Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Der Erdbeeren Strudel, Ya!

Excuse my German, I don't know any.  This month's Daring Baker's Challenge was Strudel!  Immediately I was brought back to thoughts of Prague, where Chris and I hiked through the post-communistic slums of the city just to find this little Strudl stand in the "projects" as recommended by Samantha Brown.  Let me tell you, it was quite a hike.  On top of the fact that we walked a crazy distance for strudl, we had to do it twice, because the first day we tried, it was closed!!

Score!  Here's Chris with one of the THREE strudls we bought (they were uber cheap -- like $3?!).  We had to point to ask for the kinds we wanted, because the man spoke no English.  We ended up with cheese, poppy seed, and apple.  They were pretty good, but I'm not sure they were worth the hike.  But, hey, now we have some funny memories.  Look at how long they are!

Anyway, as I was saying, back to the Daring Bakers: 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'd have to say, Strudel was much easier to make than I had anticipated.  I was a little nervous about the dough, but it worked beautifully!

Here I am measuring the flour to 200g, to that some salt was added
The wet ingredients were simply water, oil, and vinegar.
To the Kitchenaid it went, and was mixed, then kneaded slightly with the dough hook.
Pre-hand kneading
Hand kneaded and shaped into a ball.
Dough is rolled out tissue-paper thin.

Then it is covered with breadcrumbs that have been sauteed in butter, and the filling mixture is spread down the length of the dough 3" from the edge.

The dough is rolled up and made to fit the cookie sheet.  Then, butter is spread on top . . . mmmmm.
Golden brown and flaky.
So cheap and JUICY! 
Inside of the Strudel -- I chose to use strawberries and rhubarb.
It definitely needed the powdered sugar.  I had never tried rhubarb before and didn't realize just how tart it is!!  I should have adjusted the recipe to add more sugar!

Follow the directions below, and you can easily make your own!  I think I have discovered that I am not the biggest strudel fan in general.  This really needs to be eaten right away or it loses its flakiness quickly, and I enjoy desserts that can be munched on throughout the week.  But, it was a very fun new baking technique to learn!

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

2 tablespoons (30 ml) golden rum
3 tablespoons (45 ml) raisins
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon (80 g) sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick / 115 g) unsalted butter, melted, divided
1 1/2 cups (350 ml) fresh bread crumbs
strudel dough (recipe below)
1/2 cup (120 ml, about 60 g) coarsely chopped walnuts
2 pounds (900 g) tart cooking apples, peeled, cored and cut into ¼ inch-thick slices (use apples that hold their shape during baking)

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 (200°C). 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 (8 cm) from the short edge of the dough in a 6-inch-(15cm)-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

1 1/3 cups (200 g) unbleached flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
7 tablespoons (105 ml) water, plus more if needed
2 tablespoons (30 ml) vegetable oil, plus additional for coating the dough
1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar

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 (90 cm) round table or a work surface of 23 x 38 inches (60 x 100 cm). 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 (60 cm) wide and 3 feet (90 cm) 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.

- Ingredients are cheap so we would recommend making a double batch of the dough, that way you can practice the pulling and stretching of the dough with the first batch and if it doesn't come out like it should you can use the second batch to give it another try;
- The tablecloth can be cotton or polyster;
- Before pulling and stretching the dough, remove your jewelry from hands and wrists, and wear short-sleeves;
- To make it easier to pull the dough, you can use your hip to secure the dough against the edge of the table;
- Few small holes in the dough is not a problem as the dough will be rolled, making (most of) the holes invisible.

1 comment:

  1. Your strudel looks delicious! I put rhubarb in mine too, also the first time I have ever cooked with it, and it was good, but yeah you are right about the sugar!