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.
I have never been very keen on strudel - the reason is my aversion against raisins, so I was glad I got the choice of choosing the filling. Making the dough shouldn't be the problem, but shaping and filling it - I honestly thought it would become a unrecognisable mess. But quite the contrary, it turned out very well.
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 (I used white balsamico)
Combine the flour and salt. Mix the water, oil and vinegar in a measuring cup. Add the water/oil mixture to the flour - I used a spoon to do that. You will get a soft dough. Make sure it is not too dry, add a little more water if necessary. With the dough hook, knead on medium speed until you get a soft dough ball with a somewhat rough surface.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).
It was up to us what kind of filling we would like to do, and I decided to create something with Ricotta. During the last weeks I had always a craving for Tiramisu, so the ingredients came out tiramisu-style ...
- 250 g Ricotta
- 15 ml Marsala
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla sugar
- two eggs
- 125 g Creme double
- juice and grated peel of 1/2 lemon
- 30 g sugar
- 50 g dark chocolate, coarsly chopped
- crumbs of 10 ladyfingers
and: unsalted butter, melted
Putting everything together
It would be best if you have a work area that you can walk around on all sides like 90 cm round table or a work surface of 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.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 60 cm wide and 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. Few small holes in the dough is not a problem as the dough will be rolled, making (most of) the holes invisible.
For my part, it didn't work with stretching it by hanging over the edge - I was too afraid that I would get holes. So I stretched the dough with the help of my forearms, transfered it back on the table and did the rest by putting my hands underneath. The other thing was that the table cloth I used had some creases (I never iron things ...) so it was tricky to put the butter on the dough because of that. Every time I met a crease with my hand the dough looked as ist it would get holes immediately, so I had to be careful with applying the butter ...
Put the rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat the oven to 200°C. Line a large baking sheet with baking paper (parchment paper). Spread about 3 tablespoons of the 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). Spread the filling about 8 cm from the short edge of the dough in a 15cm-wide strip. 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 melted butter.
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.
Robert ate nearly the whole strudel within a few days, the rest was warmed up and served with vanilla sauce to a good friend of mine.