DB#31 or An Apple Strudel a day...

Apple Strudel

An Apple Strudel would certainly put a smile on my face any day of the week! Apple Strudel is not exactly the kind of dessert I grew up with, and I don't have many memories of this sweet but I've been baking strudels for a while now. This lovely theme for this month challenge with the Daring Bakers got me thinking of many possibilities, and how I'd try different fillings and approaches to a new favourite. Except I forgot my trip to a place not so far from the Cafés of Vienna, Budapest and Prague where Apple Strudel is baked everyday... Because of that I ended up going for the old traditional Apple Strudel, with further experiences postponed to another opportunity. Anyway, it's a wonderful recipe. Thank you Linda and Courtney!

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

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.

My thoughts on the challenge:
- Both the filling and the dough recipe worked well.
- My strudel wasn't very pretty, and there was no time to 'make-up'! As said before I used the basic recipe without any different ingredients. In the end I was really happy with the overall taste.

Go and and I taste, I mean, a look at all Daring Bakers Strudels! ;)


Snooky doodle said...

oh delicious!! yummy!

Aparna said...

I think, by and large, traditional strudels are perhaps not mean t to be pretty.
But I'd smile too, if mine was this crisp and flaky.

Jo said...

Great job on your challenge and your strudel looks so flaky and delicious.

Tina said...

It's nice to keep with the classics - and your apple strudel looks simply delicious!
Great job.

ChichaJo said...

I think it looks fantastic! Yum! :)

teafactory said...

your pastry looks perfect! well done!

gine said...

Looks great :-)! XOXO

Clumbsy Cookie said...

Olha que flakey que está a tua massinha! Eu também comia um todos os dias sem me chatear muito!

newlyweds said...

Very beautiful flaky strudel, great job!

Jenny Tan said...

Wow, your dough looks SO thin!!! :) Very delicious looking!

Jenny said...

Wow, your strudel dough looks just perfectly thin and flaky! I couldn't get it to be that thin, but since it tasted good anyway I don't mind practicing more in the future... :)
Great job on the challenge!

Susan from Food Blogga said...

Even though you didn't grow up with it, you sure are a natural. That crust is perfectly flaky.

Holly said...

Your strudel came out lovely and oh so flaky!

Dhanggit said...

Everytime I come here I only see great food!! this strudel gorgeous! love it!

TeaLady said...

All those layers look amazing. I loved making this. So much fun and so easy.

TeaLady said...

All those layers look amazing. I loved making this. So much fun and so easy.