When you have an excess of quark on your hands you need to bake something. Quark is a German curd cheese, so to maintain the German theme a strudel seems an appropriated choice. The pastry surrounding a strudel is traditionally stretched until it’s papery thin. Obviously this requires elasticity in the dough, and without gluten elasticity is hard to achieve. This means that making a gluten free strudel is a challenge.
A recent Daring Bakers’ challenge suggested a strudel dough should be so thin you can see the pattern of your tablecloth through it. Lorraine’s photos show that she achieved this amazing feat, so it must be possible (at least if you use wheat flour). Gluten free strudel dough is less accommodating, and mine was certainly not the 2 feet square that the recipe prescribes. It wasn’t see-through either. The tablecloth was only visible where the dough was torn.
When I was rolling up the strudel, the fragile dough burst dramatically, and the quark filling began to ooze out. In the nick of time I remembered my mother’s habit of baking strudels in pyrex dishes, and my gooey strudel was saved. It was ugly, but delicious. If you want to enjoy a quark strudel while avoiding the trials of strudel pastry you could use frozen puff pastry instead. Since this isn’t an option for a gluten free strudel, you could consider making gluten free shortcrust rather than a true strudel pastry. If quark is hard to find you can make homemade quark like I did.
Even though it isn’t pretty, exploded quark strudel tastes good. James actually preferred the strudel to the quark cake I made earlier. The filling isn’t too sweet, so the sultanas have a chance to shine against the lemony background. This filling is so delicious and creamy I would happily eat it with a spoon. This would conveniently avoid the bursting pastry problem too. The combination of quark, citrus and dried fruit is beautiful, and I’m already scheming about a version with orange and currants in place of lemon and sultanas.
Ingredients for the dough
200 g gluten free plain flour
1/8 tsp salt
30 mL olive oil
105 mL water
1/2 tsp vinegar
Ingredients for the filling
~1/2 cup almond meal (for sprinkling)
250-300 g quark
1/4 cup caster sugar
1 egg (lightly beaten)
grated rind 1 lemon
1/2 cup of sultanas (soaked in hot water or rum)
1. Combine the flour and salt, in the bowl of a mixer. Pour in the combined liquid ingredients while mixing the dough. The mixture should come together in a ball, you may need to add a little water to achieve this.
2. Change to the dough hook and knead the dough for a few minutes into a slightly rough ball.
3. Rest the pastry in the fridge overnight.
4. Prepare the filling by combining the quark, caster sugar, egg, lemon rind and drained sultanas.
5. Then roll out the dough. Flour a clean tablecloth and use your floured hands to spread the strudel dough. It should be able to stretch to 2 feet square, or until you can see through it.
6. Sprinkle the dough with almond meal to absorb excess liquid from the filling.
7. Make a line of quark filling at one end of the strudel dough. Then use the cloth to help you roll the strudel up. The weight of the filling should allow it to roll up if you raise one end of the cloth. You will also need to fold in the sides of the dough to ensure the filling doesn’t fall out the end of the roll.
8. Turn your strudel from the cloth into a casserole dish, or onto a baking tray (if it has enough structural integrity).
9. Bake at 200 ∘C for 30 minutes until lightly brown at the edges.
10. Serve warm.