It is once again time for a Daring Bakers challenge and this time, no other than strudel dough. It has been years since I have made strudel dough and if I think about it hard enough, I think I have not made it since culinary school. A long time.
I was pressed for time once again and I thought long and hard about what to do with this challenge, when suddenly, I remembered the individual strudel rolls that Claudia Fleming features in her book “The Last Course”. I thought it’d be a great idea to make individual strudels and pair them with ice cream.
I made the strudel dough twice. I was fairly successful the first time resulting in a really thin dough with minimal tears and only a few wrinkles, but I have to admit I ended up with lots of unusable, dry scraps of dough just because I was not working quickly enough. I wanted to try it again as I felt more comfortable with the task and mostly, because C. brought home some great looking apricots.
I filled the first batch of dough with bananas and pistachio crumble and the second one with the fresh apricots and the same pistachio crumble. I thought creme fraiche ice cream would be a great side for the warm and crumbly strudel rolls and found the perfect recipe in David Lebovitz’s “Perfect Scoop”.
This really was an easy strudel dough recipe and did not find any complications with it. If the dough has been kneaded enough so that some gluten has been developed and then rested so this gluten relaxes, the dough is very easy to handle and stretch. I will definitely use this recipe again.
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.
adapted 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
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.
5. Start working quickly after this point as the dough will start to dry out. If you want to make individual rolls, cut rectangular strips that are about 4.5″x7.5″ long using scissors. I cut them as I was filling them so I didn’t have to move the dough much.
6. Brush the dough lightly with melted butter, dust with a light coating of sifted powdered sugar, a sprinkle of chopped pistachios and then place the filling on the bottom of the shortest sides. Roll the strudel and place it on a baking sheet lined with parchment seam-side down. Continue until all the dough has been used.
7. Note: the first time around I got about a dozen rolls and ended up with lots of scraps just because I was too slow and the dough kept drying on me. The second time around, I worked faster and got about 18 rolls and less scraps. It’s all a matter of practice.
Apricot and Pistachio Crumble Filling
4 apricots, cut into small dice
20 grams sugar
100 grams pistachio crumble
finely chopped pistachios
1. Place the raw crumble on a sheetpan lined with parchment and bake it at 350F for about 5 minutes until lightly golden. Let it cool completely.
2. Toss the apricots and sugar together. Mix with crumble and fill the strudel following directions mentioned above.