Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Daring Bakers May 2009 Challenge: Raspberry 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.

I have to say that I was initially quite hesitant about attempting this challenge. Stretching dough paper thin, in fact even thinner, given my misfortunes with rolling out dough in general, seemed impossible. But my friend and fellow Daring Baker Shirley of What About Second Breakfast? tried the challenge early on. And then she made it again, and again and again. She raved about it and claimed it wasn't so hard. So I had to give it a shot. And she was right!
I would never have imagined it, but once I rolled it out about 15 inches square and began stretching the rest came easily. It practically stretched itself. I do recommend trimming any thick edges, as they tend to turn out a little tough or chewy.
I went with a simple filling of 12 oz raspberries tossed with 1/2 cup sugar. I sprinkled the dough with about 1/3 cup of almond meal, in line with the apple version, which has breadcrumbs.
And you know what, I ended up making the apple version, and a cherry cheese filling from Martha's Baking Handbook. I was planning to take them to work, but my husband pouted, so I left it home. That means I will probably make this again soon to take to work, using all those wonderful cherries California is getting now.
I think this may be in my regular repertoire now. The effort compared to the wow factor is well worth it!

My creation

Type rest of the post here

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.

Don't forget to check out the other Daring Bakers' wonderful creations.