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Holiday desserts: Nusse Strudel recipe passed down through generations

Karen Redmond is part of a multigenerational cooking tradition, one that dates back to her grandmother, Elizabeth Renghofer, who came from Austria to the United States when she was 12 years old.

Karen, 60, shares with us a recipe that was originated by Elizabeth and passed down to her mother and now to her.

"Every Christmas my mother would make what she called Nusse Strudel. Although not your conventional strudel, that is what her Austrian-born mother called it," Karen says. "They grew pecans on their property in College Station, Texas, so the pecans were plentiful for the delicious filling."

She says that, growing up, the aroma of the pastry instantly meant the holidays had arrived in her house.

"I was quite young when I remember my mom receiving large quantities of the pecans in the mail from my grandmother. The pecans were from my grandmother's pecan tree in Texas. When the pecans arrived, we knew my mom's holiday baking would begin," Karen says.

As a child, Karen would watch her mom make the yeast creation. She remembers always sneaking a pinch of the raw dough, and her mom saying, "Leave some for me to roll out!"

Karen says her mom likely gravitated toward this strudel recipe because it made two strudels, and there were five kids in her family.

"She was very good at stretching a dollar for a family of seven," Karen says. "Once it was baked for the holidays, we ended up eating it all day long. But my mom always managed to save enough for our Christmas Day breakfast."

Karen started making the strudel after her mom sent her a box of pecans from her grandmother's pecan tree almost 30 years ago. She says the strudel was originally made with walnuts, but her grandma used what she had.

Karen hopes the Nusse Strudel tradition will live on in her children, Colleen, 31, and Elizabeth, 26, who both like to cook. She says they would help out with this holiday dessert recipe when they were young, coming in toward the end of the process, since Karen would start it in the morning while they were still sleeping.

"They got a kick out of seeing the dough rise in the bowl," she says.

Until recently, Karen would call this dessert a "Neu Strudel"; her mother told her it's actually "Nusse," which means nuts in Austrian and German.

"I took German in high school and didn't even recognize the word nusse for nuts. My teacher would not be happy with me."


Nusse Strudel

Nusse Strudel


  • For the yeast mixture:
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 package yeast
  • 1 ½ teaspoons sugar
  • ½ cup scalded milk (to scald, heat milk in a pan on top of stove, then let cool to 110 to 115 degrees)
  • For the dough:
  • ½ cup room-temperature milk
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup softened butter (1 stick of room temperature butter, not melted)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 ½ tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 cups flour
  • For the filling:
  • 3 cups chopped pecans
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • ½ cup evaporated milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • For the glaze:
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons of milk (try 1 tablespoon at a time until desired consistency)


  1. For the yeast mixture: Combine flour, yeast and sugar in a small bowl. Pour milk over flour mixture. Cover bowl and let it rest in a warm location for about 20 minutes. Mixture should be bubbly. Set aside.
  2. For the dough: In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except flour. Blend with an electric mixer or whisk. When thoroughly combined, add yeast mixture. Blend again until all combined. Next, add 3 cups of flour, one cup at a time. You can use your mixer, but you may have to use a large spoon to blend everything together. Dough will be sticky. Pour onto a lightly floured surface. Knead remaining 1 cup of flour into the dough. Dough may still be slightly sticky, which is okay. Grease a large bowl. Place dough into greased bowl. Lightly grease top of dough. Cover and let rise in a warm place, 3 or 4 hours.
  3. For the filling: Make filling when dough has risen completely. Heat all filling ingredients in a skillet until butter and sugar are melted. Filling should be spreadable but not soupy. If it is too dry, add a little more evaporated milk until well blended. Take off burner and set aside. Let cool slightly.
  4. Take dough out of bowl after it has risen completely. Cut dough in half. Place one half on a lightly floured surface. Gently roll with rolling pin into a rectangle, roughly 15 by 12 inches.
  5. Spread half of filling over the dough. Roll up dough, starting at bottom of rectangle and rolling up. Pinch together all seams.
  6. Place strudel, seam side down, on lightly sprayed baking sheet, or on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Form dough into a semicircle on baking sheet.
  7. Repeat with other half of dough and place on a separate sheet. Cover each strudel with a clean kitchen towel. Let rise in a warm place for about 30 minutes.
  8. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place baking sheets on middle rack of oven, one at a time if you have to. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Strudels should be lightly brown and have a hollow sound when tapped. Check the strudels midway through cooking; sometimes the top part of your oven is hotter and may brown strudel too quickly. If that happens, move pan down a rack.
  9. When strudels are completely cooled, glaze the top with powdered sugar glaze. To make, simply combine all glaze ingredients in a bowl, adding more sugar if mixture is runny. Eat warm or at room temperature.
Source: Karen Redmond

Holiday desserts: Nusse Strudel recipe passed down through generations 12/01/15 [Last modified: Tuesday, December 1, 2015 11:39am]
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