Monday, May 18, 2009

Roasted Apple Strudels (Page 798)


  • Date: Wednesday, April 29, 2009 -- 8pm
  • Location: Bloomington, IN
  • Kitchen: My Apartment
  • Fellow Chef: Matty
  • Recipe Rating: A-

My special gentleman's thirtieth birthday was a few weeks ago. At the time I failed to mention it on the blog -- the omission was not due to lack of excitement about my special gentleman or his birthday though. Rather, the opposite. I felt that my special gentleman deserved all sorts of great things for his thirtieth birthday: a big party with yummy food, a special gift, etc... and I felt like I did a really bad job of delivering those things for him. Normally I would have (at the very least) made him a really special meal. I would have invited friends over to share it with us. I would have come up with some creative and personal gift. But with our wedding just a couple weeks away, the idea of planning anything else just feels so overwhelming. I am trying hard not to feel overwhelmed by the wedding, but I am certainly at capacity for planning things. So on my special gentleman's birthday we pretty much did nothing. We went out to lunch with some friends, but in the evening we stayed home and he ate Ramen. I felt terrible about it but at the same time I felt completely unable to do any better. Maybe in a few months I'll throw him a surprise 30th birthday party. No doubt he'll be surprised ("Ummm... wasn't my birthday four months ago?!?"). The one small thing I did manage to do for him for his special day was make him a birthday cake. Ok, it wasn't a cake really. It was a strudel. I would have made him a cake, but he prefers strudel and has been asking me to make this one for years. So, I got my shit together a little bit, and at least did something for him to commemorate his special day by making this recipe.

I started by making the filling. I roasted pieces of apple with butter, sugar, cinnamon, lemon zest, and salt until very tender. Then I stirred in some golden raisins. The fun part of making strudel though, is making the dough! I stirred together some bread flour, sugar, and salt, then added melted butter, egg yolk, and water. I mixed it for 10 minutes, then let it stand for 40 minutes. Then came the best part: stretching! What makes strudel so delicious is the incredibly thin flaky layers of pastry. To get the dough that thin is a lengthy and very careful process of gently pulling on the dough with your hands to stretch it out. My special gentleman helped with this step (and it's even easier -- and more fun -- with more people).
This picture is of the dough when we were just about done stretching. You can see in the picture that the entire table is covered with dough, which is extremely thin (notice how clearly my hand shows through). That is a regular size card table, and it's completely covered by dough made from only 2 cups of flour -- so the dough is quite thin!!

After the dough was stretched we brushed it with some melted butter and sprinkled with a mixture of finely chopped walnuts, bread crumbs, sugar, and cinnamon. Then I put the filling on one end of the dough, in two separate mounds. We then, very carefully, started rolling. We rolled until we got to the other end, cut the two mounds apart to form two strudels, and placed each on a baking sheet. I brushed them with butter, sprinkled them with powdered sugar, cut steam vents in them and baked until golden.

In summary: yum! The strudels were very good. The dough was flaky and crispy, just as it should be. Sprinkling powdered sugar on top before baking gave the strudels a delicious sugary shell that was awesome. The filling also had a great flavor to it. Roasting the apples gave it more depth than a typical fruit filling. In the future I would probably omit the raisins in the filling though. They weren't bad, but they didn't seem to go that well, and I think it would have been better without. Making strudel may seem like an ordeal if you haven't made it before, but it is fun, and a really cool process! My special gentleman loved eating this and seeing how it was made, which made me very happy! At least I did something to honor him for his birthday!

This recipe isn't online.

1 comment:

Deniz said...

Let me know if I can help with any planning, seriously!!