Wednesday 27 May 2009

Daring Bakers May 2009 Challenge: Strudel Dough

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.

The challenge this month was to make our own strudel dough which is basically filo pastry, a paper thin dough which was filled with fruit, nuts and spices before being rolled and baking into a yummy strudel. We were also provided with the recipe for an apple filling but as this was optional, I decided to create my own using apples, plums and ground almonds.

Creating the dough itself was surprisingly easy but the skill involved with rolling and stretching it out into a see-through thinness is something of an art form requiring a large work space and a well floured tablecloth! As I had neither of these things I decided instead to divide the dough into 8 pieces and make individual strudels instead.

I tried my best at getting the dough as thin as possible without it tearing, although a few holes did appear. Thankfully these disappeared as the layers were rolled over each other. My individual strudels turned out well and were lovely and crisp, although next time I might try making the dough longer to create a few more outer flakey layers. The apple and plum filling was soft without being mushy and mingled with the mixed spice and almonds well. I served mine with some cinnamon ice cream (sadly not home made) which was the perfect accompaniment, and providing an enjoyable hot with cold mouthfeel.

Thanks Linda and Courtney for such a fun challenge. Click here to see other Daring Bakers Strudels.

Strudel Dough
(Recipe from “Kaffeehaus – Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafés of Vienna, Budapest and Prague” by Rick Rodgers)
200g strong plain flour
1/8 tsp salt
105 ml water, plus more if needed
2 tbsp vegetable oil, plus additional for coating the dough
½ tsp cider vinegar

Combine the flour and salt in a stand-mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix the water, oil and vinegar in a jug. 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.
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 dough with clingfilm. Allow to stand for at least 30-90 minutes (longer is better).
(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) for the next stage).
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.
The dough has 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.
(I made individual strudels so cut the dough into 8 pieces before stretching which made it a lot easier to work with).

For the apple strudel filling
(Recipe from “Kaffeehaus – Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafés of Vienna, Budapest and Prague” by Rick Rodgers)
2 tbsp golden rum
45g raisins
¼ tsp cinnamon
80g caster sugar
115g unsalted butter, melted, divided
100g fresh bread crumbs
60g coarsely chopped walnuts
900g tart cooking apples, peeled, cored and cut into ¼ inch-thick slices (use apples that hold their shape during baking)

Mix the rum and raisins in a bowl. Mix the cinnamon and sugar in another bowl.
Heat 3 tbsp of the butter in a large pan over medium-high. Add the breadcrumbs and cook whilst stirring until golden and toasted. This will take about 3 minutes. Let it cool completely.
Preheat the oven to 200C. Line a large baking sheet with baking paper. Make the strudel dough as described above.
Spread about 3 tbsp of the remaining melted butter over the dough using your hands. Sprinkle the buttered dough with the bread crumbs. Spread the walnuts about 3 inches/8cm 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.
Fold the short end of the dough over 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. Curve it into a horseshoe to fit. Tuck the ends under the strudel. Brush the top with the remaining melted butter. 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 eaten on the day it is baked.

For the apple plum & almond filling
4 tbsp ground almonds
2 Bramley apples
4 plums
1 tsp almond extract
2 tsp mixed spice
60g caster sugar
60g unsalted butter

Preheat the oven to 200C. Line a large baking sheet with baking paper. Make the strudel dough as described above.
Mix the sugar and the mixed spice together in a small bowl. Melt the butter and stir in the almond extract.
Peel, core and finely dice the apples and cut the plums into similar sized pieces.
Divide the strudel dough into 8 pieces. Dust a clean tea towel with flour and roll and stretch each one out into a rectangle shape, making it as thin as you can. Use your fingers and back of your hands to gently stretch it thin.
Brush a little melted butter on top of the rectangle of dough. Scatter over half a tablespoon of ground almonds.
Arrange a line of apple and plum across the width of the dough. Use about quarter of an apple and half a plum for each individual strudel.
Scatter over two teaspoons of spiced sugar over the fruit. Fold the top edge of the dough over the fruit and then fold in the sides – like you would if making a spring roll. Roll up into a sausage shape, using the tea towel to help you if needed.
Place on the baking tray and brush with the melted butter.
Bake in the oven for 30 minutes until crisp and golden brown in colour.
Allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving with custard of ice cream. (I used cinnamon ice cream)
Makes 8 individual strudels.


The Caked Crusader said...

I love plum and your pastries look delicious. I could just fancy one (or three) now!

Dharm said...

Great job in this challenge! It was a lot of fun and I think your mini strudels were just the way to go!!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Very well done! Both strudels look and sound delicious!



♥Rosie♥ said...

WOW both your strudels look amazing! Such a lot of hard work making this from scratch - well done!

Rachel said...

Both look and sound delicious.

Angela @ A Spoonful of Sugar said...

Gorgeous, Katie! Individual strudels are such a good idea!

thepassionatecook said...

what a fitting theme for your blog! you certainly were up to the challenge, your strudels look wonderful!

Joy said...

I love the idea of mini-strudels. So cute!

all in one printer said...

mini-strudels... hhmmm thats so sweet. :)

Engineer Baker said...

What adorable little strudels! Just perfect - love your filling tweaks.

Thip said...

I have to admit it's hard to be a vegeterian, you're amazing. Thank you for stopping by. :)

Jill @ Jillicious Discoveries said...

Your strudels looked great! Delicious filling combination too!

job new Zealand said...

this is soo delicious for my eyes..

Elyse said...

Mmm, your strudel turned out perfectly! I'm definitely impressed. And that apple and plum filling sounds wonderfully flavorful and delicious. Great job!

Selba said...

The strudel looks yummy and can tell directly from the empty plate at the last picture :)

TeaLady said...

Great job on this strudel.

I was so surprised at how easy it was and still sooooo good.