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Slovenian struklji (apple dumplings) – and a trip to Ljubljana!

Slovenian štruklji is a really easy dessert - boiled dumplings rolled up with tasty spiced apples, prunes or raisins, and cottage cheese. This is a hugely popular dish in Slovenia but it's really easy to make at home too!

Any Slovenians out there? According to my website analytics, Slovenia is only the 54th most common country for people to view this website from, with only about 850 visitors in the last year – so there’s probably not many of you reading this right now.

But if any Slovenians are reading, I first want to say how much I adore your country, and should probably also apologise for this almost-certainly-not-traditional version of a traditional Slovenian dish – štruklji! (which I’m about 80% sure is pronounced something along the lines of strook-lee, but feel free to correct me…)

These little dumplings come in all different forms, both sweet and savoury, but the version I’m sharing today is rolled with apples, cottage cheese and prunes (you can use raisins if you prefer!), with plenty of spices. And it’s delicious.

Slovenian štruklji is a really easy dessert - boiled dumplings rolled up with tasty spiced apples, prunes or raisins, and cottage cheese. This is a hugely popular dish in Slovenia but it's really easy to make at home too!

If you’re wondering why I’m suddenly sharing a Slovenian dish, it’s because I was lucky enough to visit the country just before Christmas, and let me tell you: I fell in love!

(…with the country, I mean. Happily married here.)

Slovenia isn’t a common holiday destination for us Brits, and honestly it’s not somewhere that’s ever really been on my radar – but after spending a few days in the capital city Ljubljana and its surrounding area, it’s definitely a place I’ll be returning to.

How can you argue with views like this?

Some of the breathtaking views in Slovenia - the most stunning country I've ever visited!

Clockwise from top left: view across Ljubljana from the top of the tower at Ljubljana Castle; mountainous herdsman’s village called Velika Planina, where herdsmen from the surrounding villages live during the summer to graze their animals; part of the 360° view from Planina hill near Vrhnika (one of the best views I’ve ever seen); chair lift up to Velika Planina.

Before you ask: Yes, it really is as beautiful as it looks. Yes, I did ride up a mountain on that chair lift. Yes, I did shake in my boots the whole way (it’s higher than it looks!). And yes, I would happily do it again. The views from the top are totally worth it – Slovenia is quite possibly the most beautiful country I’ve ever visited.

Despite only spending 3 nights in Slovenia, I ate štruklji about four times (it was a good trip). Every restaurant seemed to want to show off their own version, so of course I thought I should give it a go myself when I got home. Luckily, the recipe seemed to differ a lot from place to place (as you can see below!), so I feel comfortable calling this my personal adaptation – even if it’s perhaps not the most traditional recipe.

Slovenian štruklji is a really easy dessert - boiled dumplings rolled up with tasty spiced apples, prunes or raisins, and cottage cheese. This is a hugely popular dish in Slovenia but it's really easy to make at home too! Click to see my homemade version.

Clockwise from left: štruklji served in the restaurant at Ljubljana Castle; štruklji served at a pub on top of a mountain, near the Velika Planina herdsman’s village; štruklji served in a small cafe at the top of Planina hill near Vrhnika.

My version of štruklji may not be totally authentic, but it was easy to make, really delicious, and as soon as I bit into it, I was taken back to Slovenia – which is a success in my book!

I’m sure the restaurants we ate at made their own dough, but filo pastry makes a really easy alternative. The dumplings are boiled, so the pastry doesn’t end up crispy or flaky like filo usually does, but rather dense and slightly chewy – which is actually a lot tastier than it sounds!

Just spread your filling (the cottage cheese, and those tasty spiced apples) onto a few sheets on filo, roll it up, and wrap everything tightly in a tea towel before boiling.

Slovenian štruklji is a really easy dessert - boiled dumplings rolled up with tasty spiced apples, prunes or raisins, and cottage cheese. This is a hugely popular dish in Slovenia but it's really easy to make at home too!

I’ll admit, when you first unwrap the towel after boiling, you’ll think I’m crazy – the pale, doughy slab isn’t much to look at to begin with. But slice it up and sprinkle it with a little icing sugar, and it makes quite a beautiful dessert. Štruklji is often served topped with fried breadcrumbs, but I skipped these (not a fan!).

Slovenian štruklji is a really easy dessert - boiled dumplings rolled up with tasty spiced apples, prunes or raisins, and cottage cheese. This is a hugely popular dish in Slovenia but it's really easy to make at home too!

Have you ever been to Slovenia? I’d love to hear what you thought about it. The mountains were so beautiful in December, but one day I’ll go back in the summer time – apparently all you can hear in the mountains is the jingle of bells around cows’ necks. Tell me that doesn’t sound completely idyllic?!

Disclosure: I was a guest of the Slovenian Tourist Board, and did not pay for my trip myself, but all opinions are my own. I was not otherwise compensated to write this post.

