Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Daring Cherry Strudel
It's that Daring Baker time of the month again.
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'd never even thought of making a strudel before, so when I discovered that this month's challenge was just that I was quite happy. The rules for the challenge were fairly straightforward, we have to make the dough recipe from the selected cookbook but were free to decide what kind of filling we wanted.
I wasn't feeling super creative this month and I just happened to have bough some of the first fresh cherries of the season at the farmer's market, so cherry strudel it was. I halved and pitted the fresh cherries and used some crushed pistachio to give it some crunch.
The filling wasn't what intimidated me about making the strudel though, it was the dough. Although there isn't a great deal of it, the point is to roll it out as super thin as you possibly can so that there is layer upon layer of flaky, crunchy dough surrounding the filling - kind of like phyllo. The problem with this is that it requires a great deal of flat work space - ideally a large dining table.
However, the husband and I live like total college students and the only kitchen table we've ever had was commandeered to be the new computer desk for his gigantic computer when we moved to California. We do have a nice little table in the kitchen that we eat breakfast at on the weekends, but it's nowhere near the size one needs to roll out strudel dough.
My solution? Mini strudel.
It worked amazingly well. This dough is so supremely easy to work with it's kind of ridiculous. I was anticipating all sorts of headaches with this baby, even with only making strudel a fraction of the size of a normal one. I couldn't have been more wrong. It was like the dough was actively conspiring to help make this successful. Oh to have all my Daring Baker recipes go this well.
Linda has the recipe posted for the strudel and the traditional filling posted over at her blog, make life sweeter!, so if you're interested in trying it out yourself you can find it there.
If you're like me and don't have the space to roll out one enormous strudel, or you're too lazy - which is also like me, quite frequently - it's quite simple to make some mini strudels. This also gives one the opportunity to try out many different types of filling with only batch of dough.
My method for cherry-pistachio strudel:
Divide strudel dough into eighths, roll out as thinly as possible,
brush with melted butter, sprinkle with crushed pistachios,
top with part of cherry filling (which is merely a pound of pitted, fresh cherries tossed with a tablespoon of sugar), roll into a tight cylinder, and brush with more melted butter.
Bake at 400 F for about 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown, let stand for ten minutes, devour.
Easy as pie.
Be sure to check out all the other Daring Bakers and their lovely creations this month at the Daring Bakers Blogroll.