Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Daring Bakers - Apple Rhubarb Strudel

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.
We were allowed to choose any type of filling savory or sweet for our strudel. I decided to stick pretty close to the original filling but added rhubarb since its in season, I had it on hand & its a great pairing with apples.
This was one of those recipes where at first glance I thought, "Oh no, this is going to be a hard one," then once I started making it it turned out to be pretty easy. I started the dough around 8:00 in the morning & we had finished strudel around 11:30. It seemed that the hardest part was going to be stretching the dough out until it was paper thin. Since I only did half a batch mine only need to be about 12" x 18", a size that seemed much friendlier to working on the kitchen counter. I have a large cutting board that I covered with a cotton barware cloth & that was the perfect rolling surface as I could turn it on the counter to work from different sizes. The only time I really had any issues was when it came to rolling & getting it to the baking sheet. I lost some of my filling out an end (perhaps I had too much) & one of my apples broke through the dough (I should have been more careful about laying them out) but in the end that didn't make a difference.

I really liked the finished product here though I'm glad I halved the recipe for just two of us. I was afraid the rhubarb & apple wouldn't cook enough in 1/2 hour but they were perfect. The tart flavor, soft fruit & crunch pecans were so good together. Next time though I would maybe sprinkle a little sugar on top for some caramelization & sweetness but before that I think I may do a savory version.

Here's the recipe as I made it...

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

Apple strudel
Adapted from “Kaffeehaus – Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafés of Vienna, Budapest and Prague” by Rick Rodgers

1/4 t ground cinnamon
3 T sugar
4 T unsalted butter, melted, divided
1/2 c toasted bread crumbs
strudel dough (recipe below)
1/4 c pecan chips
1 large Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and cut into ¼ inch-thick slices
6 oz rhubarb, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1/2 T rum
1/2 T lemon juice

Mix the apples, rhubarb, rum, lemon juice, cinnamon & sugar & let sit while you roll out the dough.

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) or a silicon pad. 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 pecans about 3 inches (8 cm) from the short edge of the dough in a 3-inch-wide strip. Spread the apple/rhubarb mixture over the walnuts.
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.
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
(adapted for size & hand kneading)

1/2 c + 3 T cups unbleached flour
pinch salt
3 1/2 T water, plus more if needed
1 T vegetable oil, plus additional for coating the dough
1/4 t cider vinegar

Combine the flour and salt in a small bowl. Mix the water, oil and vinegar in a measuring cup. Add the water/oil mixture to the flour & stir with a spoon. 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 bowl. Knead until you get a soft dough ball with a somewhat rough surface.

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 mine sit 2 hours & it was easy to work).
3. It would be best if you have a work area that you can walk around on all sides like a 36 inch round table or a work surface of 13 x 20 inches. 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 1 feet wide and 1 1/2 feet long, it will be tissue-thin by this time. Cut away the thick dough around the edges with scissors (My edges were thin so I skipped this). The dough is now ready to be filled.

4 - 6 servings

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at OR at then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at katbaro AT yahoo DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author unless otherwise noted.
© 2007-2009 Kathy Lewinski


vanillasugarblog said...

yeah the rolling part would have scared me a bit too, but the cloth was a smart idea. I love the finished product too. Good work my dear!

Jersey Girl Cooks said...

Nice job! I love homemeade strudel. My mom's friend used to make it and it was always so good!

Audax said...

You did such a good job on this challenge you strudel looks so yummmmy and I like how you put in rhubard an oldie but a goodie. Wonderful cheers from Audax

Stacey Snacks said...

I love strudel...packages of deliciousness.
I need to join that Daring Bakers group, now that I like baking!

Lori said...

This looks wonderful. I have to check out that book. I've heard about it, but haven't looked it up yet. Vienna is my favorite city in the world thus far and last year we traveled to Prague and Budapest so I can't wait to see all the goodies it features.

Junie Moon said...

I'm enjoying reading about the different filling combinations everyone is using. Your apple rhubarb sounds delicious. Great job on your strudel!

Lori said...

I thought this one was going to be very difficult as well. The dough wasnt as hard to thin as I first thought.
This looks very tasty Kat.

Sara said...

Great idea to add rhubarb to the filling--it looks absolutely delicious!

Jen said...

The rhubarb sounds like a great addition to the strudel. I thought about making half a recipe but decided to make a whole one-- it made so much that Zach and I both took some to work and we still have a big piece at home.

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful strudel! Picture perfect, and I do mean 'picture' perfect since your photos are lovely!

Joy said...

That's a lovely looking strudel - so much neater than mine!

Anonymous said...

Great job, so pretty!

Speedbump Kitchen said...

Great job, I like the idea of halving the recipe!

Greta said...

I'm not sure if this is the most proper comment, but the picture of the strudel all rolled up and unbaked looks kind of adorable. Almost like a cute lil' caterpillar.

Love your blog! : )

Dragon said...

Great job on this month's challenge!

jillian said...

Beautiful job! The rhubarb is a nice addition!

Connie said...

Great job! I bet the rhubarb addition was fabulous!

grace said...

rhubarb, eh? fantastic. i'm happy to hear that it's not as troublesome as it seems!

Unknown said...

Looks wonderful! It was a nice and quick challenge.

Peter M said...

Wonderfully done and thank goodness I can only look at all these DB strudels floating around.

silverrock said...

Oooo rhubarb and apples, what a delicious combination! Way to go on the May challenge :)

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