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Streusel vs. Strudel

Streusel vs. strudel – the world of delicious desserts can be confusing. This article explains the differences between the two so you talk about these tasty treats with confidence.

Strudel close-up with icing sugar and cinnamon.

Streusel vs. strudel – what’s the difference?

Strudel and streusel have no direct connections. Although the names might be similar, a strudel is very different from streusel.

Unlike streusel which is a crunchy, buttery toppings in baked goods, strudel is a filo-like pastry dough made with oil typically filled with fruit or vegetables.

While the two have a lot of differences, there are some similarities between them. Both strudel and streusel tend to feature in sweet baked goods with fruit. Both are commonly used in German and Austrian desserts. And last but not least, baked well, they’re both irresistible.

What is Streusel?

If you’ve ever had a perfect blueberry muffin with that crunchy, crumbly topping that is streusel. The sweet and warmly spiced crumble found on top of all sorts of tasty baked goods is called streusel, which is pronounced struː.zəl.

Streusel is an easy and delicious way to elevate all manner of baked goods. It is made with flour, butter, and sugar. Some variations include warming spices, like cinnamon and nutmeg while other versions add a little extra chew by adding oats to the streusel topping.

Streusel is made by mixing butter into flour and sugar until it has a nice crumbly texture. Then the streusel can be sprinkled over raw baked goods and in the oven, it becomes crispy, crunchy, and delicious.

Common ways to use streusel are as a topping for muffins, cakes, and crumbles. Popular streusel desserts are:

  • Streuselkuchen
  • Blueberry streusel muffins
  • Apple streusel cake, muffins, and crumble
  • Cinnamon and streusel coffee cake
  • Pumpkin streusel muffins
  • Plum streusel cake
A piece of streusel cake with plums on a white plate.

What is a Strudel?

Strudel is pronounced stroo·dl. It is a delicious pastry made with layers of thin, flaky filo-like dough that are brushed with butter. The dough is made with flour, water, egg, and oil which is rolled out paper-thin and then filled with sweet or satisfying savory fillings. Common sweet strudel fillings include spiced apples, cherries, and pumpkin. On the savory side, fillings like spinach and cheese or sausage and potato are frequently enjoyed.

The filled and flakey treat has been a feature in Austrian and German cuisines for hundreds of years. The foundation for strudel was established through the introduction of the Turkish Baklava pastry to Austria in 1453. The most ancient strudel recipe dates back to 1696 and features a milk-cream filling. This handwritten recipe is currently preserved at the Viennese City Library.

Today, strudel’s fanbase stretches far beyond Austria and Germany. You can find strudels in many cafés and bakeries worldwide. Strudel is best served warm right out of the oven. It pairs perfectly with a hot mug of coffee or a warm cup of winter spiced tea.

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