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 have always wondered if I could make phyllo dough. I secretly hoped that we would have to make it for Daring Bakers. This danish dough comes pretty close. I don't know about the exact ingredients in phyllo but the rolling of the dough and getting it paper thin is pretty phyllo-ish.
The book, Kaffeehaus says it is a matter of practice, practice, practice in getting it right. I believe that! It's something I wouldn't really mind trying to learn. There are so many things you could do with the dough. You could go savory as other DB'ers did. Check them out at the Daring Blogroll.
I know that I really could have tried any number of fillings but I really wanted an apple filling. Something very appealing about apple danish. I used a different recipe for the filling.
from “Kaffeehaus – Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafés of Vienna, Budapest and Prague” by Rick Rodgers
1 1/3 cups (200 g) unbleached flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
7 tablespoons (105 ml) water, plus more if needed
2 tablespoons (30 ml) vegetable oil, plus additional for coating the dough
1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar
1. Combine the flour and salt in a stand-mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix the water, oil and vinegar in a measuring cup. Add the water/oil mixture to the flour with the mixer on low speed. You will get a soft dough. Make sure it is not too dry, add a little more water if necessary.
Take the dough out of the mixer. Change to the dough hook. Put the dough ball back in the mixer. Let the dough knead on medium until you get a soft dough ball with a somewhat rough surface.
2. Take the dough out of the mixer and continue kneading by hand on an unfloured work surface. Knead for about 2 minutes. Pick up the dough and throw it down hard onto your working surface occasionally.
Shape the dough into a ball and transfer it to a plate. Oil the top of the dough ball lightly. Cover the ball tightly with plastic wrap. Allow to stand for 30-90 minutes (longer is better).
3. It would be best if you have a work area that you can walk around on all sides like a 36 inch (90 cm) round table or a work surface of 23 x 38 inches (60 x 100 cm). 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. Using the back of your hands to gently stretch and pull the dough. You can use your forearms to support it.
4. The dough will become too large to hold. Put it on your 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 feet (60 cm) wide and 3 feet (90 cm) long, it will be tissue-thin by this time. Cut away the thick dough around the edges with scissors. The dough is now ready to be filled.
That's pretty paper thin.
My version of the apple filling:
3 pounds of hard apple, I used Pink Lady
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice
one vanilla bean split and seeded (use pod to make vanilla sugar)
juice of half a lemon
zest of a lemon
Peel, core and slice apples into 1/4 inch size and place in large bowl. Sprinkle zest and lemon juice over top about half way through the coring process. This will minimize oxidation/browning of the apple. Continue slicing, stirring mixture as you go. Add in spices, vanilla and sugar. Stir completely and cover. Let sit for 30 minutes or more. You want the apple to be somewhat juiced.
When you lay it into your strudel use a slotted spoon. Cook remaining juice down to make a syrup.