Cherry Strudel single

I probably should not share this, but I often talk to myself.  It can happen anytime.  Anywhere.  Once, I was talking to myself while getting out of my car in the driveway, and my partner (inside the house!), thought someone was with me.  I am not sure why I talk to myself on occasion, but I am fairly certain it has been a regular part of my life.

Making the strudel for the Daring Bakers challenge this month was no exception.

I have been reading about a few cherry dishes at some of my favourite blogs recently.  Even though we are quite a few months off fresh cherries here in Australia, I was keen to incorporate cherry into my strudel.  So as a substitute, I bought some preserved sour cherries.  With a small additional of breadcrumbs and sugar, this turned out to be a perfect filling.

I was disappointed with my pastry effort.  I had quite a few holes as I worked the pastry and attempted to make it paper-thin.  The actually dough was quite easy to make so will try again at some point.  Despite the hiccups with the pastry, however, I was really happy with the challenge this month.  Strudel pastry is not something I had made before.

When the strudel was baked, I needed to take a few photos.  It was a little chilly outside and overcast.  It has been practically raining non-stop here in Brisbane.  So when picking a plate, I reached for black.  It seemed to match the drizzle outside.  The dark cherry looked nice against the colour, so off I went.  I took a few photos and checked in the viewfinder.  My ‘talking to myself’ habit then kicked in.  I giggled and then said to the strudel – yes, an inanimate object! – “You are such a moody strudel!”  Oh, I tried that in my best Austrian accent, too.

I continued to punctuate the conversation with my strudel with a few other snappy lines.  And not one to let a joke die its natural death, I call out to my partner to include him in the banter, and declared, “my strudel is moody, ja?”  He walked away grinning, shaking his head.

We have enjoyed our moody strudel the last few nights, slightly warmed with a tiny serve of vanilla ice cream.  I do enjoy fruit desserts so want to definitely try this pastry again.  And hopefully I have not disappointed my lovely friend M. in Austria.  Hopefully it would past the test?  I would send a test piece to you in Vienna if I could!

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.

Cherry Strudel

{ Apple strudel }
from “Kaffeehaus – Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafés of Vienna, Budapest and Prague” by Rick Rodgers

* Ingredients *

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)

* Directions *
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

* Ingredients *

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

* Directions *

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.