Photo by Stacey Ballis

Reuben + strudel = streuben

Stacey Ballis
September 18, 2018

There is just something about a classic deli sandwich. From your basic towering corned beef on rye to a stacked club to a bagel with a schmear and some nova, everyone has their favorite, and they satisfy in a way that is hard to beat.

What they aren’t is elegant, dainty, or easy to eat. These are sandwiches that embrace abundance in a way that is excessive. They are by nature sloppy, messy, glorious things that require feats of physics the jaws usually aren’t challenged with. They require careful management with the hands, lest they drip meat shards and condiments down the front of one’s shirt. They are the things you eat with family, who will tell you honestly, once finished, if there are poppy seeds in your teeth or pastrami seasoning on your chin, and will gesture to the shred of cole slaw precariously attached to your second button.

So how so you bring all the amazing flavors of a classic deli sandwich into your lovely decorous brunch spread? The answer is shockingly easy: the deli strudel.

This is not, to be clear, a true strudel; there is no painstaking stretching of dough to transparent thinness here. It's a faux-strudel stuffed sort of thing made simply of store-bought pizza dough wrapped sturdily around deli meats and cheeses and baked together into a sliceable loaf that feeds a crowd both heartily and, dare I say, elegantly.

This version is one of my favorites, based on a reuben sandwich, so kind of a streuben, but once you know the technique, the sky's the limit on fillings. Whatever your favorite deli sandwich is, you can strudel it.

Reuben Strudel

Serves 10-12 as part of a brunch buffet


1 22-ounce package of storebought pizza dough
1 pound sliced corned beef
1 pound sliced Swiss cheese
1 1/2 cups sauerkraut, drained and rinsed and squeezed as dry as possible
1 egg beaten with one tablespoon of water
1 teaspoon caraway seeds (optional)
1 cup Russian dressing for serving (½ cup mayonnaise mixed with ½ cup of ketchup and a dash of Worcestershire sauce)


Preheat your oven to 400°F. On a sheet pan lined with parchment, use your hands to stretch your pizza dough into a rectangle that fills most of the pan, leaving a 1" rim around the edge. In the center 1/3 of the dough, lengthwise, make a bed of the sauerkraut, leaving about 1 ½" on the top and bottom, and about 4" on each side. Cover the sauerkraut with a layer of corned beef, followed by the Swiss cheese.

Photo by Stacey Ballis

Using scissors or a sharp knife, cut diagonal slices about 1" apart on the 2 long sides of the dough, starting about a ½" from the fillings. With the sheet pan facing you the long way, tuck the center section of the bottom up over the filling, then using the stretchability of the dough, take a strip from the right side and stretch it over the filling and down to the other side, then repeat on the left, making a sort of fake braid over the top. Continue until you get to the top, and then use the center part of the top to finish off that end.

Brush the loaf with the egg wash, and sprinkle with the caraway and bake for 35-40 minutes until golden brown and crisp on top.

Let cool 10-15 minutes before slicing and serve warm or room temperature with Russian dressing for dipping.

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