By Jenny McCoy
Making strudel for the first time is an incredibly eye-opening experience. It is a feat one simply cannot imagine when looking at a small circle of dough. To believe it will stretch it into a sheet several feet squared takes a lot of faith.
While it really isn’t as hard as it may seem, the process is a bit time consuming and labor intensive. You simply can’t rush it and need at least a few cooks to stretch the dough tissue thin and roll it into its classic long shape. That’s why in most professional pastry kitchens, a chef will rarely make strudel dough from scratch. Instead, many of us use frozen phyllo dough as a perfectly acceptable substitute. Just like strudel dough it is light, crisp, and extremely flaky.
But lucky for the Pastry & Baking Arts students at ICE…they have the opportunity to experience the process from start to finish! And lucky for you, I was able to snap shots of Chef-Instructor Chad Pagano demonstrating each step of the process.
So if you can muster the courage, give it a shot. It will make for a great afternoon project to tackle with friends, with a seriously sweet reward for your effort.
Hand-Pulled Apple Strudel
Makes about 16 servings
For the dough:
- 397 grams high gluten or bread flour, plus extra for rolling
- 7 grams salt
- 100 grams (2 large) whole eggs
- 14 grams canola oil, plus extra for coating
- Warm water
- 60 grams finely-ground bread crumbs
- 170 grams melted butter, cooled to room temperature
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour and salt. In a small bowl, whisk the the eggs and canola oil together, and slowly add enough warm water to bring the entire mixture of liquids to a weight of 300 grams.
- Stir the liquid into the flour with a rubber spatula, making sure no flour sticks to the sides of the bowl.
- Turn the dough out on to a lightly floured surface, then pick it up and, from a couple of feet above the surface, slam it against the surface with a fair bit of force. Fold the dough in half, scoop it up, and repeat the slamming of the dough 100 more times until the dough is smooth and elastic. Use additional flour as need to prevent the dough from sticking to the surface.
- Very lightly oil a small bowl and place the dough in the bowl, turning it over once to oil the entire surface of the dough. Press a sheet of plastic wrap against the dough and allow it to rest at room temperature for about an hour. Meanwhile, make the apple filling.
- Cover a large rectangular table with a clean cloth and generously flour the surface of the cloth.
- Place the dough in the center of the cloth and roll the dough as thinly as possible. Lightly brush the surface of the dough with oil, and proceed with the dough stretching and strudel assembly process (outlined in the slideshow).
- Dust with a confectioner’s sugar, serve with a dollop of whipped cream, and enjoy!
Apple Strudel Filling
Makes enough for 1 large strudel
- 115 grams unsalted butter
- 2230 grams (about 10) Golden Delicious apples
- 170 grams granulated sugar
- Finely-grated zest of 1 lemon
- 3 grams ground cinnamon
- 85 grams raisins (optional)
- 85 grams chopped walnuts (optional)
- Peel, core, and cut the apples into about 12 slices per apple.
- In a large sauté pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the remaining ingredients, cover and cook until the apples are just tender, about 8 minutes. Lower the heat, remove the cover, and continue to cook the apples until the juices have evaporated, about 10 minutes.
- Using a slotted spoon, transfer the filling to a baking sheet or shallow dish. Refrigerate until cool before using.