Slovak Cottage Cheese Rolls - Tvarohova Strudla

A piece of quark strudel with cranberries

Maryse Raymond / Getty Images

Prep: 90 mins
Cook: 35 mins
Filling must be refrigerated: 12 hrs
Total: 14 hrs 5 mins
Servings: 16 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
1049 Calories
60g Fat
100g Carbs
31g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 16
Amount per serving
Calories 1049
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 60g 77%
Saturated Fat 33g 164%
Cholesterol 327mg 109%
Sodium 1350mg 59%
Total Carbohydrate 100g 36%
Dietary Fiber 2g 7%
Protein 31g
Calcium 296mg 23%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This is a recipe for Slovak cottage cheese rolls or tvarohova strudla. In its original form, this recipe makes eight delicious rolls or strudels, but they're not flaky, they're more of the coffee cake variety. And even though the Slovak name would indicate that dry curd or farmer's cheese is used, Mary Karinshak always used undrained small-curd cottage cheese and cream cheese. Her instructions don't include this step but I like to whiz my cheese filling (make it at least 12 hours ahead) in a blender or food processor so it has a smoother consistency. If you make the pineapple filling, add the pineapple and raisins after you have processed the cheese in the blender.

I have further modified the recipe by using butter instead of margarine and substituting cornstarch for the instant tapioca. The dough is delicious and easy to work with. You can cut the recipe into thirds if you like, but make eight rolls at once for holidays, gift-giving and freezing for later use. They're just the ticket for unexpected accompany. Pull one out of the freezer and bake it from the frozen state for a delicious treat in about an hour.


  • Cottage Cheese Filling:
  • 3 pounds/48 ounces cottage cheese (small-curd, creamed)
  • 3 large egg yolks (room temperature)
  • 2 packages/16 ounces cream cheese (softened)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 10 tablespoons tapioca (instant, or cornstarch)
  • Alternate Pineapple-Cottage Cheese Filling:
  • 3 pounds/48 ounces cottage cheese (small-curd, creamed)
  • 3 large egg yolks (room temperature)
  • 2 packages/16 ounces cream cheese (softened)
  • 2 tablespoons butter (softened)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 12 tablespoons tapioca (instant, or cornstarch)
  • 1 can/16 ounces pineapple (crushed, well-drained)
  • Optional: 1 cup raisins (white)
  • Dough Sponge:
  • 2 cups milk (heated to lukewarm)
  • 3/4 cup sugar (granulated)
  • 3 packages yeast (active dry)
  • 2 cups flour (all-purpose)
  • Dough:
  • 6 cups flour (all-purpose)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 pound butter (cold)
  • 4 large eggs (beaten)
  • Garnish: confectioners' sugar

Steps to Make It

To Make the Cottage Cheese Filling:

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. In a food processor or blender, whiz cottage cheese, egg yolks, cream cheese, 2 tablespoons butter, vanilla, 2 cups sugar until smooth.

  3. Stir in tapioca or cornstarch. If making the pineapple cottage cheese filling, mix it in with the tapioca or cornstarch and raisins, if using.

  4. Store, covered in the refrigerator at least 12 hours.

To Make the Sponge: 

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Pour lukewarm milk into a medium bowl.

  3. Add 3/4 cup sugar and yeast, mixing with a wooden spoon until they dissolve.

  4. Add 2 cups flour and mix until smooth.

  5. Cover and let rise in a warm spot for 45 minutes.

To Make the Dough:

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. In a large food processor or stand mixer or by hand, whisk together 6 cups flour and 2 teaspoons salt.

  3. Cut in 1 pound butter as you would for pie dough until dough reaches a pea-like consistency.

  4. Add the 4 beaten eggs and the sponge.

  5. Mix or process until dough is smooth and cleans the sides of the bowl. If necessary, add more flour until dough is not sticky, but don't overdo it.

  6. Divide dough into 8 equal pieces, wrap in plastic and refrigerate until ready to use.

To Assemble the Rolls:

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. On a lightly floured surface and working with one dough ball at a time, roll into a 14x7-inch rectangle.

  3. Spread 1 1/3 cups cheese filling down the center.

  4. Make 10 (1-inch) wide slanted slits in the dough on each side of the filling, keeping 1/4-inch away from the filling.

  5. Fold the top piece of dough down.

  6. Then, from the top, alternate crossing slits over the filling from side to side. Leave the bottom two slits.

  7. Fold the bottom up, bring last two strips across and tuck. It's OK for the filling to peek through.

To Bake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.

  2. Using two spatulas and lifting from ends, transfer braided roll onto a parchment-lined sheet. Let stand on the baking sheet for 15 minutes before baking.

  3. Brush lightly with leftover beaten egg white. Bake about 25 to 30 minutes until lightly browned. Remove from the oven.

  4. Let sit on baking sheet for 1 minute before carefully transferring to a cookie rack to cool. When cool, place on a 14x5-inch cardboard covered with aluminum foil. Dust with confectioners' sugar. Place in a plastic bag and refrigerate up to one week or freeze.

  5. Enjoy!

To Freeze Unbaked:

  1. After assembling the roll, place it on a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze.

  2. Transfer to a plastic bag and freeze for later use.

  3. When ready to use, do not thaw. Remove from the plastic bag and bake in the oven at 350 F for 30 or more minutes.