Croatia - Baked Strukli
Okay so... I took a LOT of liberties to make this my own... Please forgive me if I committed the ultimate sin by making this sweet instead of savory.
I knew it can be boiled or baked - I chose baked - and while I knew this can be a savory dish, I chose to go sweet. We hosted a dinner party and I wanted to serve a unique dessert. Joke was on me because this was pretty savory. What I didn’t realize is that ONLY using blueberries as a topping wouldn’t make it particularly sweet, but when you got a bite of the blueberry, it helped (I don’t usually bake!). If I were to make this again, I would add sugar, lemon juice & zest, and blueberries in the filling and maybe a dusting of powdered sugar on top with the blueberries. I gotta say though, baked blueberries in any pastry is absolutely heavenly.
What I will say though, is this taught me a really cool way to make perfectly puff-shaped personal pouches, similar to toaster strudels. While this isn’t exactly light, the savory version is a traditional dish and each family I’m sure has a unique way of making it. And while I’m not exactly sure if sweet strukli is exactly traditional, maybe this will be MY custom dessert twist on the classic. I mean, isn’t the point of cooking to experiment and try new twists on classics?
Also, one thing we discovered is this is absolutely delicious with a drizzle of maple syrup! Do try it!
4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp vinegar
1 cup room temperature water
1 600g container fresh cottage cheese
8 tbsp butter (1 full stick + 2 tbsp)
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tbsp sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
Zest of 1 lemon
* If you want to make a savory version, omit the sugar and lemon ingredients and use salt, pepper, and chopped scallions.
Rest of the filling ingredients
1/4 cup sour cream
1 cup blueberries
Note: This recipe is specifically for the sweet version I made. I will include notes throughout if you want to make the savory version.
To make the dough, combine the flour and salt in a big mixing bowl and make an indent in the middle. Add one full egg, oil, and combine all of the ingredients using a fork. When crumbly, add the water and vinegar. Gradually add it to the dough. The original recipe called for 1/2 cup water, but this was not enough to fully combine the dough, so I upped it to 1 cup with great results. Knead the dough for about 5-10 minutes, until it's smooth.
Divide the dough into three equal parts, brush with a little of melted butter, and cover for 30 minutes.
Prepare the filling while the dough is resting. Mix softened butter with the cottage cheese, eggs, sour cream, sugar, and juice & zest of 1 lemon. Note: if you want to make it savory, omit the sugar and lemon ingredients, and season with salt and pepper instead. Feel free to add chopped scallions for extra flavor.
After the 30 minutes, roll out the dough until thin. It will get to a point that the rolling pin won't really do much anymore, so try to stretch it as thin as you can with your fingers. Be patient because this is the tedious part. It's okay if it tears a little bit, but try to be gentle to prevent rips if you can. Once you get it as thin as possible, let it rest for 15 minutes (optional). Sprinkle with some melted butter and add enough filling to cover only half of the pastry (I used about 1/2 cup). The filling should be a thin layer. Don't add too much otherwise, it will ooze when you roll it. Try to roll it as best and tightly as you can. Halfway through the rolling, tuck the ends under. Repeat with the other two balls of dough.
Using the side of your hand (like a karate chop), separate the dough into equal parts, about 3-4 inches. And then using the side of a plate, press down until it separates. You'll get perfectly sealed shapes. I was in awe when I discovered this method.
Preheat your oven to 395F.
Brush a baking pan with butter and assemble your strukli. Combine the topping ingredients (minus the powdered sugar). I used the leftover filling ingredients mixed with sour cream, then topped with blueberries. Note: if making a savory version, instead of using blueberries, add slabs of butter, then garnish with scallions after baking.
Bake for 40-45 minutes, until golden. Let it cool for about 10 minutes, then serve. Garnish with powdered sugar and drizzle with maple syrup, if desired.
Recipe adapted from Honest Cooking.