Daring Bakers Challenge…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. To give us bakers a little freedom, they requested that we make our strudels with any filling we wanted…so that left a lot of room to play! Go check out the Daring Bakers site for a look at all of the great variations out there – I have seen previews for some amazing ones!

Personally, I doubled the recipe for the dough so that I could play around with the fillings. My favorite was a random creation, born out of the fact that when I opened my freezer, a bag of last years blackberries fell out on the floor! I took that as kismet and cooked them down with a couple of Granny Smith Apples, sugar and butter, thickened the mix with some cornstarch and called it a day! Oops! Forgot to mention the addition of coconut shavings and a huge helping of sweetened cream cheese to this ever-so-tasty strudel…in a word – awesome. That filling would taste good on a leather shoe as my Aunt Sylvia would say…not that I intend to try it.

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.

Blackberry Coconut Apple Filling

2 Granny Smith Apples, diced
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup blackberries
4 Tbsp. Butter
1 Tbsp. Cornstarch
1/4 cup Coconut flakes
Place all ingredients, except for coconut, in medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce until thickened, about 10-12 minutes. Allow to cool before using. Coconut will be sprinkled on top.
Cream Cheese Filling
8 ounces softened cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
splash of Vanilla
Combine ingredients in small bowl.
Layer the cream cheese over the prepared strudel dough. Once Apple mixture has cooled, spoon it over the cream cheese. Sprinkle coconut on top of mixture. I added a spoonful or two of plain bread crumbs to the top as well – though I am not certain it is neccessary. I also brushed my rolled strudel with butter and sprinkled sanding sugar on top. Baking time was 30 minutes.

So what’s your favorite filling? Seen any you MUST try? With over a thousand Daring Bakers, it’s hard to get around to all of them, so I would love to hear the best you’ve seen! Want to play along with us? Visit the Daring Kitchen and get on the roster! It’s an amazing group to bake with!

See you next time!

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