A forgiving dough for the traditionalist to stretch, a fast filo shortcut for the harried cook ― and three fine fillings

Stretching strudel dough paper-thin looks hard to do. Fortunately, things are not always as they seem. It takes only a little help (at least one extra pair of hands), time, and patience to shape traditional dough. And for those with less of all three to give, a simple filo-dough strudel is an effective alternative.

The traditional dough must be slapped around a little to make it stretchy. Paper-thin sheets of filo, on the other hand, need to be brushed with butter. Both pastries get crisp and golden when they’re baked. Filled with something sweet ― dried fruit and chocolate or nuts, for instance ― they’re lovely for dessert and wonderful for brunch. And a savory strudel, like the caraway-cheese version, is an excellent offering for a special lunch or a buffet supper.

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It takes time to stretch the dough and shape, fill, and roll strudel, even when using filo. But you can do these steps ahead, then pull the strudel from the oven, warm and flaky, just before serving.

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