Layered strudel cake – Százrétű rétes

by | Jun 8, 2018 | Desserts

Hundred layer strudel or prekmurska gibanica – even though it’s a traditional Slovenian dessert,  transborder Hungarians living in Slovenia often bake this cake, so it has place in my recipe collection. If you see a resemblance between this “strudel” and flódni, you are not far from the truth.

This cake is a sweet multilayered pastry consisting of 4 kinds of filling (apple, walnut, poppy seed and cottage cheese), shortcrust pastry and phyllo dough/puff pastry dough sheets. (Despite the rich filling the cake’s Hungarian name – hundred layer strudel/százrétű rétes –  is obviously an overstatement.) For centuries, prekmurska gibanica was served as a festive and ritual dish, but the exact origin of the recipe is not clear.

If you google its recipe, you can find many versions with different quantities and changing order of layers. Whichever you choose, you will need a day off, patience and endurance to make this strudel cake. I tried to make my cake as simple as possible, but it took a couple of hours before we could enjoy this sublime pastry.

Százrétű rétes / Hundred layered strudel
Layered strudel cake – photo:

Walnut filling:

  • 200 g (~7 oz) ground walnuts
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • zest of a half lemon
  • 50 g (~1/3 cup) raisins

Poppy seed filling:

  • 200 g (~7 oz) ground poppy seeds
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 300 ml (~1 1/4 cups) milk
  • 2 tbsp semolina

Cottage cheese filling:

  • 500 g (~1lb) cottage cheese
  • zest and juice of a half lemon
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp semolina
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp sour cream
  • pinch of salt

Apple filling:

  • 1 kg (~2 1/4 lbs) apples
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla sugar
  • zest of a half lemon
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp semolina

For the dough:

  • 100 g (1/2 cup) butter
  • 150 g (1 1/4 cups) flour
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp sour cream
  • pinch of salt

8 phyllo dough sheets
3 tbsp sour cream + 1 tbsp oil for spreading the strudel dough sheets
3 tbsp sour cream + 1 egg for spreading the top of the cake
Size of the baking pan: 25×40 cm / 10×15 inch

First prepare the fillings.

For the apple filling peel and grate the apples. Place apple, sugar, vanilla sugar, lemon zest and cinnamon in a pot, add 1/4 cup of water and cook while stirring continuously until soft. At last stir in the semolina. Set aside and let it cool.

For the poppy seed filling combine ground poppy seeds, sugar and semolina in a bowl. Bring milk to a boil, then pour over the poppy seeds. In the beginning the filling is too liquid, but don’t worry, poppy seeds and semolina will soak up the milk, and its consistence will be good enough to be spread. Set aside.

For the walnut filling combine ground walnuts, sugar and lemon zest in a bowl. Soak the raisins in lukewarm water. Set aside.

For the cottage cheese filling place cottage cheese, eggs, sour cream and semolina in a bowl. Add sugar, salt, lemon zest and juice, and mix them up. Set aside.

For the dough sift the flour in a bowl and combine with baking powder. Rub cubed butter into the flour, then add sugar, salt, sour cream and egg, and knead into a smooth dough. On a floured surface roll the dough into an oblong, then line a greased baking pan with it.

Spread the walnut filling onto the dough evenly.
Cover with 2 sheets of phyllo dough. Spread sour cream combined with oil on top.
The next layer is the cottage cheese filling. Cover with 2 sheets of phyllo dough and spread some oily sour cream on top of the sheets.
Now comes the walnut filling. Spread evenly, scatter soaked raisins on top and cover with 2 sheets of phyllo dough. Spread the remaining sour cream-oil mixture on top of the phyllo dough.
Finally finish the cake with the apple layer, spread it evenly and cover with the last 2 sheets.

Place the baking pan into the oven prehetead to 180°C / 356°F and start baking. When the top of the cake gets some colour (after approx. 30 minutes), spread sour cream mixed up with an egg on top and bake for further 30 minutes (total baking time is about 55-60 minutes) until top is golden brown. Remove the strudel from the oven and let it cool completely before serving.

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Hungarian cottage cheese

This is what Hungarian túró looks like

You often ask me what kind of cottage cheese (or curd cheese or farmer's cheese - call it what you want) I use in the recipes. In Hungary the store-bought cottage cheese is dry and crumbly as you can see in the picture. So if a recipe calls for túró, I mean this type. If you can't obtain túró, you can try to make your own from whole milk. Click on the link below.

Metric system vs cup

In Hungary metric units are in use, all the recipes on this website are based on this system, so a kitchen scale is necessary. Since I’m not familiar with cup as a measurement unit, I convert grams to cups by using an online converter. The values in brackets, therefore, are only approximate volumes, so, please, double-check them before you start cooking.

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