Special Gluten Free Strudel for Friends – No Added Sugar and Milk

I wanted to make a special strudel for our friends, who do not tolerate lactose and have problems with sugar. I replaced milk in the original strudel dough with almond milk and used organic honey instead of sugar. But I left butter as an ingredient in the dough recipe, as well as poppy seed paste. It means that I can’t label this strudel as dairy free. It is also not completely sugar free, because I used commercial pitted Morello Cherries, which contain some added sugar. To have this strudel sugar free, pitted Morello cherries have to be replaced by fresh or frozen berries to make a sour berry filling, or excluded from the recipe altogether. The combination of fillings might be poppy seed and walnut cinnamon pastes.

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This post is very long, and includes the procedures for preparation of all the components for the strudel which I have already published before for only gluten free option. I decided to do this because I did not want to include too many links to previous posts with only instructions to replace one ingredient with another and change their quantities. If the person wants to make this strudel with partial dairy replacement and no added sugar, this would be the place for the complete recipe.

Ingredients: for 2 strudels with different fillings

  1. sour cherry, walnut and poppy seed strudel (right in the photo above)
  2. sour cherry, walnut and cinnamon strudel (left in the photo above)

full list of all ingredients combined

  1. pitted Morrello cherries 2 1L jars (900-950g of drained cherries)
  2. 310g pure honey
  3. 3 oranges
  4. 60g poppy seeds
  5. 200g walnuts
  6. 360ml unsweetened almond milk
  7. 2 tea spoons cinnamon powder
  8. 140g unsalted butter
  9. 150g rice flour
  10. 270 gluten free all purpose plain flour
  11. 2 eggs
  12. pinch of salt

sour cherry paste

  • 950g pitted Morello Cherries, drained

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  • 150g liquid from pitted Morello Cherries
  • 75 pure honey

makes 450g of sour cherry paste

  • chopped 80g walnuts added when strudels are assembled, 40g in each strudel on top of sour cherry paste

candied orange peel

  • 110g fresh orange peel

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  • 200ml water
  • 2 table spoons lemon juice
  • 90g pure honey

makes 150g of candied orange peel

walnut-cinnamon paste with candied orange peel

  •  60g walnuts, ground
  • 50g pure honey
  • 2 tea spoons of cinnamon powder

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  • 75g finely chopped candied orange peel
  •  60g chopped walnuts

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  • 2 table spoons, 10ml of unsweetened almond milk if necessary

poppy seed paste with candied orange peel

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  •  60g poppy seeds, ground
  • 45g pure honey
  • 40g unsalted butter
  • 150ml unsweetened almond milk
  • 75g candied orange peel

roasted walnuts

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  • 200g lightly roasted walnuts, chopped

strudel dough

  • 150g fine rice flour (I used McKenzie’s brand)
  • 270g  gluten free all purpose plain flour (I used Well@Good plain flour)
  • 1 egg
  • 50g pure honey
  • 100 g unsalted butter, chilled
  • 200ml unsweetened Almond milk (I used Almond Breeze unsweetened vanilla almond milk by Blue Diamond)
  • pinch of salt
  • extra egg for an egg wash

PREPARATION:

To make these strudels several preparations have to be made before the day of baking. Sour cherry paste and candied orange peel have to be prepared at least the day before. I usually make them several days in advance, and mix orange peel into poppy seed and walnut pastes the day before baking strudels. It is easier if you decide to have the same filling for both strudels. In that case, double the quantity of the ingredients for either poppy seed or walnut-cinnamon paste. There would be some leftover cuts of the pastry, which I always use to make biscuits.

sour cherry paste

  • drain pitted Morello Cherries, reserve 150 ml of the liquid
  • place 900-950g of cherries in a sauce pan, add 150ml of liquid and 75g of honey
  • cook to reduce liquid on low heat until nearly no liquid left

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  • store cherry paste in a glass jar refrigerated

candied orange peel

  • prepare thick strips of orange peel, cut them in smaller pieces
  • in a small sauce pan combine orange peel, honey, lemon juice and 200 ml water
  • cook very slowly, until little liquid is left and it has a consistency of thick syrup
  • if the peel is not cooked because water evaporated too quickly, just add extra water and continue cooking, until orange peel becomes translucent
  • place on baking paper to cool
  • store in a glass container with a tight lid

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  • finely chop the peel before adding to the filling

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roasted walnuts

  • on a dry pan lightly roast walnuts for 5 min on low heat constantly stirring, let them cool
  • grind 60g of walnuts and coarsely chop the rest 140g

