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.
When I first read the challenge, I couldn't actually remember what a strudel was. Apparently, it consists of a gently spiced apple and raisin filling, rolled in a crispy, flaky dough. As I read further, I thought, "this really IS daring." Instructions like "gently stretch and pull the dough", it "will become too large to hold", and "stretch and pull the dough until it's about 2 feet wide and 3 feet long, it will be tissue thin by this time" were beginning to worry me. Anyone that remembers my many unsuccessful attempts at pie crust probably knows why - a Daring Baker I may be, but a gentle, delicate baker, I am not.
Well, I guess this must have been beginner's luck ... I found the instructions and tips provided by the hosts to be spot on. I had no trouble stretching the dough, and the final product was so thin you could see through it.
This dough seems completely foolproof. It was malleable, elastic and smooth. I can't remember exactly how I did it, and hey, anyone up for some fun should try it out for themselves anyway. All I can say was that it was incredible to work with. I stretched it over my arms, over a counter, moved it around on the sheet I used to cover the counter, lifted, pulled, dangled, swung, and coaxed this dough. It was tactile, experimental but ultimately easy and successful. Like play-dough for food snobs!
And the result was delicious. I simply can't believe such a flaky, buttery dough can be made by hand. Oh yea, the apples inside were pretty good too. For the full recipe, check out either Linda or Courtney's blog above.