27 May 2009

Apple Strudel - A Daring Bakers' Challenge

When I worked in advertising, I spent a lot of time on the road traveling. Travel to meet our customers, travel to see our Clients, travel to shoot the ads, travel to get feedback on the ads, etc., etc. It's kind of ironic cause if you know me, you're aware I have a pretty serious fear of flying. And even more ironic, I worked for some time on the international side of the United Airlines and Star Alliance accounts, which meant LOTS of flying!

A great perk of the job was that we were usually able to travel first-class, except for that one time when the flight to Buenos Aires was full and the Client I was traveling with spent the entire 16 hour flight in the jump seat used by the attendants on take-off and landing. Did I mention we had to make an emergency stop in Jamaica to let off a sick passenger? Did I mention I hate flying?

One of the most memorable places I visited during this time was Vienna. I was only able to see a bit of the city in between our meetings but it certainly is a beautiful place and one I have always wanted to return to. While there, we ate lots of wiener schnitzel and apple strudel so I was excited when I learned of this Daring Bakers' challenge. 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 was a bit intimidated when I read about the dough-making process - the dough needs to be rolled so thin you can see through it, but it all worked out pretty well in the end. I reduced the recipe down to cupcake form and was happy enough with the results; I made a simple apple-cherry version. The end-product is a light, slightly sweet dessert (okay, not sweet enough to my tastes) that would pair nicely with some vanilla ice cream or maybe caramel sauce. The hubby and I enjoyed it as an accompaniment to our usual pre-bed tisane.

Here's the recipe for those of you who want to try this at home (Note: for the cupcake version, once the dough had rested and was ready to go, I cut it into approximately 36 5-inch squares. I layered these in 3s in the individual cupcake tins being sure to brush each layer with melted butter - see pic below. Then I filled them and put a small pat of butter on top of each. They baked for 24 minutes).

Preparation time
Total: 2 hours 15 minutes – 3 hours 30 minutes

15-20 min to make dough
30-90 min to let dough rest/to prepare the filling
20-30 min to roll out and stretch dough
10 min to fill and roll dough
30 min to bake
30 min to cool

Apple strudel
from “Kaffeehaus – Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafés of Vienna, Budapest and Prague” by Rick Rodgers

2 tablespoons (30 ml) golden rum (I substituted vanilla bean infused vodka)
3 tablespoons (45 ml) raisins (I left out the raisins and instead added 1/4 cup of chopped, pitted cherries)
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon (80 g) sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick / 115 g) unsalted butter, melted, divided
1 1/2 cups (350 ml) fresh bread crumbs
strudel dough (recipe below)
1/2 cup (120 ml, about 60 g) coarsely chopped walnuts
2 pounds (900 g) tart cooking apples, peeled, cored and cut into ¼ inch-thick slices (use apples that hold their shape during baking) (I cut mine in small cubes since the baking time would be reduced and I wanted them to cook through)

1. Mix the rum and raisins in a bowl. Mix the cinnamon and sugar in another bowl.

2. Heat 3 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet over medium-high. Add the breadcrumbs and cook whilst stirring until golden and toasted. This will take about 3 minutes. Let it cool completely.

3. Put the rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Line a large baking sheet with baking paper (parchment paper). Make the strudel dough as described below. Spread about 3 tablespoons of the remaining melted butter over the dough using your hands (a bristle brush could tear the dough, you could use a special feather pastry brush instead of your hands). Sprinkle the buttered dough with the bread crumbs. Spread the walnuts about 3 inches (8 cm) from the short edge of the dough in a 6-inch-(15cm)-wide strip. Mix the apples with the raisins (including the rum), and the cinnamon sugar. Spread the mixture over the walnuts.

4. Fold the short end of the dough onto the filling. Lift the tablecloth at the short end of the dough so that the strudel rolls onto itself. Transfer the strudel to the prepared baking sheet by lifting it. Curve it into a horseshoe to fit. Tuck the ends under the strudel. Brush the top with the remaining melted butter.

5. Bake the strudel for about 30 minutes or until it is deep golden brown. Cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing. Use a serrated knife and serve either warm or at room temperature. It is best on the day it is baked.

Strudel dough
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.

Check out more Daring Bakers' apple strudel creations here.


  1. Very well done! Your strudel tartlets look wonderful! A great idea!



  2. I think your cupcake version is very unusual and fantastic. I really like small serve versions of most desserts.

  3. Great idea making cupcake strudel and I really like the vanilla infused with vodka. Wonderful pictures of the mini-strudel cakes. Bravo on a great challenge. Cheers from Audax

  4. What an absolutely creative idea..cupcake strudels. They look adorable and sooo tasty! Awesome job!!!

  5. I love that you are making desserts into cupcake sized creations! Oh and I LOVE the sound of vanilla infused vodka! Yummy! I'll have one with a little custard drizzled on top! :)

  6. c'est super original de les avoir présentés de cette manière ! c'est du beau travail :)

  7. Loved reading your post, & it took me back to my days on jumpseats too, as I was in the aviation industry for almost 8 years. The panic of no seat & then strapped onto a jumpseat...LOL! I like your idae of making indiv cupcake desserts...YUM!

  8. I love the fact that you've come up with bite size versions of the strudel. Really clever and the flavours sound so yummy!

  9. Beautiful job! I love the idea of minis, but as a fellow cupcake lover, I can totally understand!

  10. You will never cease to amaze me in all that you create!!!! Great job!!

  11. Strudel cupcakes! Wicked! :) I have to try it myself :)

  12. Cute idea to make them as little cupcakes versions! I bet they were sooo dreamy!

  13. Neat idea to make little individual streudels! They looked cute and yummy, too!

  14. I love the individual sized strudel, beautiful!

  15. Hey there!!

    I am about to make an apple strudel myself... Not the cupcake version but yours look SCRUMPTIOUS...
    Take care, Leesa

  16. Yum! I love the cupcake strudels =D.

  17. Love the strudel cupcakes, very cute! Great twist on the challenge!

  18. Very creative presentation, I love how you made individual servings this way!

  19. Thanks everyone for the compliments! I'm having so much fun as a Daring Baker and would highly recommend joining to anyone who has a passion for baking!