Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Homemade Strudel - Viennese Apple Strudel

According to Wiki - "traditional Austrian Strudel pastry is different from strudels served in other parts of the world that are often made from filo or puff pastry. The traditional Strudel pastry dough is very elastic. It is made from flour with a high gluten content, egg, water, and butter with no sugar added. The dough is worked vigorously, rested, and then rolled out and stretched by hand very thinly. Pertaining to anecdotes, purists say, it should be so thin that a newspaper can be read through it. A legend has it that the Austrian Emperor's perfectionist cook decreed that it should be possible to read a love letter through it. The thin dough is laid out on a tea towel, and the filling is spread on it. The dough with the filling on top is rolled up carefully with the help of the towel and baked in the oven." 

I was told that i was crazy to make the strudel pastry from scratch but it's me, crazy Lily, always wanting to bake from scratch.  It was not that difficult and i am glad i gave this recipe a go,   I was especially interested to know if by keeping the dough warm would enable to stretch it better and it did, the difficult part for me was that it was winter and the kitchen was colder, so, the warm cloth used to keep the bowl warm was not very efficient.  The next time around, i would use the heat pad which i use for my back pain.  Can anyone give me an idea of how to keep the boil warm for 45 minutes besides using the hot towel or the heat pad, much appreciated.  Now that i know that keeping the dough warm while it rested enabled it to stretch better, I can apply this way to other recipes like making roti canai or mein fun koh. etc..

For the pastry

250 g/9 ozs all purpose flour
1 tbsp oil
1 egg
1 tbsp butter
125 ml/4 fl oz lukewarm water

For the filling

125 g/4 1/2 oz butter
4 tbsp fresh breadcrumbs
85 g/3 ozs raisins
7 granny smith apples
85 g/3 oz chopped almonds
1 tsp ground cinnamon
115 g/4 ozs fine granulated sugar
2 tbsp confectioners' sugar

Makes 1 large or 2 small strudels


To make the pastry:

Put flour into the food processor and add in the rest of the ingredients - oil, egg, butter and lukewarm water.  Pulse until a smooth dough is formed.

Remove from food processor and shape into a ball.

Heat a bowl by pouring in hot water, discard water and wipe dry.  Invert the heated bowl over the dough, leaving it for about 45 minutes.  Maintain temperature of the bowl by repeatedly covering it with a warm, damp cloth.

To make the filling:

Melt all but 1 tbsp of butter in a pan. 

Add breadcrumbs and fry until golden brown. 

Cover raisins with warm water and let soak for 15 minutes, drain.

Peel and core apples, slice thinly.

Combine raisins, apples, almonds, cinnamon, sugar and breadcrumbs in a bowl.

Preheat oven to 400 f/200 c.

Spread out a clean cloth kitchen towel, sprinkle thickly with flour and place the dough on it.

Roll dough out thinly.

Melt 1 tbsp butter and brush the dough with it.  Dust hands with flour and slide them under the pastry into a position that makes it possible to stretch the dough well in all directions.  The dough must be stretched so thinly that the pattern of the towel is visible through it.

Spread filling over the pastry, keep clear of the sides and lower edge.  Begin at the narrow end of towel and carefully roll strudel up, using the towel to help.  Firmly press the edge and sides together.  Leave whole or cut in half or into slices.

Grease a baking tray(i use the silpat - no need to grease), carefully place strudel on it and bake for 30 - 40 minutes.

Sprinkle with icing sugar while still warm.

Step by Step:

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