Apple Strudel (Daring Bakers Challenge May 09)

strudel final7

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.

In the early stages of our relationship, one day my boyfriend mispronounced strudel as STRUNDEL…I’ve been teasing him ever since. I was reduced to fits of laughter when I discovered that May’s challenge was to recreate this Austrian dessert.

I made this challenge twice – wheat-flour and gluten-free attempts. For the wheat-flour filo, the recipe was simple enough but the technique of stretching the dough was hard to master. I ended up with a very hole-y pastry…the end result was really authentic – light & crispy.

My gluten-free version wasn’t so straight forward and involved a combination of sweet rice flour, rice flour, a lot of xantham gum, gelatine, egg & melted butter. I rolled and rolled but couldn’t get my pastry thin enough. The resulting pastry was on the chewy side and resembled a tough pancake or tortilla wrap.

Here are my stru(n)dels

apple beetroot carrot strudel

Brambly apple, carrot, beetroot & cinnamon: this was a lovely combination, the different textures worked well together. I cored out a cooking apple and stuffed the centre with grated carrot, then wrapped the apple with slithers of beetroot. The resulting strudel was very short and fat but tasted amazing.

almond date strudel

Almond  & rose paste with date & cardamom: this was a Moroccan inspired strudel, well, my version of the delicious serpent cake.

strudel final savoury

Haddock, spinach & chargrilled aubergine: the savoury version came out really well!

strudel final1

Gluten-free Strudels, left to right:

Braeburn apple, blueberry, mulberry & physalis: I wanted to cut the sweet blueberry with the tartness of the physalis, but as it baked it became sweeter so didn’t really work.

Kiwi, dark chocolate & marmalade: I’d never put a kiwi in the oven so was interested in how this would turn out. It worked well with the chocolate & orange.

Pineapple, mango, guava & coconut: this tropical strudel had good intentions but was let down by the stodgy pastry.

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 filling1

Fruit fillings on the gluten-free pastry (i used black sweet rice flour, hence the grey-ish shade)

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.

strudel final3

Wheat-flour strudels: one very apple shaped lump on the right,…


13 responses to “Apple Strudel (Daring Bakers Challenge May 09)

  1. What unique combinations! I think I’d like to try the almond…cardamom first!

    Thanks for visiting my blog and commenting:)

  2. I’d like some of the almond & rose paste strudel, please.

    And the matcha swiss roll for Paddy’s Day sounds great too.
    (stout + cake = win)

  3. I’ve never heard of physalis… I thought it was an egg yolk I was looking at! I love how adventuresome you were with the fillings.

  4. Yum!! Your strudels look absolutely amazing!! I love all of the flavour combinations you used =D. Beautiful job on this challenge!

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