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.
What’s life without some drama… infact the Daring Baker’s Challenges are becoming daring drama baker’s challenges for me…this time, I lost the pictures I had taken and it took a few days stress and driving K completely round the bend to find them again. They were hiding in some hidden folder of my laptop and though it drove me crazy, eternal optimist that I am, I believe it taught me a lot of lessons!
I am not very active on the forum for Daring Baker’s. I log in once in a while to check out the pictures that the DB’s have posted of their completed challenges (before posting date). Just looking at the pictures send thrills and chills down my spine. So many variations and so much catching up to do is all I think!
When I saw the completed challenges this time, I thought of several fillings for the savoury strudel. Having never ever eaten or made a strudel before, I wanted to stick to the classic apple strudel for the sweet version. When the time came to make it, I finally chickened out and made a typical indian filling with potatoes, peas and onion, laced with some chilly and coriander powder, courtesy K’s request.
The challenge turned out to be outstanding. Despite my (compulsive) apprehensions and disaster visaulisations, this turned out to be simple to make and fabulous to eat. The flakes were so delicate and despite the use of very little butter / oil in comparison with most other pastry doughs, it was so buttery. The addition of the butter browned bread crumbs was fantastic and added such flavour to the strudel. I couldn’t decide which one I liked better, the savoury or the sweet version. It was love all! For the first time in many months, K was actually looking forward to my baking and paced up and down in front of the oven asking when it would be ready. We had the savoury version for dinner and the sweet one for dessert.
This is one challenge I will be repeating. It is simple to make and makes for a great addition to the buffet table.
I did not double the measures as suggested, as I was baking for just two. I divided the dough equally into two and had some of the apple strudel leftover.
Here is the recipe for the filling I used for the savoury version.
1 large onion chopped
3 medium potatoes, boiled, peeled and roughly mashed
½ cup peas, frozen or fresh
2 slices low fat cheddar cheese / 4-5 tablespoon grated cheese
1 tablespoon oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon red chilly powder
1 teaspoon coriander powder
2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander leaves
In a pan, heat the oil, add the chopped onion and sauté till translucent. Add the salt, pepper, chilly powder and coriander powder and sauté till the raw smell disappears. Add the potatoes and peas and sauté another 3-4 minutes till everything is incorporates. Garnish with the fresh coriander leaves and cool a bit.
To assemble the strudel:
Roll out the dough and stretch as much as you can on a table cloth. I had many gaping holes by this time, but I didn’t panic! I used a pastry brush to brush the dough with melted butter. Spread the bread crumbs all over. I heaped the potato filling on one side of the pastry, leaving a few inches clean to turn over. Dividing each cheese slice into two, I placed the cheese slices over the filling. After folding over the overhang, I used the tablecloth to roll the strudel over. Placed it on a baking pan and baked for 30 minutes. Once done, I brushed it over with some melted butter. It was very difficult to wait for 30 minutes till I cooled. I found slicing it, even with a serrated knife a little difficult as the layers of the pastry were so delicate and fragile. I didn’t want to crush them.
Thanks Linda and Courtney for a wonderful challenge. Do check out what the other Daring Baker’s have lined up for you!
Read on for the recipe …..
Apple strudel from “Kaffeehaus – Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafés of Vienna, Budapest and Prague” by Rick Rodgers
The changes I made are in italics
2 tablespoons (30 ml) golden rum (I used red wine and whiskey in equal parts)
3 tablespoons (45 ml) raisins
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon (80 g) sugar ( I left out the 1/3 c sugar, it was unbelievably sweet even without this)
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 (I used flaked almonds)
2 pounds (900 g) tart cooking apples, peeled, cored and cut into ¼ inch-thick slices (use apples that hold their shape during baking) (I used green washington apples)
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.
Tips- 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.