Stretching the dough
Originally uploaded by watchjennybake.
I have made strudel before, but it was back when I was a freshman in high school and doing a project on Austria, including a meal with traditional food. I remember thinking the sachertorte was far tastier than the strudel with its dense dough. I have suspected for a long time that I simply did not handle the dough appropriately, and was excited to see this challenge.
I knew from the beginning that I wanted to make two batches of strudel after seeing a recipe for Curried Fruit Strudel in G - The Magazine of Greenville, the May/June issue. The hosts also said it might take more than one batch to get the hang of stretching the dough to a thinness of tissue paper.
They were right! I ended up with a huge tear in my first batch that no patching would repair. I decided to go ahead and use it as it was with the original apple, raisin, and walnut mixture. The only change I made was substituting vanilla for rum, not that I'm against rum, but it was Sunday of Memorial Day weekend and I knew I had two days where I couldn't buy any, and didn't want to wait. As you can see, the bread crumbs are prominent on this dough. I didn't like how much you could see and taste them in between the layers without filling, so decided that the next time I would only sprinkle them on the areas of the dough that would have direct contact with the filling.
The end result was pretty good. Something about the dough made Nathaniel think of pizza, and while I didn't get that exactly, the breadcrumbs made me unhappy. Okay, okay, I admit it! I bought pre-made breadcrumbs! Maybe if I had made my own they would have been softer and more buttery, less like sawdust. Live and learn.
You can find the recipe for the original apple strudel at either host's site, as well as the recipe for the dough. What follows is the recipe I made, adapted from the recipe found in G Magazine for curried fruit strudel.
Curried Fruit Strudel Filling
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
2 pears, peeled, cored, and sliced
2 bananas, sliced at the last minute
3 tbsp dried tropical fruit (I used diced mango, papaya, and pineapple), soaked in 1 tbsp vanilla and 1 tbsp banana liqueur
1 tsp cinnamon
6 tbsp brown sugar
4 tbsp curry powder
6 tbsp butter, melted, separated
Heat 3 tbsp butter, sugar, curry powder, and cinnamon in a large pan on medium-high heat. Add apples and pears, stirring to soften. Remove from heat and stir in bananas, almonds, and tropical fruit. Use as filling in your favorite strudel dough, or use phyllo dough as a shortcut. Brush with butter and bake at 400 for 30 minutes or until browned.
The second time around, the dough was much more successful - only tiny tears, it rolled and stretched out more evenly, and I would not hesitate to try making another strudel another way. I thought the curried fruit combination was really interesting - sweet, spicy and delicious. I almost left the bananas out but they were really good with the curry. The dried tropical fruit was a last minute inspiration as I stared at the dried fruit section of the grocery store, and I thought it was a good way to include the flavors of those fruits without the water their fresh counterparts would contain! The change of only putting breadcrumbs on dough directly touching the filling made a big difference in the taste and texture of the final dessert, and I would recommend making this change in the future.
I sometimes go to YouTube for inspiration on baking technique, and came across this wonderful baker in Vienna, taped by a tourist, at an event that I can only imagine was created for tourists to begin with. Baking can be entertainment!
You may access my other Daring Bakers challenges here, or check out what the other bakers have done through The Daring Kitchen.
Categories: Apples, Curry, Daring Bakers, Pastry, Strudel