Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Cream Colored Ponies and Crisp Apple Streudels

The May Daring Bakers Challenge is apple streudel! This was a tasty challenge, and not as complicated as the recipe/directions made it seem like it would be. It actually went together quite smoothly for me.
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 dough was a simple mixture of flour, salt, water, oil and a touch of cider vinegar. I mixed it in my Kitchenaid mixer and then kneaded it for a while by hand. The directions say to knead it on an unfloured surface, but I needed a little flour to keep it from sticking. (Otherwise the only way to knead it on the second stroke was to scrape it off the counter with my dough scraper. )

After the dough rested, covered, for 90 minutes, I rolled it out on a floured tablecloth until it was very large and thin. The dough was soft and elastic, and rolled pretty well without tearing. I couldn't get it to be quite as large as the directions called for, so my strudle was a little shorter and fatter than it should have been. I covered it first with melted butter, then a layer of toasted bread crumbs. These act as a separator to keep the layers of dough from sticking together, allowing air to get between them to make them flaky.
I covered the crumb layer with a layer of walnuts, then the mixture of apples, rum-soaked raisins, cinnamon and sugar. The filling isn't heavily sweetened, and this results in a lighter, fresher taste than a pie would have.

The dough stretched over the filling easily without tearing. Then I used the tablecloth to roll the streudel over itself, maying layers of pastry as it rolled. I rolled it right onto the parchment-lined baking pan. No muss, no fuss.
I brushed melted butter on the outside of the roll and popped it into the oven.

It came out crusty and golden. I brushed it with a glaze of confectioners sugar, water and vanilla to make it shiny.

When it was still warm, I had a bite. Very good, light and flaky.

The recipe says it is best eaten right away, and that is my only complaint about the resulting streudel. It was very good immediately after I took it from the oven and it cooled to just warm. Later that night when we actually ate some for dessert, it had begun to get soggy, and the next day it was very soggy! But the flavor was still wonderful! So if you are making it for guests, don't make this one ahead. An hour or two before you serve it would be my suggestion.

Here is the recipe:

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-- I used Granny Smiths)

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 doughfrom “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.


Junie Moon said...

Your strudel looks wonderful. I agree about eating the strudel right away, but I was too tired after my bout of cooking that night to eat a single bite of the strudel I worked so hard to create.

DJM said...

Oh! The close up of your strudel looks so good. I couldn't do an apple version because Husband isn't all that fond of cooked fruits.

Isolated Foodie

Lisa Michelle said...

I think Audax suggested covering the strudel with paper towels and placing it in an airtight container to keep it fresh and crisp, but I agree, it's best when eaten straight away! Your strudel looks magnificent! Great job!

Lynn said...

Thanks, Junie, DJM, and Lisa! I liked this one enough I might make it again when the sour cherries show up at my local Farmers Market. Cherry streudel sounds yummy, too, doesn't it?

Speedbump Kitchen said...

Great job, my girls thought of that song too. I love your chickens. My sister ALMOST got me to raise a few, until I came to my senses and realized I live in a city and 2 of my kids are allergic to eggs!

Dragon said...

Great job on this month's challenge!

katskitchen said...

First, I love the title of your blog. Second, the strudle looks great. I like the step by step pictures.

Claire said...

I guess it depends on what your filling is. I'm sure my strawberry one would have been soggy if there was any left (which there wasn't!) but the egg one didn't sog at all.

OVFM Webmaster said...

What a wonderful blog! Do you mind if I link you on the farmers' market site?

Lynn said...

OVFM Webmaster,

I'd be glad to have you link to my blog! I'm so looking forward to the Farmers' Market opening on the 16th. With the interest this year in safe, healthy food, you should do well!