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Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Strudels are forever

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.

"Bond, someone has stolen the Ancient Strudel from the AltStadthaus in Munich." M explained. "The Germans's are frantic"

"Ahh, I would be too if you called London by another name. I do believe M, with all due respect, that Munich is actually Munchen. You really should revisit the Diplomacy 101 course, M. I believe its now available online too." Replied Bond with a little smirk.

"Damn it and confound it Bond." M spat out. "This is Not the time to worry about semantics. I say Potayto, you say Po-tah-to. I say Munich, the Germans say Munchen. I dont really care Bond, not when the Ancient Strudel is missing, Bond" She emphasised the last 'Bond' and James detected a little bit of distaste in the way she spat out his name.

"Well, I'd love to help M, but you see, I have the shingles." Bond replied softly.

"James. You've always been single as far as I've known. And since when did you develop such a terrible lisp?"

"No, No M, No! I've got a case of the Shingles. You know, that chicken pox virus that stays in your system and then breaks out when you least expect it?" Bond explained. "Thats what I've got. A bad case of the shingles."

"Ahhh. I see." M replied. "You've got Shingles. I thought you were complaining about the fact that you are Single..."

"Well, I must admit that I do worry about that sometimes M. I mean just the other day, I was with Marye and she suggested playing doctor... but as soon as she saw my Shingles, she made a beeline for the door. Matter of fact, no one wants to play doctor with me nowadays M, not when I have the Shingles."

Bond caught Moneypenny glancing over at him but then shaking her head. Confound it! Even Moneypenny wasn't giving him the time of day... Blast these damn shingles!

To cut a long story short, it appears that the Ancient Strudel was 'taken' by the Daring Bakers for the May Challenge and was returned in one piece much to the happiness of the Germans.

Fortunately I didnt get struck with Shingles until AFTER I had made the Strudel and I thought it would be a good laugh to write a post related to Bond having the shingles. So with my little Bond lark completed, on to how the challenge turned out.

I have to admit that I had a little trouble with getting the dough tissue thin. I also wasnt sure what the consistency of the dough should have been as I found that even after resting, the dough was rather sticky and it stuck to the tablecloth that I used. I worked in more flour into the cloth and managed to get the dough rather thin - but perhaps not as tissue thin as it should have been. I dont know! Also, it is definitely not easy supporting the dough with your forearms while stretching it. Hairy ForeArms are not a good thing to have!!! Fortunately, no hair was lost in the making of this strudel...

Also, I decided to make one long strudel and two smaller ones. So I divided the dough out and rolled them separately. I also made a mistake for the large strudel. In my haste to get everything done, I forgot to coat the rolled out dough with butter and breadcrumbs. Dummy! I did do it though for the smaller rolls and the pastry was much nicer with the butter on it. The breadcrumbs also helped to separate the layers nicely.

Although the Strudel was tasty and also a lot of fun to make, it wasn't that well received by my taste testers. They all liked it, bit it didn't get rave reviews not requests for more the next day. I ended up eating most of the strudel!

There IS a reason for this that I will explain. You see, The Lovely Wife makes a KILLER apple pie and also a KILLER Apple Crumble. So when you compared this to those two - well, no contest really.

Nonetheless, I am very proud to say that I can now make a strudel - and an authentic one at that. Not those made with puff pastry and sliced in half and sandwhiched with cream and apples!!

Thankyou Coco and Linda for this wonderful challenge - it was certainly a lot of fun!

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.

- 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.


Di said...

Looks great, Dharm! I've know several people who've had shingles and I know it's no fun. I hope you're feeling better soon!

glamah16 said...

Shingles? Ouch. I hope you feel better. The strudel is best the day of, than the day after. But its hard to compete at times with the wife. ;-)

Deeba PAB said...

YAY Bon's back with a strudel! Love it, love the filling,love the tale...& the little poppet at the end! Adoreable. Sorry to hear u got shingles. You are right; we might well be twins, & not just 'pouch' ones...LOL!! My kids got chicken pox last year, & the doc gave me shots coz he said since I didnt have CP when I was young, I was just right for shingles. Shiver me timbers!!Was painful, I can imagine!
The strudel looks FANTASTIC...very very YUM!
(BTW...hairy arms...UGH for strudels...he he)

anchan said...

hahaha, your post made me laugh - just what I needed after my disagreement with the strudel dough yesterday! Yours looks delicious!

