Daring Bakers: Apple Strudel

This was such a great challenge!! I was so excited when I saw that Courtney of CoCo Cooks and Linda of Make Life Sweeter chose a traditional apple strudel recipe for the May Daring Bakers challenge. I admit that I was very nervous about mixing and rolling the dough because I have never made anything even close to pastry like this before. However, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the dough was extremely easy to work with! Ok, let me back up, this is not an easy recipe. In fact, it took me about four hours start to finish to do the whole thing, but, the recipe is straightforward and the dough is easy to stretch very thin.

I let my dough rest for about an hour while I made the filling for the strudel and I think this really helped to relax the gluten enough to roll the dough thin enough for me to see the pattern of the tablecloth through it!

I was also very nervous about folding the filling into the dough because it was so delicate but again, I had nothing to worry about, because the instructions were so easy to follow!

My strudel baked up to a nice golden brown color. I let it sit for the prescribed 30 minutes before cutting into it and wow was it tasty! I thought it tasted best right after I made it while the pastry was still very crisp and the filling was still warm but Derrick preferred it the next morning after the pastry had softened a little (he also insisted that the filling tasted sweeter after it sat a bit). Needless to say Derrick, Helen Mae, and I finished the entire thing off in less than three days!
I will say that I did tweak the apple filling a little- I used vanilla instead of rum and I increased the cinnamon from 1/4 tsp to 1 tsp. I think that the rum really would have given the filling a much nicer flavor but I just couldn't bring myself to buy a whole bottle for a measly 2 tablespoons! I thought the filling was good but not great- I am definitely going to experiment with some different fillings (including some savory ones). I really loved the recipe for the pastry and I seriously cannot wait to make it again!! Thanks again Courtney and Linda!

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.

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.


Wandering Coyote said...

Again, you impress me! Actually, all the strudels I've seen today as a result of this challenge have blown me away. This looks so amazing, Emily Rose - excellent job!

Anonymous said...

Your strudel looks great!

TeaLady said...

Great job on the strudel. It was lots of fun to make. And easier than I thought, too.

♥Rosie♥ said...

Your strudel looks gorgeous!