Strudels ( sweet & savoury) for the Daring bakers challenge, May ‘09

by Sunita on May 27, 2009

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.

A strudel is a type of sweet layered pastry with a filling inside, that became well known and gained popularity in the 18th century through the Habsburg Empire.

Strudel is most often associated with the Austrian cuisine, but is also a traditional pastry in the whole area formerly belonging to the Austro-Hungarian empire.

Although we were given the recipe for an apple strudel, we were given the complete freedom with the filling. All that we had to do was to make the strudel dough according to the recipe and fill it with whatever caught our fancy.

I made five small savoury strudels filled with mushrooms, sweet potatoes, and an assortment of other vegetables.

I also made the sweeter version with a pineapple filling.

The following is the recipe that we had to follow-

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

2 tablespoons (30 ml) golden rum
3 tablespoons (45 ml) raisins
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon (80 g) sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick / 115 g) unsalted butter, melted, divided
1 1/2 cups (350 ml) fresh bread crumbs
strudel dough (recipe below)
1/2 cup (120 ml, about 60 g) coarsely chopped walnuts
2 pounds (900 g) tart cooking apples, peeled, cored and cut into ¼ inch-thick slices (use apples that hold their shape during baking)

1. Mix the rum and raisins in a bowl. Mix the cinnamon and sugar in another bowl.

2. Heat 3 tablespoons of the butter 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.

3. 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). 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 walnuts about 3 inches (8 cm) from the short edge of the dough in a 6-inch-(15cm)-wide strip. Mix the apples with the raisins (including the rum), and the cinnamon sugar. Spread the mixture over the walnuts.

4. 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.

5. 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

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. The dough is now ready to be filled.

Tips
- Ingredients are cheap so we would recommend making a double batch of the dough, that way you can practice the pulling and stretching of the dough with the first batch and if it doesn’t come out like it should you can use the second batch to give it another try;
- The tablecloth can be cotton or polyster;
- Before pulling and stretching the dough, remove your jewelry from hands and wrists, and wear short-sleeves;
- To make it easier to pull the dough, you can use your hip to secure the dough against the edge of the table;
- Few small holes in the dough is not a problem as the dough will be rolled, making (most of) the holes invisible.

What I did-

Rolling and stretching the dough-

  • I made the dough according to instructions. After the resting period,  I  divided the dough into smaller portions in the ratio of 2/3 and 1/3 . I further divided the 2/3 portion into 5 equal sized balls for savoury strudels and with the 1/3 portion, I made the sweeter version with pineapples.
  • Instead of rolling the dough out on the cloth, I used my wooden chopping board and covered with parchment paper. This made rolling a breeze. And as the sizes were small, it made stretching out much easier too. I was actually surprised as to how elastic the dough was and was able to stretch out quite thin. I rolled the portions with a rolling pin, and then stretched and pulled to make them very thin.


Filling-

  • As I mentioned earlier, I made 5 small savoury strudels which were filled with a  mushroom and vegetable mixture of sweet potatoes and an assortment of others.

The savoury filling ( feel free to reduce the amount, I had some left over)-

What’s needed-

3 sweet potatoes, boiled and peeled
1/2 red pepper, cut into small cubes
1/4 C of chopped green beans
1 onion, finely chopped
5 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2tblsp of Italian seasoning
1tblsp of roasted and ground cumin
1 tsp crushed red chillies
2 tblsp extra virgin olive oil
2 C sliced close cap mushrooms
salt and freshly ground pepper
to taste.

How to-

  1. Heat the oil and add all the rest of the ingredients except the sweet potatoes. Cook, stirring frequently till the mushrooms and onions soften.
  2. Add the potatoes and stir over medium heat till they are roughly crumbled and the mixture is dry. Remove from heat and cool completely.

The sweet filling-

I made this like the apple filling suggested in the recipe. But instead of apples, I used some chopped pineapples. I also did not use any nuts.

Filling the pastry-

The savoury-


The sweet-

Baking-

I baked the strudels for about 20-25 minutes until they were deep golden brown. After cooling for 30 minutes, I cut them into bite sized pieces with a serrated knife.

I dusted the sweet strudel with icing sugar after cooling completely.

Did we like them? Oh yes! We did! The savoury ones were a part of our dinner and the pineapple one a dessert on another day. The recipe was quite straight forward, and one could customise the filling as per one’s wish. The pastry was flaky and it was a delight to bite into it and reach the filling within.

And of course, the fact that  I did not have a floury room to clean up afterwards definitely added to the pleasure ;-)

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{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Lisa May 27, 2009 at 8:13 pm

Sunita, once again, you’ve blown me away! I’m in love with both your sweet and savory strudel. The flavors are magnificent and they look stunning, especially with your amazing photo skills! Awesome job!

