Although today you can find them in almost every bakery, industrially prepared and filled with cheese or a typical fruit filling of apple or cherry, štrudle i.e. strudel once presented housewives with a real challenge because for the preparation of the perfect thin pastry, which is the basis of this cake, needed skills, speed and persistence.
Although it is made from simple ingredients – flour, a little vinegar, salt and water, according to the traditional recipe the pastry is carefully treated and slowly stretched from all sides until it becomes a large thin crust ready for filling. The carefully stretched dough is then coated with the desired filling and then using a floured tablecloth on which the dough was stretched it is wound and put in a shallow tray for baking in the oven. Traditional combinations of grated apple with raisins and cinnamon, cheese or cherries mixed with breadcrumbs are for many people the favourite fillings, whilst those who want to experiment fill them with seasonal fruits and vegetables. When baked, the strudel has a lovely golden colour and a crispy crust, and before serving is sprinkled with icing sugar for special sweetness.
Strudel has its origins from Austro-Hungarian cooking, whilst some claim that the roots can be found in the layered pastry desserts from Turkey. Regardless of where it originates, it has been made for centuries in Croatian regions, where every generation eats it as a dessert or sweet snack. This sweet is even celebrated at festivals such as ŠtrudlaFest in the town of Jaškovo near Ozalj with competitions for the best professional and amateur strudels.
In 2015 the dedicated inhabitants of Jaškovo even prepared the longest apple strudel in the world! The impressive strudel was 1,479.38 centimetres long and meant that they entered the Guinness Book of Records and turned the region into an interesting tourist destination which attracts local, as well as international visitors.