White cabbage is harvested from August to March. Perfect, therefore, to conjure up a fine winter dish from it - like a vegetarian cabbage cream strudel. Our author Sven Christ has the recipe!
Heap the flour onto the worktop, make a well in it with your fingers and add the other ingredients into the well. Mix it all together carefully and then knead firmly for around five minutes. Wrap the pastry in cling film and leave it to rest in the fridge for half an hour.
Remove the outer leaves of the cabbage by first cutting off the stalk at the bottom and then carefully loosening the individual leaves. You should remove six leaves and set them aside, then chop the rest of the cabbage into thin strips, salt them and add a little vinegar for them to marinate in. Bring a large pot of water to the boil, add salt and blanch the whole leaves for around three minutes, then drain.
Wipe the mushrooms (for God’s sake, don’t wash them!) and fry them in a little oil or butter, seasoning with salt and pepper. Place the hazelnuts in a tin and roast for fifteen minutes in the oven (leave the oven on when they’re done, as then it will be preheated for your strudel). Shake the warmed nuts into a towel and wrap them up, then rub the bundle on the worktop to remove the skin from the nuts. Roughly chop the peeled nuts.
Spread another towel out on the worktop and dust it lightly with flour. Place the pastry on top of it and roll it out with a rolling pin, then pull the pastry out to the corners – it’s easier than you think. Melt the butter and use it to glaze the pastry. Spread the blanched cabbage leaves over two-thirds of the pastry; the remaining third will need to be clear so you can close up your strudel.
Now you need to add the remaining ingredients in layers, starting with the marinated cabbage strips, a little sour cream and crème fraîche, some nuts and then a few leaves of marjoram, sauerkraut, caraway, mushrooms, then more cream. Finish it off with some salt and pepper.
Then take hold of the glazed side of the pastry and roll the strudel up carefully but confidently. Place in a baking tin lined with greaseproof paper or a baking rack, and glaze with a mixture of egg yolk and milk.
Bake for around 45 minutes at 170 degrees in a fan oven. Done!
Stir the sour cream with the oil, salt and pepper until smooth, finely chop the chives and add them to the sour cream mix. Serve with the strudel and enjoy!
Germany is Krautland. When the Allies christened us “Krauts” after the War, they named us after cabbage, a food which is popular all over the country and not just in Bavaria. It appears in dishes prepared, fermented, braised and baked in a hundred different ways. It can sometimes smell very strong when boiled – and it has an aroma that can instantly evoke the memory of visits to your aunt out in the countryside, where the smell of cabbage in her narrow kitchen was so thick you could practically chew it. But the food that resulted – krautwickerl (baked cabbage rolls) or a sauerkraut dish – was delicious, and you wouldn’t have missed it for the world.
The vitamin C content of cabbage can actually increase after boiling thanks to the presence of ascorbigen, a precursor to the vitamin which is itself abundant in the vegetable.
White cabbage has some incredible properties that make it the perfect food for winter. First is its harvest season: various varieties of cabbage are available between August and the following March, from fine pointed cabbage and football-shaped white cabbage to the flat, almost boring and rather mild green cabbage. It can even lay claim to being a superfood, though it doesn’t get the hype and the fanfare.
The vitamin C content of cabbage can actually increase after boiling thanks to the presence of ascorbigen, a precursor to the vitamin which is itself abundant in the vegetable. When cabbage is fermented to make sauerkraut, the relatively simple fermentation process uses lactic acid bacteria and produces vitamin B 12, which is otherwise only found in animal products – and that is why vegans regularly eat sauerkraut.
We still serve sauerkraut as a standard accompaniment to Nuremberg or Regensburg bratwurst on tin plates, which freaks me out a bit because I always imagine I will end up putting some metal shavings into my mouth along with the food. But even though the days of the tin plate may be numbered, the cabbage lives on – and the topping no longer needs to contain meat. Sauerkraut tastes amazing with fried portobello mushrooms, seitan and Beyond Meat as well as with Grützwurst (sausage with grains).
Eating meat is not really necessary for us these days, now that we no longer have to spend two hours a day chopping wood to be able to fuel the oven – we can take a lighter and more sustainable approach to how we eat. Ha, I should have tried saying that to my grandpa who lived for pork belly with cabbage. He would have disowned me, and I never would have inherited his Gamsbart [chamois “beard” or plume that is worn with a traditional Bavarian hat].
I have decided to make Krautrahmstrudel – a creamy cabbage strudel – because it makes a hearty, well-balanced meal. Cabbage needs a certain amount of fat to taste good, and we will achieve that here with hazelnuts and cream instead of bacon. We’ll heat the nuts in the oven first so that their slightly bitter shells can be easily removed, and also to allow the lovely aroma of the nuts to develop. The caraway for the strudel can be toasted in the pan – this will make the dish easier to digest.
„Sauerkraut tastes amazing with fried portobello mushrooms, seitan and Beyond Meat as well as with Grützwurst (sausage with grains). Ha, I should have tried saying that to my grandpa who lived for pork belly with cabbage.“
The last two important flavours are marjoram and chives, with the latter added to the sauce for freshness. We will be making our own pastry for the strudel, of course. Obviously it’s also available to buy, but if you have ever made your own strudel pastry you’ll know it is far superior, and in any case, making it is a quick process and very satisfying. Besides, it’s always great to be able to say: “Guys, I made the pastry myself.” It really impresses people, because no one realises how easy it actually is.
The first step is to prepare our cabbage. With any cabbage dish you make, you need to either ferment or blanch the cabbage leaves. When you have fresh cabbage leaves you can also take a moment while washing them to observe the amazing lotus effect: water immediately rolls off the surface. We will blanch some of the cabbage and chop the rest into thin strips for salting, and we will also use some sauerkraut as a third element. Doing the triple, as it were – something Bayern Munich fans wish for every year.