Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Welcome Reprieve

This month's Daring Bakers challenge was not nearly as difficult as I had anticipated. When I first read the instructions, the whole "to make it easier to pull the dough, you can use your hip to secure the dough against the edge of the table;" had me pretty nervous - even before my hip stress fracture. Truthfully, I had no trouble at all! which in my condition was a welcome reprieve.

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.

Strudel: Crust
Filling: Almond
The challenge itself was in making the strudel dough with the option of filling the dough with whatever we wished; I chose a sweet almond medley. The delicate flavor of baked almonds in maple syrup strikes a harmonic balance between distinction and purity, paired with this flaky crust creates a picturesque confection.

1 ⅓ cups unbleached flour
⅛ teaspoon salt
7 tablespoons water, plus more if needed
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus additional for coating the dough
½ teaspoon cider vinegar
Mix together until a soft dough forms
Add additional water if necessary (I added an extra ¼ cup)

Knead dough together for several minutes

Shape the dough into a ball and transfer to a bowl or plate
Oil the top of the dough ball lightly
Cover the ball tightly with plastic wrap
Allow to stand for a minimum of 30 minutes (I let mine sit overnight)

Preparing Dough to Fill:
Official instructions:
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
Use the back of your hands to gently stretch and pull the dough
Use your forearms to support it
The dough will become too large to hold, lay out on 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 2x3 feet and tissue thin
Cut away the thick dough around the edges with scissors

My Instructions:
Lay out cheesecloth, or bakers mat and lightly flour
Stretch out dough as much as you can with your fingers, place on mat and roll out with rolling pin
I used a heavy marble rolling pin and was able to roll the dough tissue thin with no intense pulling, tugging or manipulating
A few small holes will be okay
With your fingers rub the dough with melted butter
(Really! That's all I did!)

1 egg
¼ cup Karo syrup
¼ cup sugar
¼ maple syrup (grade B pure)
⅛ salt
Whisk together until smooth

Add 1 cup sliced almonds, stir to coat almonds evenly

Rather than make one large strudel, I opted to make six smaller hand pies by slicing the rolled out dough into six even portions, separating the filling evenly among each portion
Wrap dough tightly over the filling and fold over sides, continuing to roll until the dough is completed wrapped around and snug
*If you have thicker dough when you reach the end, simply put tight and thin as you complete wrapping

Melt 4oz butter in deep bowl
Coat hand pie in butter, and sugar

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper
Place hand pies evenly on sheet
Bake at 400°F, 30 minutes
Remove from oven and rub lightly with a bit of lemon juice
Let cool 15 minutes, serve warm or at room temperature with a bit of maple syrup

19 Sweet Talkers:

tonic said...

Maple and Almond sounds like a fantastic combination! Your strudel looks delicious! :-)

Jo said...

Great job on your challenge. Delicious flavours and I love the idea of serving it with a syrup drizzle.

Valérie said...

Great idea to make small, individual strudels. And your filling sounds wonderful!

Hornedfroggy said...

WOW!! My mom would love this sweet almond filling... looks like I'm making this again for her! :) Great pics, too!!

Celeste said...

WOW...what a fantastic looking strudel! You did a wonderful job!!! :)

Jill said...

Your strudel looks amazing and so delicious!! I loved all the pictures--well done! I need to try it again and not overbake mine next time.

Lauren said...

Yum!! Your strudel looks amazing, and the filling sounds perfect =D.

LegalAlien said...

Mmmmm... maple syrup!
I love the individual strudels, they look so forgiving.

Lisa Michelle said...

Maple and almond sounds so luscious and your strudel is a flaky heaven! Amazing job!!

Tangled Noodle said...

This is just fantastic! I love the almond filling - as much as I also love the fruit and savory fillings I've seen with other DB challengers, this is really something else!

Pamela said...

Really Great Pictures!!! Those mini strudels look delicious. Yummy!

Heather said...

WOW! that looks AMAZING! I LOVE STRUDEL! ooh goodness! ooh goodness...

Sarah (Team Chilton) said...

That filing looks delish. I love the syrup on the plate....makes me so hungry (we finished our wait! I still have more. Maple syrup, here I come!

Anonymous said...

Your photos are making my mouth water!! DELECTABLE. I also gulped something huge when I read that part of the instructions about using your hip to secure the dough....I think that's why I didn't tackle it until the last possible day :)

lisa (dandysugar) said...

Fantastic job! I love your simple pure almond filling, its the only one I've seen so far, it looks delicious! I really like the idea of individual strudels too. You've inspired me to try that next time!

Claire said...

I love your little rolls and all those almonds...fantastic!

Arlette said...

I love the photos and the stuffing, and your dough is so flaky and crusty the way i love it
you did a great job in this challenge...

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