Aparna Balasubramanian said...

Ah...Our DB Bond is back, with delicious strudel this time.

My daughter didn't like the strudel either, but we did. I think maybe this another of those desserts kids don't like much till they're older. :)

Alpineberry Mary said...

Oh no. I hope the shingles aren't causing you too much discomfort. I just watched "Quantum of Solace" recently - your Bond made me laugh.

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Very well done, again! Your strudel looks delicious!

I hope you feel better now...



Navita (Gupta) Hakim said...

Wow Dharm the strudels sure must have tastes great like all your earlier bakes. :)
How are u now? Long time no see.
Take care n rest.

Audax said...

Ouch!!!! Shingles sounds painful. LOL about Bond and M. Tough call when you have two other apple recipes that are well loved. Lovely looking strudel and great that you have another baking skill under your belt. Cheers from Audax

Andrea Meyers said...

Your strudel turned out great and I hope you are better soon.

Judy@nofearentertaining said...

Looks so good Dharm! Hope you're over the worse of the shingles by now. Heard they are very painful!

Katie said...

Your strudel looks great. Love the mini ones too. Glad James Bond got another outing :)

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

I remember my mom making strudel when we were kids. Your kids will take these memories with them too:D

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

I'm sure I'll wish for that apple pie filling when I start making my strudel this afternoon ;) now you know why you didn't see one at my place yet.
Your Bond just keeps on having fun!!
Sure understand the shingles, hope it clears for you soon.

Rose said...

Shingles!? Uh oh! Glad you didn't loose any arm hair (hahahahha!!!). My strudel survived, but didn't really impress me either. At least we did the challenge! Your strudel looks beautiful ;) Feel better soon!

Chou said...

Shingles? Ack! I love your foray into Bond.

DK said...

LOL! A humorous post Dharm...

Wasnt this challenge something? I think the sticky dough could be cos you dint probably show all your might and beat it around the counter - that really helps. but not sure though

Jen Yu said...

Your post is so clever and funny. I am so sorry about the shingles :( What a trooper you are though. Glad it hit after the strudel (and what a beautiful strudel at that!). I didn't even think of hairy forearms being an issue! Wow. You are a double trooper at that. Again - your children = adorable. Feel better soon, dear. xxoo

Cakelaw said...

Lovely streudel Dharm - a pity that the troops didn't appreciate it.

Speedbump Kitchen said...

Great job...it's just impossible to measure up to mom's apple pie!

Jenny Tan said...

Hope you're fine by now. My husband had Shingles few years back...he wasn't very happy then! ;P
Anyway, your strudel looks good...but love the honesty of the kids! :)

linda said...

Ha ha, no hair was lost in the making of the strudel!
Sorry your taste testers weren't thrilled but I think your strudel looks just perfect!

giz said...

What a trooper - you felt lousy and made it anyways. The fussy work was just more than i could handle this close to the wedding.

Sheltie Girl said...

You did a fabulous job on your strudel. I'm so sorry to hear that you've got the shingles. I hope you get better soon.

Natalie @ Gluten a Go Go

Lauren said...

Haha =D, love your story, but I'm sorry to hear about your shingles. Feel better soon! Your strudels look scrumptious!

Elle said...

Bond with shingles...truly a sad thought. You making a gorgeous apple strudel, even with hairy arms, truly a wonderful thing! Hope you are feeling better by now. Just made it to the States and a computer, although not sure if I can do a post with photos. Very sorry to have missed the strudel challenge...go Daring Bakers!

Unknown said...

Ick! Sorry you got shingles. The strudel looks good. I didn't have breadcrumbs and used oatmeal but didn't even think about that being part of the reason my second strudel was tougher. Could be!

breadchick said...

Well even if the taste testers weren't thrilled as usual your strudel still looks perfect!


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