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.
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.