Wednesday, May 27, 2009

This Is Not Your Usual Toaster Strudel...

It's actually just a strudel... A strawberry strudel! Think homemade poptart crossed with an appel strudel minus the apples plus a lot of Daring Bakers goodness. That and powdered sugar. And ahem,

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.

Yay! I hope all of you are feeling well because I'm really excited to be back here on the blogging dealy. It's been too long... Long enough for me to have turned into a sophomore in college. Yikes. And now I'm home... and after two weeks I'm almost ready to go back. There's this odd sort of feeling like I don't belong in my family's home anymore - I'm ready to be out if only I had the money.

But I don't have any money (which is why I wake up at 6am every morning to go to work) and living at home this summer means loads more baking and blogging than I could ever hope to accomplish scraping by in a dingy apartment elsewhere.

I know you're here for the baking, so I won't keep you waiting any longer. For some reason when I read this challenege back at the start of the month I had this image in my head that strudel was a cobbler of sorts. I quickly found out otherwise as soon as I saw completed challenge posts with pictures of flakey fruit-filled (or meat/cheese/etc filled) logs popping up all over the place. Good thing I like surprises.

In any case, within 48 hours of getting back to the midwest I had this strawberry concoction in my head and soon on my countertop. I had to take advantage of actually having a kitchen after all. I found the recipe to be rather straight forward but since I don't like apples in my baked goods (gasp!) I veered off into the jungle of fruit desserts and made one up on the fly. I thought it was pretty tasty for a fruit dessert, not my favorite, but recipes with room for improvement are always fun too. Something that wasn't fun: trying to make a warm flakey strudel look decent on camera. Seriously these things are not photogenic. I think I'm too OCD for photographing this dessert - it hurt a little on the inside. But I hope you like it as much as my mother said she did...

Prep Time
Total: 2 hours 15 minutes – 3 hours 30 minutes
It's worth it.
15-20 min to make dough
30-90 min to let dough rest/to prepare the filling
20-30 min to roll out and stretch dough
10 min to fill and roll dough
30 min to bake
30 min to cool
Strawberry Strudel
2 quarts of fresh strawberries (plus another to eat while you bake obviously)
ground cinnamon to taste
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 c. sugar
1 stick butter, melted, divided
1/3 c. fresh bread crumbs
strudel dough (recipe below)

1. Wash and cut up your strawberries into quarters, add sugar and vanilla.
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. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Make the strudel dough as described below.
4. Spread about 3 tablespoons of the remaining melted butter over the dough using your hands. It'll be nice and warm - enjoy it :)
5. Sprinkle the buttered dough with the bread crumbs. I discovered too late that you don't have to use all the breadcrumbs and you don't have to coat the dough. It's better if you just give it a light sprinkling because a heavy hand will give you a strudel like you see in the picture - totally separated layers. Weak sauce.
6. Pour the strawberry mixture in a line on the dough and sprinkle with cinammon as you see fit. It tastes good I promise.
7. Fold the short end of the dough onto the filling and keep on rolling. You might want help... Then 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.
8. 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 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 (or any vinegar really... It's a 1/2 tsp for crying out loud)

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.
2. Take the dough out of the mixer. Knead until you get a soft dough ball with a somewhat rough surface.
3. 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. The bf had a ton of fun chucking the dough around while I did dishes and I'm sure you'll have fun too.
4. 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).
5. Here are the directions that were given to me: 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.
6. Still the directions that were given: 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.
5. & 6. What I did: pull at the sucker till it was thin and glorious. I wasn't too technical about it since the only thing I could walk around to pull the dough was a kitchen stool...

P.S. A few small holes in the dough is not a problem since the dough will be rolled, making the holes pretty much invisible. Besides who cares what it looks like as long as it's tasty, right?

I'm a hypocrit...


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