo) brush the entire sheet with some of the browned butter
  • Place a second layer of phyllo on top, butter and repeat until you have four layers
  • Spread poppy seed filling evenly along the bottom of the dough, leaving about 1 inch along the bottom and sides. It should look something like a 3" or so wide log
  • Using the towel as a tool, roll dough tightly around the filling and place on baking sheet
  • Depending on the size of your baking sheet, and how you rolled up your phyllo, it may need to go onto the sheet diagonally
  • Brush strudel with browned butter
  • Place into pre-heated oven and bake for about 20-25 minutes or until light brown
  • Remove from oven and let cool
  • Dust with powdered sugar, and slice into 10 or so slices

Stay hungry…

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