Wednesday, September 14, 2011
I Was a Strudel Virgin
I'm happy to report that I conquered my fear of strudel -- and then ate it!
I had a very compelling reason to practice -- on September 25th, I'm baking apple strudel for the 60 guests attending The Real Housewives of Henry Street, 1905, an event I'm hosting at Henry Street Settlement.
Making strudel dough is fun, much easier than you might imagine and very satisfying. I was lucky to get a fabulous recipe from Jane Ziegleman, author of 97 Orchard, who will be the event's main speaker and who will demo strudel dough, with audience participation!
Basic Strudel Dough (Jane Ziegleman)
2 cups bread flour
1/2 tsp. salt
2/3 cup warm water
1/2 tsp. white vinegar
3 tbls. vegetable oil
4 tbls. melted butter for brushing the dough
1/3 cup breadcrumbs
clean cotton or linen tablecloth
Combine the flour and salt in a mixing bowl. Make a well in the center of the bowl and pour in the water, vinegar and oil. Stir from the center outward in ever widening circles until all of the flour has been incorporated into the liquid. The dough should look shaggy and somewhat dry.
Turn dough onto a floured work surface and knead vigorously for 10 minutes. Alternately, you can knead the dough in a standing mixer using the hood attachment for 3-4 minutes. After kneading, the dough should be springy and glossy. Coat lightly with oil and leave in a covered bowl to rest for at least 1/2 hour.
While the dough is resting, prepare your filling. (See recipe below.)
Preheat oven to 425.
Cover a fairly large table with a clean tablecloth and dust well with flour. Place dough on the dusted cloth, flatten with your palms and, using a rolling pin, roll into a 9 inch circle. Drape the dough over the backs of your hands, you fingers loosely bent, and begin to pull the dough outward, stretching it gently. Keep rotating the dough so it stretches in all directions.
When it gets too large to handle, lay it on the table and continue. Ideally, the dough should be rectangular, 3 - 4 feet long, and thin enough to see through. The edges will be comparatively thick; trim them off with kitchen shears.
Brush dough lightly with melted butter. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Spread filling along the bottom third of the dough. To roll strudel, hold the edge of the tablecloth that is closest to you and gently raise it above the surface of the table so the strudel flops over. Repeat until strudel is fully rolled.
Using the tablecloth as a sling, transfer strudel to a baking tray that has been lined with parchment paper. If the strudel is too long, bend it into a "U" shape. Brush one last time with melted butter. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden and crisp.
1 recipe basic strudel dough
Ingredients for filling
5-6 tart apples, peeled and finely sliced
1/4 cup sugar (or more to taste)
1 tsp. cinnamon
juice of 1 lemon
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup currents or raisins
Mix and knead strudel dough as instructed. While dough is resting, prepare the filling.
Preheat oven to 424.
Toss apples with sugar, cinnamon and lemon juice. Stir in chopped walnuts and raisins.
Ross out strudel according to instructions in the Basic Strudel Recipe. Brush with butter and sprinkle with breadcrumbs.
Spoon filing along the bottom third of the dough, leaving an inch or two on the sides to prevent the filling from oozing out the ends. Roll strudel. Transfer to baking tray. Brush the top with butter and bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden and crisp.