Host Recipe: Zita’s Rétes (Hungarian Strudel)

A traditional Hungarian pastry you can’t go wrong with.

Rétes – a staple in Hungary – is a versatile, layered pastry often eaten during celebrations and festivities. They can be made with sweet or savory. Traditional sweet fillings include apples, cherries, plums, and poppy seeds. On the savory side, you can fill the strudels with spinach, cabbage, and different proteins to name a few.

According to host Zita in Budapest, these strudels are the best Hungarian desserts you can think of! Here, she’s sharing the recipe her grandmother passed down to her.

3 Things to Know About Rétes

  1. You can buy and make these pastries year-round using seasonal ingredients for the filling.
  2. The strudel’s roots can be traced to the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The earliest recipes date back to the 17th century.
  3. The most traditional Hungarian strudel is apples with cottage cheese.

Dough Ingredients (for 2)

  • 30 oz. flour
  • About 15 oz. warm water
  • 1 tbs. vinegar
  • 1 tbs. melted lard/butter
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1egg

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Sieve the flour into a big pot, add the salt and the melted lard/butter. Mix well.
  2. Stir vinegar into water, then add liquid mixture to the flour mixture.
  3. Knead until the dough gets smooth and bubbly. Roll dough into a ball and spread the top with butter or oil. Set aside and prepare your filling of choice.
  4. Sprinkle a tablecloth slightly with flour. Work in butter or oil to your hands.
  5. Starting from the outside, begin to lengthen the dough. Always use your fists, not the fingers or nails.
  6. Once the pastry is almost transparent, remove the thicker edges and evenly add your filling. With the help of the tablecloth, roll up the dough.
  7. Spread some of the egg whites onto the top of the roll and bake the strudel in the oven for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.
  8. Let the cake cool then enjoy!

    Sweet tip: Add frosting or dust the strudel with powdered sugar!

Learn more about host Zita and her experiences in Budapest, Hungary here.

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