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.
Not as tough as it may seem after the first time,I baked the Strudel 3 times already and each time my friends and family simply loved it.If you can master the subtle rolling and stretching of the dough to a tissue-thin transparency then making this Classic Austrian Pastry can be as easy as baking a pie.Make sure you have ample workspace ,watch professionals roll the pastry here and here . The filling can be varied ,the juicy tart apples ,dried fruits and nuts is the original stuffing of these pastries, make it savory with spicy vegetables.I added Cocoa to the filling for a hint of chocolate flavor.The amount of fat can also be adjusted ,I experimented with brushing both oil or butter.The Olive oil thankfully worked well,one more reason to make this dessert more often.
Use Granny Smith apples for best tasting Apple strudels.
For Strudel dough
1 1/3 cups unbleached All Purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
7 tablespoons water, plus more if needed
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus additional for coating the dough
1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar
For Green Apple Cocoa Strudel Filling
2 medium Granny Smith Apples,Cored,peeled and sliced
3 tablespoons raisins or dried cranberries or cherries
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon cocoa powder(optional)
1 tablespoon Brown sugar
1 cup fresh bread crumbs
1 cup Walnuts.coarsely chopped
3 tablespoon Olive oil for brushing over the dough
Prepare the Dough
Combine the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Mix the water, oil and vinegar in a measuring cup. Add the water/oil mixture to the flour and make a soft dough and knead for 2 minutes. Make sure it is not too dry, add a little more water if necessary.
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).
Prepare the Filling
Mix the raisins,cinnamon ,apple ,walnuts and sugar in a bowl.Heat a tablespoons of oil 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.
Roll the Dough tissue-thin
Put the rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
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.
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.
Brush about 2 tablespoons of the oil 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 dough with the bread crumbs. Spread apple mixture about 3 inches (8 cm) from the short edge of the dough in a 6-inch-(15cm)-wide strip.
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. Tuck the ends under the strudel. Brush the top with the remaining oil.
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 with any fruit sauce. It is best on the day it is baked.Store in refrigerator for up to a week,if desired warm at 300F oven for about 10 minutes before serving.
To make Raspberry sauce
Cook 1 cup of fresh or frozen berries with 1/2 cup of water until soft,blend to a smooth sauce,I like the crunch from seeds and didn't filter the seeds.Pour over the strudel slice after plating it.
To make Chocolate sauce
Melt 2 ounce of Dark chocolate chopped or chips with 2 tablespoon of whole milk in a double broiler,stir often until smooth and completely melted.Drizzle the warm sauce over the strudel.