Apple Strudel and Mango-Pineapple Strudel

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.

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Ahh! Apple strudel. . . . One of my favorite desserts. Ever.

I remember eating warm apple strudel from the long gone Gross’s Dairy Restaurant in the Garment District. The outside crust was crisp and the inside layers of strudel were all soft and chewy, with nubbly dark bits of crumbs in between. The apple filling was caramelized and cinnamon-scented, with little bits of raisins for accent.

My grandmother told me how her mother, “Mama,” used to make apple strudel from scratch. My great grandmother pulled out the dough on a tablecloth, and then she strewed the paper-thin dough with grated apple, nuts, cinnamon, sugar, and raisins. I finally learned how to make strudel in pastry school and I was so excited to show my grandmother my new skill. Making strudel with her was a real treat.

I recently made a different kind of strudel when I came across my husband’s  grandmother’s recipe. This was not a pulled dough, but a thicker, flakier pastry with cherries, pineapple, walnuts, and grated apple. Delicious.

I was pretty happy that strudel was the next Daring Bakers challenge. I followed the recipe without any problems. The dough worked perfectly, easily stretching to the required dimensions. I rolled out the dough on floured parchment, which I taped to the kitchen table. It worked perfectly and saved me from having to wash a messy tablecloth.

I also veered just slightly from the directions in mixing the dough. I mixed the dough in a mixer for a few minutes to develop the gluten, until the dough was smooth rather than slightly rough as the recipe suggests. After letting the dough rest for about an hour, I kneaded it some more and let it rest again for another hour and a half. I used all purpose flour and it was fine.

rolled out strudel dough

rolled out strudel dough

tissue thin dough

tissue thin dough

 

I changed the filling up a bit. I cooked the apples (organic Gala) with the sugar and cinnamon and then let it cool before using it as a filling. Also, I added blobs of apricot jam and substituted craisins for the raisins.  Instead of using toasted buttered bread crumbs, I used a 1/2 cup of leftover mandelbrodt crumbs and a cup of crushed Kedem tea biscuits. The taste of the crumbs was exactly right when the strudel was baked. The apricot addition was very subtle.

blobs of jam on dough

blobs of jam on dough

apple filling on dough

apple filling on dough

strudel before baking

strudel before baking

I found that the baking time was not enough. The outside was brown, but the inside was doughy and raw and the filling was not soft and brown enough.

cooked strudel

too raw inside

too raw inside

I returned the partially cooled and cut strudel to a 350 degree oven for a half hour and then let it cool in the oven for another half hour or so. This made the strudel just right. The filling got dark and jammy, the crumbs got very brown, and the layers got brown and lost the raw taste.

strudel not quite cooked enough

strudel not quite cooked enough

strudel, cooked enough

strudel, cooked enough

This was one of my best strudels ever.

Mango-Pineapple Strudel  Mango-Pineapple Strudel

 

 For my second strudel, I made the filling using 2 mangos and a drained 20 ounce can of pineapple tidbits (2 lbs. total). Instead of raisins, I used craisins. Again, I added some apricot jam. I used half sliced almonds and half crushed cashews. Instead of all crushed Kedem tea biscuits (orange flavor), I used half shredded coconut. The coconut flavor was very subtle, for some reason. Unlike the apple strudel, this strudel leaked. I think that precooking the filling makes a huge difference. I baked this for a hour (1/2 hour at 400 degrees, 1/2 hour at 325 degrees). It could have cooked even longer. One nice touch was sprinkling the top with coarse raw sugar. This looked pretty.

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With both strudels, I used oil instead of butter.

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.

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4 Responses to “Apple Strudel and Mango-Pineapple Strudel”

  1. Zoë Francois Says:

    Wow, your strudel dough is absolutely thin and perfect! Lovely!

  2. pragmaticattic Says:

    Thanks Zoe!

  3. Lauren Says:

    Beautiful Strudels!! I love the flavours you chose, the mango pineapple especially sounds wonderful =D.

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