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.
Courtney and Linda told us that they picked a recipe that is all about technique. But they also picked the “right” strudel dough recipe. I am in love with this dough. It handled like a dream and before I knew it, with a little rolling and a bit of stretching, the double batch I had made almost entirely covered my 52 inch x 52 inch table!
My Grandmother would tell me that you knew the dough was thin enough when you could see the lines on the palm of your hand thru the dough. I think she would be proud of me … you can even read thru it! As I was making this dough I would remember things she told me about dough stretching … never stretch dough in an area where you could get a cool draft … the best dough stretching temperature is when you have just a bead of sweat on your forehead. The stretching cloths I used belonged to my great grandmother and were passed down to my grandmother and now my Sister and I share them for our poviticia and strudel making.
Strudel dough (I doubled this recipe.)
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 (I did not need more water. The conditions in my kitchen must have been ideal on the afternoon I baked.)
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). (I let my dough rest for a full 2 hours.)
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.
Grandma always said to make sure you lightly butter the dough immediately after you have finished stretching and prior to adding the filling. My Great Grandmother was well known for her “multi-filling” strudels. If she did not have enough apples for the whole strudel she would use what else she had on hand. So my strudel is a tribute to my Great Grandmother Roper!
After I lightly buttered the stretched dough, I added a light dusting of graham cracker crumbs.
Apple: I used about 2 pounds of Granny Smith Apples, peeled, quartered and thinly sliced. Once arranged on the dough, sprinkle the apples lightly with sugar (used just short of 1/2 cup) and dust with apple pie spice .
Pineapple and Maraschino Cherry: Sprinkle (lots of sprinkling going on with the strudel) about 1 cup of finely ground walnuts on the area where you will place your filling. You will need about 3 cups of fresh pineapple that has been diced into small pieces and pressed to remove a good bit of the juice. If you do not remove some of the juice your strudel will be mushy. Place the pineapple over the ground walnuts. Next add about 3/4 cup of maraschino cherries that have been finely diced. Sprinkle sugar over the filling (I used about 1/2 cup). You can add golden raisins if you like. (I intended to use them but forgot!)
Cherry Cheese: I used Gale Gand’s Cherry Cheese filling recipe. Adjust the recipe as necessary to fit the size of strudel you are making.
Time to roll it up!
As you roll the strudel, add a layer of the cheese mixture to the cherry filling.
The rolled strudel is coiled (in snake fashion) and transferred to a full sheet pan and brushed with butter. It is baked in a 375 degree oven for about 45 minutes. With the size of this strudel you want to get as much baking time as possible without burning the dough. It is best to let the strudel cool prior to slicing.