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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Daring Bakers: 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.

The Daring Bakers must have an ESP connection with the dessert part of my husband's brain. He loves decadent chocolate desserts, cheesecake, and now an apple strudel?! He doesn't really eat cake, so all he asks for for his birthday dessert is an apple pie. And this apple strudel was good enough to hold him over until his birthday next month.

I decided to make four smaller strudels instead of one large one, partially because of spacing issues, but also because I'm just a fan of individual portions. These four strudels easily served 2-3 people each, although I'm almost ashamed to admit that I kept one all to my self...almost, but not quite.

Stretching the dough was the most difficult part, but after a couple of tries, it took only a couple of minutes to get it thin enough to roll. Next time, though, I'd try to make them them a little longer for more layers in the strudel.

I sprinkled on a lot less bread crumbs than called for (maybe about a half a cup total for all four), but I just couldn't imagine so many breadcrumbs for one small strudel. I would do the same again...

I stretched the dough out on parchment paper and used that to roll the strudels. Make sure to put some flour underneath to keep it from sticking to the parchment!

They weren't the prettiest strudels ever, but they sure tasted good! I saw some strudels in a bakery here in Strasbourg today, and they looked similar, if a little better shaped, but had an egg wash on top...I have a feeling that would have made them look a little better if nothing else!

Apple strudel
adapted ever-so-slightly from Kaffeehaus – Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafés of Vienna, Budapest and Prague by Rick Rodgers

2 tablespoons (30 ml) apple juice
3 tablespoons (45 ml) raisins
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon (80 g) sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick / 115 g) unsalted butter, melted, divided
1/2 cups 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)

Mix the rum and raisins in a bowl. Mix the cinnamon and sugar in another bowl.

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.

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.

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.

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
adapted ever-so-slightly 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

Combine the flour and salt in a bowl. Mix the water, oil and vinegar in a measuring cup. Add the water/oil mixture to the flour and mix with a wooden spoon or your hands. You will get a soft dough. Make sure it is not too dry, add a little more water if necessary. Knead the dough until you get a soft dough ball with a somewhat rough surface.

Take the dough out of the bowl and continue kneading by hand on a slightly floured 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).

Cover your working area with parchment paper and dust it with flour. Section your dough into four parts and put one in the middle of the parchment paper and roll it out as much as you can. Pick the dough up and stretch with your hands. This way the weight of the dough and gravity can help stretching it as it hangs. It will be tissue-thin when it's ready. Cut away the thick dough around the edges with scissors or a sharp knife. The dough is now ready to be filled.

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Chef E May 27, 2009 at 4:03 PM  

Man Mindy that looks great! There is a place on LI that hubby's step mom gets a similar strudel when we visit...German owners, and it is delish...

Laura in Paris May 27, 2009 at 8:48 PM  

I must confess I thought making apple strudel was somehow simpler ... but I'll try your recipe when Fall comes back and apples are the only fruit available.

Sarah May 27, 2009 at 9:14 PM  

This looks delicous! I love strudels

Jen @ MyKitchenAddiction.com May 28, 2009 at 9:55 PM  

Looks delicious! I just signed up for the Daring Bakers, so next month will be my first challenge. I'm excited and scared at the same time!

Allison Lemons May 29, 2009 at 12:08 PM  

That looks so good! I'm going to try this instead of apple pie. I really like the idea of individual sized portions too. It'll make it easier to transport to friends by bike.

Anonymous,  December 24, 2014 at 10:36 AM  

Hello, could you pleaser tell me where exactly you found the strudel in Strasbourg? We are in desperate search of some! Thank you!

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