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2 cinzia May 27, 2009 at 8:25 pm

And of course, the fact that I did not have a floury room to clean up afterwards definitely added to the pleasure…

…I bet you have been the only one!
A super work, Sunita, bravo!

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3 snooky doodle May 27, 2009 at 8:46 pm

Wow these strudels look delicious. I like the savoury variation.

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4 Feng May 27, 2009 at 8:50 pm

wow, these look delicious! I love the sound of your savoury filling, i will definatley try this next time, thanks!

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5 pavithra May 27, 2009 at 8:59 pm

Lovely pictures and strudels ..wonderful clicks.. strudel is tempting me.

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6 Rosa May 27, 2009 at 9:42 pm

Both versions look really good, but I must say that the savory strudel has captured all my attention! You did a great job! Wonderful!

Cheers,

Rosa

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7 sara May 27, 2009 at 9:47 pm

Both the fillings sound fantastic! I want to try a savory one at some point too…this one sounds delicious!

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8 Dragon May 27, 2009 at 11:15 pm

I love your savoury filling. Great job on this month’s challenge!

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9 Namratha May 28, 2009 at 12:12 am

Delicious filling choices Sunita, the strudels look great!

I decided to sit this one out….way too many things going on this month.

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10 Cupcake May 28, 2009 at 1:17 am

Great job! Your fillings sound delish!

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11 A&N May 28, 2009 at 1:41 am

I’m never disappointed when I come here, Sunita :)

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12 Shirley May 28, 2009 at 2:21 am

The sweet potato strudel looks mouthwatering. And I love the idea of pineapple.

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13 prathibha May 28, 2009 at 2:55 am

Both the filling look gorgeous….Would love to hv a bite of it..

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14 Lubna karim May 28, 2009 at 4:56 am

Oh wow love the filling……Looks gorgeous….

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15 Sangeetha May 28, 2009 at 5:50 am

lovely!!!!!!!!!! i can never dare to make this :( i am not a daring baker ;)

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16 Alka May 28, 2009 at 6:56 am

Just checked these at Dk’s place and now here….both the sweet and savory versions sounds wonderful and i must say that u guys are not only daring Bakers, but excellent ones too.

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17 Parita May 28, 2009 at 7:24 am

OMG both the fillings look delicious..gorgeous pictures sunita……………

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18 Shreya May 28, 2009 at 8:31 am

Both savory and sweet strudels! Amazing fillings too:-)wonderful pics as always..

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19 Nicisme May 28, 2009 at 11:00 am

Looking gorgeous as always!

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20 Happy Cook May 28, 2009 at 11:06 am

I am still in awe with the Daring bakers for making strudel pastry, love your filling , i love sweet filling but this timme i will have to go for the savoury filling.

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21 indosungod May 28, 2009 at 12:25 pm

They are I bet delicious to the last bite. I am partial to the savory one but the sweet one looks fantastic as well.

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22 jo May 28, 2009 at 1:13 pm

You are absolutely amazing. Not 1, not 2 but 5 strudels. Wow! Delicious flavours all of them and as usual the pictures are beautiful.

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23 Dolon May 28, 2009 at 3:48 pm

Whenever I visit your blog , its alaways waiting with big surprises .
Love both Sweet & savoury one . I don’t know why I am littlebit afraid with baking .
Nice pictures & can I have one ?

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24 Kalai May 28, 2009 at 5:38 pm

The pics are awesome! And you made 5? Go you! Wish I was your neighbor!

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25 Soma May 28, 2009 at 8:22 pm

I love the pineapple one! Thanks for the pictures of the dough & the process.. really helps me:-)

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26 clumbsycookie May 28, 2009 at 10:23 pm

So gorgeous and elegant! Both of them are winners!

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27 Claire May 29, 2009 at 1:54 am

Oooo….these look SOOOO good! Great job! The pineapple one reminds me of a pineapple dish we sometimes make…mmm!

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28 Nirmala May 29, 2009 at 4:36 am

Lovely strudels. Its so very tempting to give a try as there ae lotsa strudels in the blogoshpere :)

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29 Aparna May 29, 2009 at 6:02 pm

Came here earlier but your post wasn’t up. :)
5 strudels, that’s quite something. I definitely preferred the sweeter one even though I don’t have much of a sweet tooth.
Your strudels look as good as ever.

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30 Sunita May 29, 2009 at 9:05 pm

All,

Thanks everyone…this was one yummy challenge :-)

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