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.
This month the Darking Bakers challenged us with strudel. Yikes! Strudel. The paper thin dough that is as fragile as tissue paper. I wasn't sure if I was going to make this; I'm not really all that great at making delicate pastries and doughs-too impatient. I waited until the last minute to decide if I would make the strudel, and didn't start until 4pm the day the recipe was due to be posted. Fortunately, I had everything I needed on hand.
Strudel dough is easy to make and is composed of only five ingredients: all-purpose flour, salt, water, apple cider vinegar, and vegetable oil. The dough is made in the mixer, and only requires two minutes of hand kneading. My dough came together beautifully. It was soft, but still smooth and very elastic. Once the dough is made it needs to rest for 90 minutes.
For the filling, I used the traditional apples, plus dried cranberries that I rehydrated a bit, and some diced chestnuts and pistachios. The filling also requires breadcrumbs, so I made some fresh with bits of bread I keep in the freezer.
As I mentioned, I had no problem making the dough.
After the dough rested, it had to be rolled out and then stretched. This was the scary part for me. The little ball of dough had to be stretched into a rectangle, 2' x 3'. I didn't even think it was possible.
Amazingly, it wasn't very hard at all to get the dough stretched paper-thin. The dough is so elastic that it's not really all that fragile. Plus, even if you do get a few holes they'll be covered up when you roll the strudel.
And, here is where I messed up-filling the dough. You're supposed to put a strip of filling along the length of the dough. I'm not sure what I was thinking, but I spread the filling over the whole piece of pastry, like a cinnamon roll. I didn't realize what I did until I started to roll it up. By then, everything was rather a mess so I just continued on instead of scooping off the filling and risk tearing the dough. I was so mad at myself! I didn't think that the strudel would turn out at all; I was sure it would fall apart in the oven.
No one was more surprised than I was when the strudel came out of the oven looking half-way decent. There were no major explosions or leakages. Wow! It even tasted really good; the filling was delicious. I will gladly try making strudel again, and hopefully, this time I'll fill it correctly.
Thank you Daring Bakers for getting me to try a recipe I never would have attempted on my own.
The hosts of this month's challege are: Coco Cooks http://cococooks.blogspot.com/2009/05/daring-bakers-make-strudel-apple.html, and Linda from Make Life Sweeter, http://linda.kovacevic.nl/archives/291-Daring-Bakers-Apple-strudel.html. Please check-out their blogs to see the proper way to make strudel.
Also, please see the amazing strudels some of the other Daring Bakers made. http://thedaringkitchen.com/