Pennsylvania Kitchen: Pennsylvania Quick Strudel with Marisa McClellan of Food in Jars

Strudel is a pastry that goes way, way back — the first recipe for it has been traced to 1696, found in a handwritten cookbook at the Wienbibliothek im Rathaus. A descendant of Middle Eastern desserts like baklava, strudel is rooted in the cuisines of Germany and Austria; common fillings include both sweet and sour cherry, plum, nuts, apricot, poppy seed and raisin. There are even savory strudels filled with meats, and veggies, like spinach, cabbage, potato, pumpkin and sauerkraut.

Frankly, you could put nearly any filling inside pastry dough and roll it up and probably end up with something tasty to eat. But we like how Marisa McClellan, the blogger behind the site Food in Jars, keeps it traditional with apricot jam, walnuts and golden raisins inside a sour cream-enriched dough. During her recent visit to the Pennsylvania Kitchen, McClellan shared this strudel recipe from her newest book, The Food in Jars Kitchen, which provides readers with dozens of clever ways to use up the jams, pickles and other preserves lining their pantry and refrigerator shelves. After all, there are only so many pieces of toast one can eat, and no one wants to see their homemade wares languish, untouched. Her recipes, like this strudel one, remind us how versatile jams, salsa, krauts and other preserves can be as ingredients in dishes (case in point: this delightful scratch-made queso dip with tomato salsa).

If you’re not big into canning, that’s okay! You don’t need homemade apricot jam to make this strudel! Grab a jar from your local gourmet food shop or farmers market and you’re well on your way to a shareable dessert (which is the perfect bring-along, by the way, to a potluck or dinner party). The recipe makes two strudels, so take McClellan’s advice and put one in the freezer for a rainy day!

Watch our video for the technique, then head here for the full recipe!