Pear, Walnut, Orange Blossom Strudel
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.
The rules were that we had to make the strudel dough from scratch but had free reign on the filling. I left mine to the last minute and although I found it very easy to make after hours of contemplating the filling the weather didn’t cooperate so I struggled with the lighting to photograph them. Although I keep looking at studio lighting I have told myself I need to take a few lessons on how to operate my camera better before I invest in more gadgets!
I chose to make a pear, walnut and orange strudel as well as a rocket, ricotta and goats cheese strudel. Below is my filling together with the strudel dough recommended from Kaffeehaus.
Pear, Walnut & Orange Blossom Strudel Filling
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) orange blossom water
- 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
- 600 g pears, peeled, cored and cut into ¼ inch-thick slices
- 200g dried but moist figs
- zest of one orange
- 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.
- 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 pear with the figs, orange rind and orange blossom. Spread the mixture over the walnuts.
- 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.
- 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.
Rocket, Ricotta & Goats Cheese with Pinenuts
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
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
– The tablecloth can be cotton or polyster;
– Before pulling and stretching the dough, remove your jewelry from hands and wrists, and wear short-sleeves;
– To make it easier to pull the dough, you can use your hip to secure the dough against the edge of the table;
– Few small holes in the dough is not a problem as the dough will be rolled, making (most of) the holes invisible.