Update: I finally got around to making the berry strudel again. Please visit the updated post for step by step photos and an updated, easier to follow recipe.
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.
We were allowed complete freedom for the filling and shaping of the dough. The only thing that was mandatory is to make the strudel dough. I decided to make a mixed berry strudel instead of the apple strudel. I used Cook’s Illustrated Blueberry Pie filling recipe substituting frozen mixed berries.
My strudel started out great. I made some beautiful homemade bread crumbs (my first time making bread crumbs.) My filling was delicious. The dough came together perfectly and it stretched beautifully. My huge mistake which turned my strudel into a disaster was not using a big enough pastry cloth. I thought I could just use some silpats for the extra length. NOT A GOOD IDEA!
Then to compound the disaster I forgot to butter the dough and forgot to sprinkle my beautiful bread crumbs over the dough. Transferring the strudel to the baking tray was a nightmare. It twisted and broke open. Just not my day! But I decided to just bake it and see what happened.
It was definitely ugly, but the filling was great and with a couple of scoops of ice cream, my family certainly didn’t complain. But I obsessed all night about my disaster. I’d never had a Daring Bakers’ failure. I decided in the middle of the night to make a breakfast strudel in the morning and try to redeem myself. I made a bacon, egg and cheese strudel.
This time I thinly stretched the dough to the size of my pastry cloth and trimmed off the excess dough on all four edges. I gently spread the butter and sprinkled the bread crumbs. I used the pasty cloth to help roll the dough and transferred it perfectly to the baking tray. I moved the oven rack to the top third of the oven. I waited until the strudel was a golden brown and then sprinkled cheese over the top and returned it to the oven to melt.
I was rewarded with a beautiful, flaky, delicious strudel that I was proud to serve my family. I was so pleased with the delightful results that I am dreaming up other flavor combinations that I hope to make in the future.
This really is a great recipe. Be sure and visit other Daring Bakers to see some amazing strudels. A big thank you to Megan at Megan’s Cookin for baking with me on Twitter! Thanks for the advice and the encouragement!
Daring Bakers Strudel
Mixed Berry Filling
- 6 cups frozen berries
- 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and grated on large holes of box grater
- 2 teaspoons grated zest and 2 teaspoons juice from 1 lemon
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons instant tapioca, ground
- Pinch table salt
- 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 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
Mixed Berry Filling
Place 3 cups berries in medium saucepan and set over medium heat. Using potato masher, mash berries several times to release juices. Continue to cook, stirring frequently and mashing occasionally, until berries have broken down and mixture is thickened and reduced to 1 1/2 cups, about 8 minutes. Let cool slightly.
Place grated apple in clean kitchen towel and wring dry. Transfer apple to large bowl. Add cooked berries, remaining 3 cups uncooked berries, lemon zest, juice, sugar, tapioca, and salt; toss to combine.
Mix the rum and raisins in a bowl. Mix the cinnamon and sugar in another bowl.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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 a 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.
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.
Apple Strudel from Kaffeehaus: Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafés of Vienna, Budapest and Prague by Rick Rodgers