apple strudel, coffee house style.

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It’s Daring Baker time and this month’s challenge is Apple Strudel.

Now, it’s not just any humdrum apple strudel. In true Daring Baker style, there is some technique to this month’s choice. This strudel is made in the eastern European coffee house tradition: with breadcrumbs, walnuts, raisins and rum – and wafer thin dough. While I have eaten many of these over the years (any time I visited my Hungarian grandmother) I had never made a strudel in this style before today. I almost didn’t find the time to tackle it but on the very last day I decided to try throwing it together during a few spare hours.

I am so glad that I gave it a shot. The strudel looked much more daunting than it actually was to make in the end – and I forgot how much I love working with dough.

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.

I have had my eye on Kaffeehaus since it came out and so I was quite happy to be able to test an example from it. My first impression based on this particular experience is that it is quite authentic. The apple strudel couldn’t have been closer to what I remember eating all those years while I was growing up.

What makes this strudel different is the wafer thin dough. I’m talking thin – paper thin – like, you can see through it thin.

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At first I thought there would be no way I would be able to get the dough that thin. I rolled it out onto my floured cloth and then used my hands to stretch it out the rest of the way – almost as much as the recipe directed.

I made a double batch of dough and, for the sake of nostalgia, used the traditional apple filling recipe provided to make the first strudel. As soon as I read the ingredients – rum, raisins, walnuts, breadcrumbs – I knew I had to make that filling. It’s exactly the strudel of my childhood memory. I’m headed to a dinner party at the weekend so I’ll use the extra dough later this week with a filling of my own making. I’m thinking peach, plum, or maybe even both.

Did I mention that this is strudel is naturally vegan? No dairy or eggs in sight. No need for substitutions. There is a call for brushing the completed dough with butter but that is easily swapped out for non-dairy butter.

You can find the entire recipe for both the dough and the traditional apple filling at our host’s blog here.

I essentially followed this recipe to the letter. I don’t have a stand mixer so I did it all by hand using a large bowl and a wooden spoon.

After combining my ingredients in the bowl to form the dough I transferred it to a floured surface and kneaded it for about 5 minutes. I then left the dough to rest for a good four hours while I went hiking with the dogs and then made the filling on my return. I used dark rum instead of light. I don’t think the raisins minded.

I highly recommend that you give this strudel a go yourself. I imagine it would be lovely with any of a multitude of fillings. I’m looking forward to testing that theory.

Be sure to check out what the rest of the Daring Bakers are up to at the Daring Kitchen.

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sorbet, mango.

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The warm weather is finally here and there is absolutely nothing better after spending time in the bright hot sun than cooling off with some homemade sorbet or frozen yogurt.

My favourite frozen treat ever is not only dairy-free but also unbelievably easy to make. All you need is a food processor or a good blender and you’re all set. Thank you Mark Bittman for pointing me in this tasty direction.

I’ve made this sorbet, or a variation of it, more times than I can count.

Mango Sorbet

1 medium container plain soy yogurt (mine was 425 grams)
1 bag frozen mango (or your favourite – I used a 600 gram bag)

Add yogurt and frozen fruit to food processor and process just until smooth. Pause processor occasionally to scrape down the sides and make sure fruit is making contact with blades. Don’t over process or the sorbet will start to melt. The fruit is so sweet there’s no need for added sweeteners.

Transfer to glasses or bowls and serve immediately.

Enjoy the yumminess.

coconut cardamom arborio rice pudding.

Coconut Rice Pudding

This scrumptious spin on my favourite rice pudding is like a warm bowl of coconut cream pie. It is absolutely delicious, completely satisfying, toothsome comfort food.

Who doesn’t like pudding?

You can go ahead and use your favourite non-dairy milk , however making it with unsweetened almond milk makes this incredibly rich, complex flavoured dessert downright lo-cal. That means you can have extra, right?

Coconut Cardamom Arborio Rice Pudding
Serves 2

1/4 cup Arborio rice
1/4 cup unsweetened finely shredded coconut*
2 cups unsweetened almond milk (or your favourite non-dairy milk)
1 – 2 Tbsp sugar (depending on how sweet you like it – I’ve tried it both ways)
1/4 vanilla bean, split (or 1/2 tsp vanilla extract)
Pinch of cardamom (my 1/4 tsp measure was about 1/3 full)

*Note: If your shredded coconut is coarse or tough (and you prefer a softer pudding overall) try putting it through the food processor, blender, or spice grinder to achieve a finer texture. Alternatively, you can soften up tough coconut by soaking it in advance (as you would soak raw nuts in preparation to make nut milks) – this should soften the coconut significantly.

In a large saucepan, place all the ingredients (except extract, if using). Bring to a gentle boil and turn down immediately. Allow to simmer gently, stirring often (or it will stick to the bottom) for 35 to 45 minutes, depending on how thick you like it. A silicone spatula makes an excellent stirring tool, allowing you to easily scrape the pudding down the sides and off the bottom of the pan. The rice should be soft and significantly plumped up. Check it often towards the end of cooking to ensure it does not get overdone or burn.

Once it’s cooked to your liking, remove the pot from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract.

Serve immediately in the cutest bowl you can find, if you like it hot – otherwise let it chill in the fridge and enjoy later. It can also be reheated. Enjoy.

I’ve made this pudding a few times now and I LOVE it. It’s perfect for breakfast on days when I’m not in the hugest rush and it so so tasty. I like the added shredded coconut a lot and wouldn’t describe it as sandy…I think that’s the whole point! If someone has very petrified coconut and they don’t like that sort of thing, I’d say give it a whirl in a spice grinder or good blender to make it finer before using. LOVE the cardamom too. Warm, spicy goodness.

Hi CocoLoco! That’s a great suggestion (pulverizing the coconut in a blender if it is tough). Another option for those who prefer a softer texture – if you think your coconut is on the harder/ tougher side, try soaking it first, as you would soak raw nuts in preparation to make nut milks. That should soften the coconut significantly. Another option is to make the pudding without the coconut, and then sprinkle it on top. I am going to amend the instructions to reflect these options too – thanks for the input!