Apple struedel (recipe here)
I mentioned in my Family Dinner/Mandel bread post in March that my mom was a really great cook and baker. I think that’s what I remember most about her: waking up in the morning to the smell of zucchini muffins or banana bread, eating a home-cooked meal every night, and seeing her cookbook out on the kitchen counter. I have always, always been a passionate eater, but it wasn’t until college that I developed an interest in making my own food; and because I was 12 when my mom died, it means I didn’t get to learn it by watching her in the kitchen or hearing her cooking secrets.
Before she died she started writing cookbooks for my sister and me, with a bunch of her and other family members’ recipes, along with blank pages so we could add our own. I got my mom’s cookbook just a couple days before moving to New York in fall 2009, so I’ve slowly been testing out recipes I remember growing up with (significantly tougher for me now as a pescatarian, considering how much I loved her meatloaf), as well as adding others that I’ve found on my own and use often. One treat I always loved was my mom’s struedel — apple or apricot — so I pulled out the cookbook and gave it a go. Not surprisingly, it’s not exactly like I remember it, but that’s probably my fault (her recipe was a little bit more vague than the one below, so I had to do some guessing).
My mom with my sister Joey (left) and me, 1989
Most of my memories of my mom in relation to music are of me telling her to stop singing (clearly I was a little snot), and of her playing piano — always by ear, usually Disney songs at my 5-year-old self’s request. She’s the reason I started playing music; piano lessons at age 8, which eventually led to getting my hands in every musical outlet I could through high school. My other musical Mom memories are of a cassette tape of Loggins & Messina’s album The Best of Friends, specifically the song “House at Pooh Corner,” and I only really listened to the side of the tape with that song on it. That’s to say I don’t really know what music my mom loved (and I’ll spare you the Loggins & Messina), so this playlist isn’t a reflection of that. Instead it’s music by powerful women (some of them mothers), including just a couple that remind me of her. [Edit: Since originally publishing this, some of the songs have been removed from my playlist here; sorry about that!]
1 c sour cream
2 sticks butter
2 3/4 c flour (plus extra for rolling the dough)
About 1/4 c cinnamon-sugar mixture
• Cream butter and sour cream.
• Gradually add flour. Set aside and make filling (below).
• Split dough into two pieces and form into logs, then on a floured workspace roll out into rectangles.
• Sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar mixture, then spread filling evenly over dough, leaving about three inches near the bottom.
• Roll up from the top down (so the filling-less part will be the last part to be rolled — kind of like rolling sushi), as tightly as possible so the insides don’t fall out when baked. Depending on your work space, it might be easiest to roll the pastry right off the table onto an ungreased cookie sheet.
• Bake on ungreased cookie sheet at 350 degrees F for 18-22 minutes. Sprinkle with powdered sugar (I used a sifter to do this). Let cool, then cut into 1-inch slices.
Filling (mix all in bowl)
2 small apples, diced
3/4 c chopped walnuts
3/4 c raisins
1/2 c shredded unsweetened coconut