Vertuta or Savory Strudels are a Romanian and Moldavian specialty. My aunt Vera taught me how to make them; she is the pastry queen. Irresistibly delicious! Vertutas are perfect as an appetizer, snack, or simply with cup of tea. This recipe will take you to an adventure beyond packaged phyllo dough.
1/8 tsp. salt
1 cup milk or water
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil, plus additional for coating the dough
1 Tbsp. white vinegar
1/6 tsp. baking soda
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups Farmer’s cheese (Tvorog)
2 cups Feta cheese – crumbled
1 cup sour cream for topping
Combine the all the ingredients except flour in a stand-mixer fitted with the hook attachment. Gradually add in flour mixing on low speed. Knead the dough until you will get nice soft dough ball. Make sure it is not too dry or too soft; add a little more flour if necessary.
Divide the dough into 4 pieces. Shape the dough pieces into balls. Take one dough ball place on slightly oiled surface and roll out about 4-5 inch circle with the rolling pin. Generously brush both sides of the dough with oil and place on a plate. Finish rolling the rest of the dough; cover the plate with plastic wrap and set aside for 25-30 minutes.
Combine 2 cups of farmer’s cheese (tvorog) , 2 cups of crumbled feta(brinza) cheese and two eggs.
Put the rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
Have a work surface of at least 23 x 38 inches. Cover your working area with kitchen cloth/large kitchen towel, dust it with flour and rub it into the fabric.
Pick the dough up by holding it by an edge. This way the weight of the dough and gravity can help stretching it as it hangs. Using the back of your hands to gently stretch and pull the dough.
The dough will become too large to hold. Put it on your work surface on top of the fabric. Place your hands underneath the dough and stretch and pull the dough thinner using the backs of your hands. Stretch and pull the dough until it’s super tin, it will be tissue-thin by this time. Be very careful and work slowly. If your dough tears, don’t worry. You can stick those holes at the end.
If the edges are too thick, carefully tear away the thick dough around the edges.
Spread 2-3 tablespoons of oil over the dough using the brush or your hands.
Spread evenly 1/4 of the filling on the dough.
Fold one side of the dough onto the filling.
Lift the tablecloth at the short end of the dough so that the strudel rolls onto itself.
Continue to roll.
Transfer the strudel to the prepared baking sheet by lifting it. Curve it into a horseshoe to fit if necessary. Brush the top with the sour cream.
Bake the strudel for about 30-40 minutes or until it is deep golden brown.