Gramma Lena's Pumpkin Strudel

by Alex Woodroe, 3.24am May 10th 2021

Since a lot of folks in town been asking, I’m here today to bring you my Gramma Lena’s Pumpkin Strudel. She liked to call it Graveyard Strudel, on account of where she’d get the pumpkin, and I’m gonna tell you more about that later, for the sake of authenticity, but you feel free to use any regular old pumpkin. 

As many of our regulars know, she was an immigrant here. Moved into Bear Creek from the old country who-knows-when and opened our café fifty years back; and she never did sound like any of the locals, either. So I maybe got some of the details wrong, especially around the parts with the horse where she’d always get excited and sound more like her old self, but I think most of it should be right. 

Now, Gramma swore me to secrecy about this here recipe, but since she recently passed, (Rest In Perpetuity and Don’t Get Up, Lena), I figured this here’s as good a way as any to give her a nice obituary.

Step One.

Sourcing the pumpkins is half the battle. You can use regular pumpkin, for sure, and it’ll be a fine strudel, but the authentic way calls for a full moon and a graveyard at midnight. And let me tell you, what a bother that is when we run out at the café.

Take one (1) horse to the graveyard and cut it loose. Lena said a black horse, but I don’t think it matters. Get after it, and if you’ve timed it right, it’ll lead you right to a patch that’s got pumpkin vines growin’ out of it. 

Grab yourself some of the nice ripe ones; they’ll be darker in color and sound hollow. Be sure to knock on them first. If you pick the one with the skull in it, that’ll be rough. Well, even rougher than it’s gonna be anyway. I think that’s how we lost Abigail.

Step two.

Put the horse away. Stretch our your dough on a well-oiled surface, cover it in grated pumpkin and brown sugar, and fold it into threes before you roll it into a log. Bake in a medium oven for sixty minutes.

Step three.

Gather whatever you’ve got handy in terms of cutting tools or farm equipment by the door. Pitchforks are great, so are axes. Hoes don’t do much but they’re better than nothing. Cut the strudel diagonally into pieces no bigger than the palm of your hand.

Step four.

Soon as it gets dark, get ready. They don’t like you takin’ from the grave patch. I guess if my body were busy feeding pumpkins, I wouldn’t much like it either. They’ll be up in arms about it, and you can expect up to eleven (11) different visitors throughout the night. If you see my Gramma Lena, tell her I said hi! Then be sure to aim either for the neck, or the back of the ankles. They never really stay down for good, but you can slow’em down a good measure, and they’ll only keep until just before dawn.

And that’s that! Enjoy your strudel, if you make it. 

Of course, if it feels like too much of a hassle for you, or if you’re only a beginner baker, stop by the Woodroe café anytime and grab a nice piece from us. We’ll give you a 30% discount if you bring a clipping of this article along with a handful of grave dirt and a milk tooth. It’s chocolate Gugelhupf time next month, and we’re saving up.

And remember to tip your waitress.