the temperature at which sweets happen

Welcome Reprieve


This month’s Daring Bakers challenge was not nearly as difficult as I had anticipated. When I first read the instructions, the whole “to make it easier to pull the dough, you can use your hip to secure the dough against the edge of the table;” had me pretty nervous – even before my hip stress fracture. Truthfully, I had no trouble at all! which in my condition was a welcome reprieve.

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.


Strudel: Crust
Filling: Almond

The challenge itself was in making the strudel dough with the option of filling the dough with whatever we wished; I chose a sweet almond medley. The delicate flavor of baked almonds in maple syrup strikes a harmonic balance between distinction and purity, paired with this flaky crust creates a picturesque confection.

Strudel:
1 ⅓ cups unbleached flour
⅛ teaspoon salt
7 tablespoons water, plus more if needed
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus additional for coating the dough
½ teaspoon cider vinegar
Mix together until a soft dough forms
Add additional water if necessary (I added an extra ¼ cup)

Knead dough together for several minutes

Shape the dough into a ball and transfer to a bowl or plate
Oil the top of the dough ball lightly
Cover the ball tightly with plastic wrap
Allow to stand for a minimum of 30 minutes (I let mine sit overnight)

Preparing Dough to Fill:
Official instructions:
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
Use the back of your hands to gently stretch and pull the dough
Use your forearms to support it
The dough will become too large to hold, lay out on 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 2×3 feet and tissue thin
Cut away the thick dough around the edges with scissors


My Instructions:
Lay out cheesecloth, or bakers mat and lightly flour
Stretch out dough as much as you can with your fingers, place on mat and roll out with rolling pin
I used a heavy marble rolling pin and was able to roll the dough tissue thin with no intense pulling, tugging or manipulating
A few small holes will be okay
With your fingers rub the dough with melted butter
(Really! That’s all I did!)

Filling:
1 egg
¼ cup Karo syrup
¼ cup sugar
¼ maple syrup (grade B pure)
⅛ salt
Whisk together until smooth

Add 1 cup sliced almonds, stir to coat almonds evenly

Finalè:
Rather than make one large strudel, I opted to make six smaller hand pies by slicing the rolled out dough into six even portions, separating the filling evenly among each portion
Wrap dough tightly over the filling and fold over sides, continuing to roll until the dough is completed wrapped around and snug
*If you have thicker dough when you reach the end, simply put tight and thin as you complete wrapping

Melt 4oz butter in deep bowl
Coat hand pie in butter, and sugar

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper
Place hand pies evenly on sheet
Bake at 400°F, 30 minutes
Remove from oven and rub lightly with a bit of lemon juice
Let cool 15 minutes, serve warm or at room temperature with a bit of maple syrup



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