Wednesday, May 27, 2009

May Daring Bakers-- Apple Strudel



The May Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Linda of make life sweeter! and Courtney of Coco Cooks. They chose Apple Strudel from the recipe book Kaffeehaus: Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafés of Vienna, Budapest and Prague by Rick Rodgers.

I loved this month's challenge! I not only loved making it (it truly was a breeze), but I loved eating it, too! I can't figure out why I loved it-- I don't even like apples! But I couldn't not try the finished product. What a surprise! I skipped the raisins and the rum since I also don't like raisins (seriously, have you ever met anyone pickier?). The texture was amazing. The pastry was amazing. The sweetness mixed with the tartness of the Granny Smith apples was amazing. The golden color was amazing. The entire thing was amazing!

I didn't have a single problem with this recipe. I loved the ease of the dough (mine sat for longer than 90 minutes... I got sidetracked!) and I improvised by using a sheet instead of a table cloth. I didn't use Gloria (aka, my Kitchen Aid mixer) and instead just kneaded by hand. It was a simple dough to knead; no tired muscles! I was amazed at how thin that dough was able to go without tearing. I loved the surprise of the toasted breadcrumbs in the strudel. I'm not sure what their purpose was, but it added a nice texture with the flaky pastry. (LOVED the pastry-- I can hardly wait to make it again!). I didn't shape mine into a horseshoe shape because that reminded me of a Kielbasa or Ring Bologna or something! So I went with a plain old, boring loaf shape.

I'll have to try another flavor next time. Rhubarb? Cherry? Strawberry? Cinnamon? The only thing missing was some yummy whipped cream or vanilla ice cream to go along with the strudel. Or even a piece of cheddar cheese! (Is my family the only family that grew up eating a big chunk of cheese on their apple pie? It is quite weird, now that I think about it...)

Here is the fabulous recipe:

Preparation time:

Total: 2 hours 15 minutes – 3 hours 30 minutes
15-20 min to make dough
30-90 min to let dough rest/to prepare the filling
20-30 min to roll out and stretch dough
10 min to fill and roll dough
30 min to bake
30 min to cool

Apple Strudel

from “Kaffeehaus – Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafés of Vienna, Budapest and Prague” by Rick Rodgers



Ingredients:

2 tablespoons golden rum
3 tablespoons raisins
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted, divided
1 1/2 cups fresh bread crumbs
strudel dough (recipe below)
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
2 pounds tart cooking apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/4 inch-thick slices (use apples that hold their shape during baking)

Directions:

1. Mix the rum and raisins in a bowl. Mix the cinnamon and sugar in another bowl.

2. Heat 3 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet over medium-high. Add the breadcrumbs and cook whilst stirring until golden and toasted. This will take about 3 minutes. Let it cool completely.

3. Put the rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a large baking sheet with baking paper (parchment paper). Make the strudel dough as described below. Spread about 3 tablespoons of the remaining melted butter over the dough using your hands (a bristle brush could tear the dough, you could use a special feather pastry brush instead of your hands). Sprinkle the buttered dough with the bread crumbs. Spread the walnuts about 3 inches from the short edge of the dough in a 6-inch wide strip. Mix the apples with the raisins (including the rum), and the cinnamon sugar. Spread the mixture over the walnuts.

4. Fold the short end of the dough onto the filling. Lift the tablecloth at the short end of the dough so that the strudel rolls onto itself. Transfer the strudel to the prepared baking sheet by lifting it. Curve it into a horseshoe to fit. Tuck the ends under the strudel. Brush the top with the remaining melted butter.

5. Bake the strudel for about 30 minutes or until it is deep golden brown. Cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing. Use a serrated knife and serve either warm or at room temperature. It is best on the day it is baked.



Strudel dough

from “Kaffeehaus – Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafés of Vienna, Budapest and Prague” by Rick Rodgers



Ingredients:

1 1/3 cups unbleached flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
7 tablespoons water, plus more if needed
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus additional for coating the dough
1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar

Directions:

1. Combine the flour and salt in a stand-mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix the water, oil and vinegar in a measuring cup. Add the water/oil mixture to the flour with the mixer on low speed. You will get a soft dough. Make sure it is not too dry, add a little more water if necessary.

Take the dough out of the mixer. Change to the dough hook. Put the dough ball back in the mixer. Let the dough knead on medium until you get a soft dough ball with a somewhat rough surface.

2. Take the dough out of the mixer and continue kneading by hand on an unfloured work surface. Knead for about 2 minutes. Pick up the dough and throw it down hard onto your working surface occasionally.

Shape the dough into a ball and transfer it to a plate. Oil the top of the dough ball lightly. Cover the ball tightly with plastic wrap. Allow to stand for 30-90 minutes (longer is better).

3. It would be best if you have a work area that you can walk around on all sides like a 36 inch round table or a work surface of 23 x 38 inches. Cover your working area with table cloth, dust it with flour and rub it into the fabric. Put your dough ball in the middle and roll it out as much as you can.

Pick the dough up by holding it by an edge. This way the weight of the dough and gravity can help stretching it as it hangs. Using the back of your hands to gently stretch and pull the dough. You can use your forearms to support it.

4. The dough will become too large to hold. Put it on your work surface. Leave the thicker edge of the dough to hang over the edge of the table. Place your hands underneath the dough and stretch and pull the dough thinner using the backs of your hands. Stretch and pull the dough until it's about 2 feet wide and 3 feet long, it will be tissue-thin by this time. Cut away the thick dough around the edges with scissors. The dough is now ready to be filled.

Be sure to check out The Daring Bakers Blogroll to see creations by other members!

9 comments:

Hilary said...

Your dough looks super thin and crispy! Mine was a bit hopeless, actually - I couldn't get it thin enough without lots of tearing. But the end result was yummy.

Young Adventures... said...

Great job! Your strudel looks wonderful!

Joy said...

One of my school friends used to eat cheddar cheese with fruit cake and we always have Wennslydale cheese with Christmas cake so you're not odd at all!! Good Job!

Speedbump Kitchen said...

Great job! I LOVE my apple-peeling-coring-slicing wonderthing too!

Anula said...

What a lovely looking strudel :)

Anonymous said...

Still checking in Michele! Looks delicious, I mean AMAZING!! Thanks for your enthusiasm and great, fun ideas! LOVE THIS BLOG!!!
Have a good day ~ Summers coming!
~Vicki

isa said...

Your strudel looks wonderful!
Love your step-by-step pictures.
Great Job!

silverrock said...

Beautiful strudel... I can just taste the apple-y goodness hiding inside that wonderfully flaky crust! Way to go on this month's challenge :)

TeaLady said...

Looks just perfect!

I love that this was uncomplicated and still challenging.