Slovenian štruklji is a really easy dessert - boiled dumplings rolled up with tasty spiced apples, prunes or raisins, and cottage cheese. This is a hugely popular dish in Slovenia but it's really easy to make at home too!

Slovenian struklji (apple dumplings)

Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time50 mins
Servings: 4
Calories:
Author: Becca Heyes

Ingredients

  • 2 red apples
  • 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 50 g caster sugar (~ 1/8 cup)
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 6 prunes, chopped (or 2 tbsp raisins)
  • ~ 7 large sheets of filo pastry (each measuring ~ 12 x 16 inches)
  • Spray oil
  • 260 g cottage cheese (~ 1 cup)
  • 1 egg
  • Icing sugar, to serve
  • You'll also need: a clean tea towel and some string

Instructions

  • Peel and core the apples, and cut the flesh into fairly small dice. Add to a small saucepan with the lemon juice, sugar, spices and chopped prunes (or raisins) and cook for around 5 minutes over a medium heat, until fairly soft.
  • Meanwhile, lay out a sheet of filo pastry on a slightly damp, clean tea towel (my pastry sheets each measured around 12 x 16 inches). Spray the pastry lightly with oil, and place another sheet on top. Repeat until you've used all of the pastry - I used 7 sheets in total.
  • In a small bowl, combine the cottage cheese and egg, and mix well.
  • Spread the cottage cheese mixture over one half of the filo pastry, and top with the apple mixture. Starting from one of the short ends of the rectangle (choose the end that you covered with filling - see picture above), tightly roll the pastry. Wrap the pastry roll tightly in the tea towel, and tie the ends with string.
  • Place the roll in a large pan of water, and bring to a boil. Cook for around 30 minutes, then drain. When the roll is cool enough to handle, cut the string, and unwrap the tea towel. Cut the štruklji into slices, and serve topped with a sprinkle of icing sugar.

 

Struklji NI

Note: Nutritional information is approximate, and will depend on exactly what ingredients you choose.

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Recipe Rating




Julianne Ropret

Wednesday 26th of August 2020

Thank you for your wonderful description Slovenia and the Struklj Recipe. I was born in Slovenia and now live in Hervey Bay, where the whales come to play! Queensland, Australia. You brought me back in time to my birth home.

Becca @ Easy Cheesy Vegetarian

Wednesday 2nd of September 2020

Aw thank you so much Julianne, what a lovely comment :)

Judy Kokal

Saturday 13th of April 2019

My mother-in-law made struklja before she passed. She made it with buttered corn bread crumbs instead of a fruit filling. I would like try this recipe using the corn bread crumbs. Thank you!

Becca @ Easy Cheesy Vegetarian

Thursday 18th of April 2019

I hope it lives up to your MIL's!!

Marubi

Monday 22nd of February 2016

Another Slovenian here :) I follow your awesome recipes on Pinterest and when I saw "struklji" I was quite pleasantly surprised and had to check it out! You are right when you say this version is not traditional - the real old timey are the ones with just cottage cheese, or walnuts and honey. But I must say these look fab, too!

Always nice to read impressions from people who visit our little country and love it :D

And I noticed some wondering about how to pronounce "Ljubljana" in the comments: I'd say the closest would be "Lyoob-lyana" :)

Becca @ Amuse Your Bouche

Monday 22nd of February 2016

Hi Marubi! Thanks for your comment, I'm glad you like the look of these even if they're not traditional ;)

Katja

Monday 1st of February 2016

Hello! I'm Katja and I'm from Slovenia too. I find this picture of yours on Pinterest and 'štruklji' looks great! :) I have a blog too... I don't cook tradicional Slovenian dishes, but that doesn't mean that I don't love them :) I'm glad you liked our country is beautiful indeed! Every season has a special charms, so you must come but in spring, summer or autumn time! :) We do have a really good food here, and if you are a foodie, you have to visit 'Odprta kuhna'. In the summer time every saturday in the main market in Ljubljana, the chefs of all kinds are preparing different dishes in front of you eyes and you can really choose whatever you want. It's great! Oh, and you have to visit different cities, because we have a very diverse regions whit different (typical) food (and dialect too ;) ). It's true - our country is very small, but we are so lucky we have it all (and so close). From mountains to seaside... And a very many beautiful thing too see in between ;) So, come back soon, explore a little bit (outside Ljubljana) and I'm sure your will get some great ideas for cooking and baking back in UK... Greetings!

Becca @ Amuse Your Bouche

Monday 1st of February 2016

Hi Katja, thanks for your comment! The market sounds great, shame we didn't get to see that on our trip, but all the more reason to come back in the summer one year :)

Tina

Wednesday 13th of January 2016

Another Slovenian here! :) My mum makes štruklji a little bit differently, but as you said they are different everywhere you go. But they are always pretty delicious :) So happy that you liked my country!

Becca @ Amuse Your Bouche

Thursday 14th of January 2016

Hi! I'd love to hear how your mum makes them if you've got any tips to share? :)

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