Friday, May 29, 2009

Daring Bakers May 2009: Apple Strudel

This month has been one crazy one, it's taken me up until the last minute to complete this challenge. I've been condo-shopping with my parents for the last 15days and we have finally settled on a place! It's sooo crazy!!! So, between talking with lawyers, notaries, mortgage brokers, real-estate agents and condo-owners I found it a bit difficult to complete this months challenge... but thankfully I did it! I modified the recipe to include strawberries, because I had tons of strawberries lying around the house (in my fridge to be exact). All I did was place 2 cups of sliced strawberries in a small sauce-pan and cooked them over medium heat with 3 tbsp of granulated sugar. I waited for the strawberries to excrete their juices, creating a beautiful, thick and syrupy strawberry compote. I simply mixed the strawberries with the apple-raisin-rum filling and voila! Strawberry-Apple Strudel

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.

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

The beautifully flaky, pastry layers

Close-up of the layers within the score-marks

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.

Mmmm, the luscious filling of apples, strawberries, raisins and rum.

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.

The strudel is rolled-up, scored and placed on the baking tray

I had a lot of fun rolling and shaping the strudel dough. It was actually a lot of fun! The pasty was wonderfully light and tender, especially after letting the dough rest for quite some time. The filling was perfect! Not too sweet and not too tart... just right. My sisters are still at school right not, but when they come home I'm going to serve up a nice slice of strudel with a scoop of ice-cream on the side... mmmm, what a perfect summer-time snack.

Boy are my parents and siblings going to miss me when I move out. I mean, who's going to surprise them with tasty bakes on random occasions when I'm not around?? And who's going to eat all of my tasty bakes when I make them all on my lonesome?? Wait... I've got it! Thank you Daring Bakers... you'll give me an excuse to invite my family over at least once a month to enjoy a relaxing hang-out and treat-time with me in my new condo. Yay!


Steph said...

Strawberry filling is such a great idea! You have really nice layers in your strudel. You have your own fridge?!

silverrock said...

Yeah, our neighbor didn't want their old pea-green colored fridge after they did a reno of their kitchen, so they offered it to us. We found a spot for it in our garage, and it has since then become my fridge... full of random ingredients.

Elra said...

Well done dear, your strudel is looking good and delicious. I really like the choice f the filling you use for this challenge. It is also nicely shape.

Anonymous said...

Strawberry-apple! Nice idea and I love how youi put the slits in it, yours turned out beautifully.