I made this strudel for my Mom for Mother’s Day. She has shared stories of poppy seed strudel with me before and I wanted to try to make it for her. She says it brings back memories of an old family friend that used to make this before I was born. My Mom fondly remembers the petite woman stirring the pot of thick poppy seed filling on her stovetop. Without a reference point, I hoped the filling and pastry were similar and Mom confirms that it tastes just the same. On Sunday there was hardly any left and therefore, I think it was a success.
Poppy seed strudel is traditional in parts of Eastern and Central Europe and also Israel. The recipe can vary slightly with sour cream in the pastry or rum, raisins, walnuts or spices in the filling.
You may have no memories or cultural ties to this pastry, but I suggest you give it a try. The dough is among the friendliest I’ve ever worked with and I think the addition of egg makes the dough glossy, workable and gives it the right amount of stretch to accommodate the filling without breaking open.
Roll the dough out thin and don’t worry when the filling seems like too much; It will be your favorite part. The flavor is unique and possibly unlike any other pastry you’ve had. Less than one cup of sugar is used for both the pastry and filling of two loaves, making it mildly sweet and nutty from the poppy seeds. I’m also a sucker for a pretty swirled middle on any baked good.