A tangy-sweet goats cheese strudel, with crisp layers of buttery filo pastry, a luscious creamy filling, and cinnamon, walnuts & pistachios for a hint of Eastern flair.
The power of punctuation!
When my daughter Kipper discovered that the @ sign is called ‘strudel‘ in Hebrew, she was completely tickled. And of course, now that she sees a delicious slice of strudel in every email address, she keeps asking me to make one!
I could have simply whipped up an apple strudel and been done with it, but where would the fun be in that? Instead I decided to create a delicious cheese strudel, in readiness for Shavuot.
I remember eating cheese strudel on the festival as a child. There were many more dairy delights available then that seem to have fallen from favour in recent times. We had cheese strudel, cheesecake, cheese blintzes, and savoury cheese kreplach that came dripping in melted butter. Yum.
Unfortunately for me though, these days my tummy doesn’t thank me for eating a lot of cows’ milk and its derivatives. But I have discovered that goats’ milk/cheese/yogurt etc. seems to be fine. So it was time for me to update the traditional recipe with alternative dairy products.
East meets West
I’m sure that my Mum and Grandma would have spent hours rolling their strudel pastry to paper-thinness. But even Evelyn Rose suggests using filo pastry, so that’s what I’ve done here. However, once I had filo pastry in mind, I got to thinking about baklava, and decided to incorporate those flavours into my cheese strudel too. So there are layers of cinnamon scented nuts concealed within the filo, to give a little Eastern flair to this otherwise very European dessert.
The proof of the pudding…
I’m sure you’re dying to know what Kipper made of the goats cheese strudel! Her slice disappeared in seconds flat and it was pronounced, “DELICIOUS Mummy!”
Hopefully this will reduce the frequency of strudel requests, but somehow I think probably not…
Makes 1 goats cheese strudel. Serves 6-8.
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Goats cheese strudel with baklava inspired flavours
For the filling
- 250 g soft goats cheese (1 cup)
- 2 tbsp natural yogurt
- 40 g caster sugar (scant 1/4 cup)
- 1 egg yolk
- 1/2 orange - zest
For the pastry
- 40 g shelled walnuts (approx 1/3 cup)
- 40 g shelled pistachios (1/4 cup)
- 40 g light brown sugar (scant 1/4 cup)
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 6 sheets filo pastry (approx 30 x 25cm)
- 40-50 g melted butter (approx 3-4 tbsp)
- 2-3 tbsp icing (powdered) sugar
First make the filling. Beat together the goats cheese, yogurt, sugar, egg yolk, and orange zest until smooth and creamy, then set aside.
Preheat the oven to 190C (375F). Line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper.
Pulse the walnuts and pistachios in a mini-chopper (or chop by hand) to give a coarse mixture. Add the sugar and cinnamon and pulse a couple more times to mix everything well together.
Unfold the filo pastry sheets and cover with a damp cloth to prevent them from drying out.
Place one sheet of filo on the greaseproof-lined baking sheet. Brush it all over with melted butter. Repeat with another sheet of filo and more butter. Add 1/3 of the nut mixture and use your fingers to spread it to the edges of the pastry.
Add 2 more sheets of filo in the same way, then the next 1/3 of the nut mixture.
Add the final 2 sheets of filo pastry, brushing well with butter as before. Add the rest of the nuts but spread them only in the centre of the pastry, leaving a 5-6cm gap all around the edge.
Dollop the cheese mixture onto the front half of the nut mixture, leaving the edges of the pastry clear, and the rear half of the nut mixture uncovered.
Fold the front edge of the pastry up and over the cheese mixture. Carefully fold in the sides of the pastry then roll the strudel up - you can lift up the greaseproof to help you. Once the strudel is rolled up, gently arrange it, seam-side down, in the middle of the greaseproof-lined baking sheet. Try not to move it too much at this stage!
Brush the strudel with any remaining butter, then bake at 190C (375F) for 20-25 minutes until golden brown all over. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
Transfer to a serving plate and dust liberally with icing sugar. Slice and serve!