My Mother’s Strudel

Just  a few bites left--strudel disappears very quickly

Just a few bites left–strudel disappears very quickly

My mother was not a great cook, but she was famous for two things: her tayglech and her strudel. Both of these delicacies are two bite snacks, good with tea or coffee or milk, if you’re young enough. Her tayglech, which translates roughly from Yiddish as “little bites of dough,” were unique, not just a blob of dough cooked in honey, which is what some people think of when they think of tayglech, but a morsel of dough with neshomah, soul, snail-shaped dough with a filling of cherry preserves and nuts and then cooked in honey. That’s for another time. About strudel…

When I say strudel lots of people ask if I mean apple or cherry strudel, as made in Vienna, a big serving of fruit wrapped in flaky dough that requires a fork and is more like a pie than a cookie. My mother’s strudel is finger-food, flaky-tender dough wrapping a mixture of fruity fillings that was never the same twice. Basically it was raisins with crushed pineapple plus orange marmalade plus any opened jam or fruit preserves in the fridge that needed to be used up. So sometimes there was cherry preserves, or apricot or strawberry or other good things, but always good tasting.

My mother always said she would “make up a batch of strudel.” A few weeks ago, when we were invited to a friend’s Sabbath dinner, I decided that I would make up a batch of strudel, and I did. It was so easy, and so much fun. I decided that I could do that easily, strudel would be my signature dish. I would make strudel once a month. Easy. That was in October. I haven’t made strudel since. Now it is December. What happened to November? What happened to the strudel?

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