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.
Apple strudels were a big part of my childhood with my mother being eastern european and she having lived in Germany most of her childhood.. however my mom's specialties were always made using those phyllo dough sheets you can pick up in the freezer section. (These were still good strudels mom!) I'm not sure I've had a strudel with homemade crust before. The Husband, a gigantic apple pie lover, also loves apple strudel so I was really excited to try this new method of strudel making - which included making our own tissue-thin dough!
As the recipe stated, the dough is cheap to make so I made two batches in case one didn't go as planned.. this also meant that if both turned out - I'd have two strudels as a result, yum! I made the classic Apple Strudel as listed in the recipe as my first attempt. I had some accidents using my hand-crank apple peeler/corer/slicer but nothing a bandaid couldn't fix. hehe
The filling for the apple strudel included rum-soaking raisins, cinnamon and sugar, granny smith apples, toasted buttery breadcrumbs, and a sprinkling of nuts (I used pecans even though I knew The Husband would eat around them).
The dough was pretty much just a mixture of water, vegetable oil, flour, and a touch of vinegar. You knead it a little bit, let it rest, and then the interesting part is stretching it out to a 2 x 3 foot very thin-as-tissue sheet of dough. This was fun! I let my second batch of dough rest a lot longer and refrigerated it another day to bake at a later time, and I did a better job stretching that dough (no holes) though the holes didn't seem to cause a problem with the first strudel. I read on the daring baker's forum that in the old country, strudel dough should be stretched out so thin that you can read a love letter through it, so I used that benchmark.
My second strudel was berry themed! I was going to try strawberry rhubarb but chickened out (never made rhubarb before!), and used strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries. I threw in some nuts in halfof it and also a strip of sweetened cream cheese. I wasn't quite sure about all the proportions so maybe my strudel was a little juicy but it turned out great. The apple was my favorite, however!
The recipe called for using a tablecloth that has been spread with flour to help in the aid of stretching the dough and then rolling this gigantic yet delicate strudel log. I didn't quite have anything on hand and used parchment paper and this worked out great for me.
My dough only stretched out to about 2 x 2 feet but this made a large strudel and worked out fine. I would also like to try some of the other Daring Baker's ideas of savory strudels sometime - spinach/feta, mushroom, or maybe a cookie sweet combination which I almost tried - banana coconut chocolate! Strudel making was super fun. The one thing I did note was that it didn't stay crispy for too long... both strudels were best eaten right out of the oven, and this would not be a recipe I'd use to make ahead the night before, or alas I would be missing out on serving something crispy! Maybe I had too much filling, juice, or not thin enough dough, but the dough was delicious nonetheless, even days later.
I would have never thought of making my own strudel dough on my own and it was so fun and turned out delicious. I am very thankful for this Daring Baker challenge and look forward to my next challenge for the month of June! Thank you!