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Ultimate Strudel

What makes a apple strudel good? Things like
Ratio of filling to pastry
Type of (and sourness of) apple
ratio of raisin to apple
thinness of pastry
pastry recipe

I like quite a tart filling I think, but apart from that, I am a strudelnoob.

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  1. bump - any strudel experts on today?

    I talked to a chef friend who says that very few people can make consistently good filo pastry by hand

    1. Mother (80) was born in Miskolcz, Hungary and makes her own strudel dough by hand. No filo dough. The key is to roll out the dough very thin and stretch with the knuckles (not fingers) until entire dough is spread over the kitchen table. The linoleum/oil cloth she uses is older than I am! Her favorite filling starts with Granny Smith apples, not too sugared. She uses dark raisins (as opposed to white or golden). She also makes a sour cherry strudel using frozen tart cherries flavored with almond liquer. Hard to give exact proportion for ratio of filling to pastry, her best answer is "It depends" on juiciness of fruit, humidity in room, etc. When complete, the strudel is laid onto a large half sheet pan in a horseshoe shape. Will try to wrest the recipe from her, not sure she will give it to me!

      1 Reply
      1. re: Diane in Bexley

        The easiest way to do it is with two people. Flour the hell out of a linen tablecloth, then sit across a table from your strudel partner with the rolled-out dough on the cloth. Each person stretches the dough with his/her knuckles, working from the center, until the dough covers the tablecloth. Fill it, start rolling, buttering and bread-crumbing as you go. Don't roll too tightly. Strudel.

      2. Thanks guys ^__^

        I don't actually have a kitchen table. The largest smooth surface in my house is a coffee table about... 70cm by 70cm? I guess I could make it in the living room if necessary.
        Does it need to be that big? Will it fit in my oven?

        Granny smith sounds like a good choice, although the cherry sounds good... I could do one flavour at each end!

        The breadcrumming/buttering part - is that like roll, butter and the sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the butter, then roll?

        Thanks for the tips so far!

        3 Replies
        1. re: Soop

          The fruit, or cheese, or poppyseed filling goes in the center, but the bread crumbs and butter go between the layers. Lay out a sausage shape of filling about six inches from the bottom of your sheet of dough, roll the dough over it, then start rolling, brushing with melted butter and sprinkling with breadcrumbs. You'll need a bigger table.

          1. re: PSZaas

            hang on it must be bigger than that. about 3 ft.

          1. re: Nyleve

            I love the Gourmet recipe from a few years back for a Goat cheese, Date & bacon strudel.

          2. Well, I made one, and it was fun. I kind of went by this:

            But I didn't leave it for 2 hours, I left for 15 minutes. My table would have been big enough, but I got a piece of wood and put it on top of the table.

            Best idea: Using vanilla infused vodka to soak the raisins overnight

            Most dissapointing: Some of the liqor leaked out onto the tray, and I assume this is what left a lot of air in the strudel. Also, the pastry was quite... bland.

            any tips for spicing the pastry up? Icing sugar in the dough maybe?

            1. I saw lidia bastianich make this a couple of months ago on her show...saved the recipe, but have not tried it...
              Page 1 of 4
              Apple Strudel
              Strudel di Mele
              Makes 10 servings
              Makes 10 servings

              3/15/09 3:26 PM
              Lidia’s Italy » Apple Strudel
              Page 2 of 4
              1 recipe Strudel Dough (recipe follows)
              1 cup golden raisins
              2 tablespoons dark rum
              1 lemon
              1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
              1 cup dry plain bread crumbs
              1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
              1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
              3 pounds tart green apples, such as Granny Smith
              Olive oil
              Confectioners’ sugar
              Make the strudel dough.
              In a small bowl toss the raisins with the rum. Let them stand, tossing occasionally, while preparing the strudel.

              With a fine grater, remove the zest–bright yellow part of the skin without the underlying white pith–from the lemon. Squeeze the juice from the lemon, strain it if necessary and combine the juice and zest in a medium-size mixing bowl.

              In a medium-size skillet, melt 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) of the butter over medium heat. Add the bread crumbs and toast, stirring constantly, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in ½ cup of the granulated sugar and the cinnamon. Add the remaining cup of granulated sugar and the rum and raisins to the bowl with the lemon juice and zest.

              With a paring knife, peel the apples and cut them into quarters. Cut away the seeds and cores and cut the apple quarters into 1/2-inch-thick wedges. As you work, add the apple wedges to the bowl containing the lemon-sugar mixture as you work to prevent them from darkening. Let the apples stand, toss them occasionally, until the sugar begins to dissolve and the apples are coated with the syrup. Preheat the oven to 450 F and brush a large (about 18- x 12-inch) baking pan with olive oil.

              Lightly flour a large, smooth wooden or marble surface. With a rolling pin–preferably a long, dowel-shaped rolling pin–roll out the dough from the center to the edges into a very thin rectangle that measures about 36 x 24 inches. The dough will give you a little fight at first, but will relax more the more you roll it. As it gets thinner, you should be able to pull and stretch it gently with your hands to coax it into the shape you want.

              Don’t worry if the dough tears a little in spots–you can patch it later–or if it doesn’t form a perfect
              rectangle. Flour the rolling surface and pin lightly as you work to prevent the dough from
              sticking. Arrange the dough with one of the longer sides facing you. Arrange a kitchen towel or length of double- thick cheesecloth so it underlaps the entire far side of the dough rectangle by about 4 inches. (This will help you move the strudel to the baking sheet once it is formed. ) Spread the bread crumb mixture evenly over the dough leaving a clean 1 1/2‑inch-wide border on all sides of the rectangle. Dot the breadcrumbs with small pieces of the remaining 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter. Arrange the apple mixture in a long mound along the side closest to you. The mound of apples should measure about 4 inches wide and as long as the bread crumb mixture, leaving the 1 1/2‑inch-wide border clean.

