Daring Baker’s – Apple Strudel
I wanted so much for this to turn out so right, but you’ll note as I muddle through this post that there are simply times when we are reminded that we should try our hand at something else, least we shatter the illusion and luster of whom we really thought we were.
This challenge busted more than my chops. It ate my lunch and devoured my composure, or what was left of it after the hazards of this past week. In fairness, I must confess that I was more challenged by this task than anything else set before me. I tried to think back to when I have been pushed as much, and honestly, I can’t remember anything that I found as near daunting. I salute our hosts for bringing this to us. I’ll revisit and try my hand again at this beautiful pastry. It deserves a second chance. It most likely deserves a very dedicated spot within my handwritten recipe file. Thank you, ladies! You held up your end of the bargain. ;)
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.
Linda’s beautiful and encouraging website can be found here: http://linda.kovacevic.nl/ . Courtney dances her magic over at: http://cococooks.blogspot.com/ . I am respectfully humbled by their challenge and personally want to thank them for pushing me toward enlightenment. The journey had potholes, but their gift challenged me to respect flour and parchment paper in a manner I’d never thought possible. Oh, but let me not forget my new found respect for whirling about the table in the kitchen at break-neck speed, all the while rolling a tissue thin piece of dough.
As it has been said, and I most agree:
”You ladies, ROCK!”
I have a couple of other sweetie-pies I’d like to thank, also. If it were not for the wonders of our two creators, this challenge, The Daring Baker’s, would not exist. My sincere, and on going appreciation go out to, Daring Bakers, Lisa, La Mia Cucina @ adelphia dot net, and Ivonne, Cream Puffs in Venice @ gmail dot com.
and last, but of all, not least. My special thanks and appreciation go to Rick Rodgers http://authors.simonandschuster.com/Rick-Rodgers/16685548/biography , the author of this magnificent book. I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy of this beauty. I have all the confidence in the world that I will be challenged even further by his instruction and discipline. My hat is off to you, R.R., this old lady has a new trick up her sleeve. ;)
The following recipe was altered just a tad due to the juicy apples used. Also, I didn’t have walnuts, so I substituted the hazelnuts begging use in the pantry.
from, Kaffeehaus- Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafes of Vienna, Budapest and Prague, written by Rick Rodgers
2 Tablespoons (30 ml) golden rum (I purchased white, not knowing the difference over the two)
3 Tablespoons (45 ml) raisins
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup plus 1 Tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick / 115 g) unsalted butter, melted, divided
1 1/2 cups (350 ml) fresh bread crumbs (I used day old hamburger buns…don’t ask why)
strudel dough (recipe to follow)
1/2 cup (120 ml, about 60g) coarsely chopped walnuts…I used hazelnuts
2 pounds (900 g) tart cooking apples, peeled, cored and sliced (about 1/4 inch in slice size)
Mix rum and raisins in a bowl. Mix cinnamon and sugar in another bowl.
Heat 3 Tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet over medium-high. Add the breadcrumbs and cook while stirring until golden and toasted. Allow them to cool fully before use in strudel.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200C). Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. You will transfer your prepped strudel to this for the bake.
from, “Kaffeehaus – Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafes of Vienna, Budapest and Prague, by Rick Rodgers.
1 1/3 cups (200g) unbleached flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
7 Tablespoons (105 ml) water, plus more if needed
2 Tablespoons (30 ml) vegetable oil, pus additional for coating the dough
1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar
Combine the flour and salt in a stand-mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix water, oil and vinegar in a measuring cup. Add this mix 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. Remove paddle attachment and add dough hook. Let the dough knead on medium until you get a soft dough ball with a somewhat rough surface.
Take dough out of 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 the work 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 to 90 minutes (longer is better). I allowed mine to sit for the full 90 minutes.
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 by 38 inches (60 by 100 cm). Cover your working area with a table cloth, dusted with flour and rub it into the fabric. Put your dough ball in the middle and roll it out as much as you can.
THIS IS WHERE I VEERED SO FAR OFF THE ROAD THAT I SHOULD HAVE SIMPLY KEPT DRIVING UNTIL I ARRIVED AT THE OASIS…..
But I had an even better idea. Why soil a tablecloth, make myself more work with the laundry detail. I ran for the masking tape and tripped on my way to retrieve the parchment paper. I should have resisted the urge to move and simply enjoyed my time on the floor. Things would have resulted in a prettier outcome.
Could this be why I tripped?
Pick the dough up by holding it by an edge. This way the weight of the dough and gravity can help stretch 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.
Actually, it wasn’t a question that appeared randomly at this point. It was an almost empty bottle of rum and a gentle tug-of-war that ensued. I carried onward, faithful in my mission. I’m halfway home, why turn and run now? Note to self: “Dough sticks to parchment, especially under the heavy hand of a rolling pin and a race around the kitchen table.”
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. (I’m missing that part of my dough, though…) 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) long. (Wait, does this mean I need to put the dough down and go fetch the yardstick?) It will be tissue-thin by this time. Cut away the thick dough (what thick dough?) around the edges with scissors (keep the scissors AWAY from me, I’m dangerous at this point). The dough is now ready to be filled (you’re kidding me, right?).
Step three of the Apple Strudel instructions continue as:
Spread about 3 Tablespoons of the remaining melted butter over the dough using your hands. Sprinkle the buttered dough with the bread crumbs.
Spread the walnuts (hazelnuts) about 3 inches (8 cm) from the short edge of the dough in a 6-inch (15 cm) wide strip. Mix the apples with the raisins (including the rum), and the cinnamon sugar. Spread the mixture over the nuts.
Fold the short end of the dough onto the filling. Lift the tablecoth 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 horsehoe to fit. Tuck the ends under the strudel and brush the top with the remaining melted butter.
Bake the strudel for about 30 minutes or until it is a 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.
Don’t say that I didn’t try to sway you from the very first paragraph. After this challenge, I found myself barreling toward the craft store. I was focusing on all things mohair, sharp pointed objects, and and a real fear that I might stitch myself into a corner that I can’t get out of no matter how much rum I consume.
P.S. I don’t really drink, but I had to blame this sorry bake on something. I sure as heck can’t blame it on the ladies and gent that offered this challenge. My hat is off to them for giving me a lesson of the grandest scale.