Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Daring Bakers - Apple Strudel (May 2009)

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 main part of this challenge was the dough, though they also gave us a yummy apple filling to use. Since the ingredients for the dough are inexpensive, they suggested we make a double batch so that if one didn't turn out like we hoped, we had a spare. I'm glad I did because the first batch I mixed together seemed way too wet (on left in picture below). The second batch seemed to feel more like I was expecting.
As the dough rested I got started on making the filling. I used my trusty apple corer, peeler, slicer from Pampered Chef. The apples were really fresh and firm, so it worked well. As you can also see in the photo below, the raisins were soaking in the rum and the cinnamon sugar was already mixed. I think that the step of mixing the cinnamon and sugar was probably one I could have skipped, but the raisins did need to soak.
The dough was fairly easy to roll and stretch, though it was a messy job! Also, I probably should have ironed the cloth that I used because any bump in the cloth made a wrinkle in the dough. I didn't quite get it to the dimensions suggested, but the dough was paper thin. I could see my hand clearly through it.
Once rolled I added the filling. I did not use all of the bread crumbs, and honestly think that I should have used even less than I did. I'm also not sure I laid the filling out properly. Part of me thinks that the filling should have gone down the long end, not the short end.
The hardest part of the whole process besides not tearing the dough during rolling/stretching was getting the roll onto the pan! After fanagling it a bit I finally did though and got it buttered and ready for the oven.
As most baked goods with cinnamon and apples do, it smelled amazing while baking. It came out looking great!
The strudel tasted wonderful. Again, I probably would have used less bread crumbs as their flavor did show up, which was a bit distracting from the overall taste. The dough was flaky and crumbly when first out of the oven after cooling. The next day it was a bit soggy, but still tasted great.
My co-workers, who are my taste testers most of the time, said that it was really good. One said that she liked it a lot because it wasn't overly sweet. Another person said that it would have been great with whipped cream or ice cream, which I agreed. I'm one that likes my desserts to be on teh sweeter side, so this one was just ok for me. But, hey, how can you go wrong with apples and pastry.

The Recipe: Apple strudel
Preparation Time
Total: 2 hours 15 minutes – 3 hours 30 minutes
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

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)

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 Dough
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.

  • Ingredients are cheap so we would recommend making a double batch of the dough, that way you can practice the pulling and stretching of the dough with the first batch and if it doesn't come out like it should you can use the second batch to give it another try;
  • The tablecloth can be cotton or polyester;
  • Before pulling and stretching the dough, remove your jewelry from hands and wrists, and wear short-sleeves;
  • To make it easier to pull the dough, you can use your hip to secure the dough against the edge of the table;
  • Few small holes in the dough is not a problem as the dough will be rolled, making (most of) the holes invisible.
Enjoy With Love,


  1. Hello Christina!!
    Congratulations by the strudel challenge, it looks delisious! yours dough looks very good. I made also the traditions strudel, and the hardest part for me was to stretch the dough and put it on the baking sheet (mine took a hideous shape...LOL..but turned out delisious).

    Eva from Spain

  2. I think your strudel came out text book perfect and lovely to boot! Glad to know there were a few of us who couldn't stretch the dough into giant veils! Great job and so yummy looking!