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Friday, May 29, 2009

Daring Bakers - Strudel



I'm a bit late posting, but better late than never, I guess.
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 Caf├ęs of
Vienna, Budapest and Prague by Rick Rodgers
.

This recipe was really pretty easy to make, but I highly recommend not starting at 8 pm. :) The end results would probably have been better had I baked the strudel immediately instead of refrigerating overnight and baking the next morning. After seeing some other Daring Bakers' posts, my strudel certainly doesn't look like theirs. The layers of apples and dough are visible, but only the outside was crispy. The inner layers melded together (but without feeling mushy) - I did leave out the rum and substituted a bit of water, and I didn't include nuts, either. The flavor was good, but I don't think I'll be making it frequently. I did see an idea for making homemade 'toaster strudel' with the dough; I think that's worth trying since the it's so easy to make. :)

Apple Strudel

2 tablespoons (30 ml) golden rum (or water)
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/water 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 (I used a silicone pastry brush & it didn't tear the dough). 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 liquid), 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

1 1/3 cups (200 g) unbleached flour (all purpose)
1/8 teaspoon salt
7 Tablespoons (105 ml) water, plus more if needed
2 Tablespoons (30 ml) vegetable oil (I used canola), 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. Change to the dough hook. 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.
Gently stretch the dough (I couldn't pick up the edge of the dough without it stretching too much too quickly.)
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) and 3 feet (90
cm) long (or as close as you can get it to that), it will be tissue-thin by this time. The dough is now ready to be filled.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Still Here

Again, it's been too long since I've posted. Haven't been doing too much new baking recently; just relying on tried and true recipes, so there hasn't been much to post. I've even missed the last two Daring Bakers' Challenges. :( Plus, I haven't felt much like cooking/baking anyway because of this:



That's right, #2 is on the way, due in October. We're going to wait and be surprised - we're not finding out if it's a boy or girl until he/she arrives! ;)

Hopefully I'll be back to posting soon. Just wanted to give a quick update.