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walnut-cinnamon paste with candied orange peel

  • in a bowl mix grinded walnuts, honey, cinnamon
  • add chopped walnuts and mix them into the paste

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poppy seed paste with candied orange peel

  • grind poppy seeds in coffee grinder or small cup blender
  • in small non-stick  sauce pan cook ground poppy seeds with honey and almond milk on very low heat for 12 min, or until very little liquid is left
  • add butter and cook several more min. until the  mix reaches consistency of a very thick sauce, put aside to cool

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  • add finely chopped candied orange peel
  • store the paste in air tight container refrigerated

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strudel dough

  • cut butter in 2cm cubes and chill in the freezer for 15min
  • mix 2 types of flour with butter in food processor
  • divide flour mix in 2 portions
  • incorporate chilled butter in one of them in food processor
  • lightly beat an egg with honey, add almond milk and combine them together
  • place both flours (with and without butter) in a bowl, mix them together
  •  make a well in the centre
  • add wet ingredients to the flour mixture and using a knife mix them together until combined
  • dust your hands with flour and press the dough together to form a ball
  • divide the dough into 2 parts, make flatten disks, cover them with glad wrap
  • use the dough to make strudels immediately

rolling strudel

  • place both fillings (walnut and poppy seed) between 2 layers of glad wrap, spread them by hand in rectangular shape
  • roll each filling to make an even layer using rolling pin to size 30cmx17cm (it is better done before making the dough)

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  • on a dusted sheet of baking paper carefully roll the dough to a rectangle shape 33-40cm, cut extra dough and save it for later, use flour to dust when necessary, and when turning the dough to the other side while still thick (alternatively use 2 sheets of baking paper to roll the dough)
  • place pastry facing the narrow (30cm) side
  • spread sour cherry paste on the lower half of the rolled pastry, leave lower 2cm of the rolled pastry uncovered
  • cover sour cherry paste with chopped walnuts layer
  • place walnut paste without a gap next to sour cherry paste removing glad wrap from one side
  • 2-3cm top end of rolled pastry have to remain without any filling
  • remove glad wrap from the other side
  • place a sheet of baking paper on top and gently press it down with rolling pin just to make fillings surface flat and even
  • turn pastry board to have walnut paste at the bottom
  • start rolling the strudel, peeling baking paper from the bottom
  • brush the top of the pastry with the an egg wash
  • when the strudel is finally rolled, end of the pastry have to be on the bottom
  • repeat the procedure to make the second strudel with sour cherry and poppy seed paste filling

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  • place both strudels on a baking tray with a sheet of baking paper
  • decorate using pastry leftovers
  • brush with an egg wash twice

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  • do not seal the ends, allow them to be open to let extra moisture escape during baking
  • bake 15min in the preheated to 180 degrees fan forced oven, reduce the temperature to 160 degrees and bake for another 45-50 min until deep gold colour, if necessary rotate baking tray to achieve an even baking

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  • rest on a wire rack until completely cool
  • store strudels wrapped in baking paper in a tin
  • strudels develop their best taste after at least 2-3 days

I have to say that too much of a good thing is not always the best solution. As I made both fillings too thick, it was more difficult to roll strudels. I also had extra leftovers from both walnut and poppy seed pastes. I my opinion the balance of the layers for pastry and fillings was not quite right, which is obvious from photos below.

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Another reservation I have, is about the taste which was not sweet enough for me. But this view was not shared by anyone else. It is very easy to adjust the sweetness of the fillings by tasting them in the process and adding extra honey if necessary.

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My major problem I encountered with the pastry. The first strudel did not exhibit any problems. The second strudel, with the poppy seed paste filling, developed a crack in the pastry during baking. I was lucky to have extra dough to repair the damage and continue baking. I later experimented with this dough to find out what was the reason for this problem. I am going to dedicate a separate post to discuss this issue. I will only mention here, that pastry problem most likely is caused by almond milk and develops with time. So, if using almond milk (I am not even sure that it applies to all types of almond milk) two rules have to be observed:

  1. no resting time for this dough, the faster it is rolled and baked, the better the result
  2. roll the strudel in a way to avoid the filling which contains almond milk as an ingredient on the outer perimeter, this filling has to be in the middle of the strudel

As a concluding remark, I have to say, that I thoroughly enjoyed this challenge and though the results were not perfect, both strudels were still like normal strudels, tasty, full of flavours, not too sweet, crunchy on the outside, but not dry in the middle. The main satisfaction for me was that these strudels were enjoyed by people they were made for.

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