              Fold the clean border closest to you over the apples. Begin rolling the strudel into a fairly tight roll, starting at one end of the apple mound, giving it a half-roll and gradually working your way down the roll. Repeat as necessary, working your way down gradually down the roll each time. Don’t worry if the roll is uneven or tears in places. You should end up with a fairly even, lumpy looking roll that is centered, seam side down, on the kitchen towel. Use the towel to transfer the strudel to the prepared baking sheet, bending the strudel into crescent shape if necessary to fit it on the pan. Cut off any excess dough from the ends. Seal the ends of the strudel by folding the ends of the roll underneath and pressing them firmly with your fingers. Brush the strudel lightly with olive oil and place in preheated oven. Immediately reduce the oven temperature to 375 F. Bake 30 minutes. Check the strudel: the top should be a light golden brown. If deeper in color than that, reduce the temperature to 350 F. Rotate the baking pan in the oven so the strudel cooks evenly. Continue baking until the strudel is deep golden brown and the crust is firm, about 30 minutes.

              Remove the strudel from the oven and cool 30 minutes. With two metal spatulas, carefully lift the strudel to a wire cooling rack and let stand until completely cooled.
              To serve, cut the strudel into 1-inch-thick slices and sprinkle them with confectioners’ sugar.

              STRUDEL DOUGH
              Impasto per Strudel
              (Makes enough dough for 1 strudel)
              2 cups sifted unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading the dough
              3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
              1/2 teaspoon salt
              1/2 cup tepid water, or as needed
              Combine the flour, oil and salt in the work bowl of a food processor. With the motor running, add ½ cup of the water and process until the mixture forms a smooth, silky dough. If the mixture is too dry, add more water, one tablespoon at a time, stopping the motor after each, until the dough is the proper consistency.
              Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead, adding flour as necessary to prevent the dough from sticking to your hands and the work surface, until the dough is very smooth and elastic, about 3 minutes. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it rest at room temperature 2 to 3 hours or in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. (Remove refrigerated dough to room temperature at least 1 hour before rolling the dough.)

              To make the dough by hand: Pile the flour in a mound in a medium size mixing bowl. Make a deep well in the mound and add 1/2 cup water, the oil and salt. Beat the wet ingredients with a fork while gradually incorporating the flour from the sides of the well. When the dough is too stiff to mix with the fork begin kneading in the flour with your hands. If the mixture is too dry, add more water one tablespoon at a time, mixing well after each, until the dough is the proper consistency. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured
              surface and knead as above.

              6 Replies
              1. re: sixelagogo

                The one I made was very similar.
                I used vanilla vodka rather than rum, bread flour rather than multi-purpose, no lemon, and (and this is a fun part) I smacked the dough on the kitchen surface 100 times to align the gluten.

                1. re: Soop

                  yes, the smacking is an important part of making strudel. My Austrian pastry teacher told us it was traditional for the men of the household to find a reason to leave because of all the noise coming out of the kitchen; also because of the heightened emotions due to the stress of making the dough thin enough and "just right". They made themselves scarce on strudel making day till the strudel came out of the oven.

                  Also, I wouldn't try making strudel for the first time on a bare table. A piece of washed, medium weight muslin makes a good strudel pulling surface, having been generously floured. One thing I like about the fabric table cover is the flour is easier to distribute evenly withh a swish of your palm. The fabric holds on the the flour so you don't get uneven covering as you would on a slick surface like wood or marble.

                  The cloth then allows you to roll the strudel effortlessly. Lifting the edge of the dough over the filling and picking up an edge of the cloth, you lift and gently nudge the dough away from you, and the strudel starts to roll over itself nicely. Continue lifting and rolling, and it happens without tears (or tears)!

                  1. re: toodie jane

                    lol, I bet they were on time for that :D

                    I have to admit, it was good fun, and a lot easier than I thought it would be. I could read through mine, but maybe it could have been even thinner O__O

                    I doubt it though :D

                    1. re: Soop

                      wasn't it amazing to think that "I DID THAT, sonnavagun!" at least that's how I always felt.

                      1. re: toodie jane

                        Yeah, it was an awesome project. I really like making things from as scratch as possible, like bread. It feels damn good, and it increases your appreciation of a good loaf (whoever baked it)

                    2. re: toodie jane

                      Paula Dean has an awesome recipe that I use every year for Octoberfest and I am always asked for the recipe...

                2. I make a filling of sauteed and cooled leeks and onions combined with summer savory and raisins that have been macerated in port. It is always a big hit when I make it. I use purchased phyllo dough - too much trouble to make strudel dough.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: souschef

                    That sounds yummy. I don't even bother with phyllo dough, puff pastry seems to work just fine for mine.

                      1. re: Soop

                        Hey, you have the same Le Creuset dutch oven that I do! : )

                        Impressive that you got the dough as thin as it is in these pictures. Don't know if I'd have the patience for that. Looks delicious.

                        1. re: Bat Guano

                          Thanks :) It seriously only took about 5 minutes (the stretching). If you check that video link I posted, I pretty much just did that.

                          You can see where it's ultra-thin, and you don't really mess too much with that.
                          next time, I will definitely put some breadcrumbs or nuts it, as I believe that would make it puff more.

                            1. re: toodie jane

                              Thanks :)

                              *edit* we had to throw the bedsheet out; my girlfriend put it in the wash without shaking off the flour, making guess what? Dough -___-