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mmm… cherry strudel

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summary: recipe for cherry strudel; based on cherry strudel recipe in SAVEUR magazine; (click on image to see more photos on making cherry strudel)

cherry strudel In a recent issue of SAVEUR magazine, Margo True wrote about The Pleasures of Strudel. And after gazing at the article on several occasions, T decided that he had to make strudel. Well, who am I to argue?

And so a couple of Saturdays ago, he mixed the strudel dough and set it aside to rest. Then out we went to we buy some canned morello cherries. The moment we got home, T headed into the kitchen and started clattering and humming away happily.

Some time later, he asked if we had any really big lint-free tea towels. For stretching the dough. Now, I remember seeing Marcella Hazan (I think it was her, anyway) make strudel on TV and as I recall, she stretched the dough on her kitchen table. I had only read The Pleasures of Strudel once but I was pretty sure that there were photos of a relatively large workspace there too.

E: A tea towel?
T: We have some big tea towels, don’t we?
E: How big is it supposed to be?
T: The recipe says to use a lint-free cloth that is roughly 3 feet by 3 feet.
E: (muffling hysterical laughter) A tea towel??
T: (looking a little hurt) I thought I’d use two side by side.
E: Let me look.

I don’t know about you, but I can’t say that I’ve ever seen tea towels even close to that size. At first I thought we might have to use a bedsheet. But after looking through the linen drawer, I realized that we do have a smooth cotton picnic tablecloth that would work perfectly. And as it happens, it was exactly right.

And the resulting strudel? Oh my oh my!! We neeeeeeeed to have strudel again soon!

Here is what T did:

based on recipes in SAVEUR magazine Dec 2005 “The Pleasures of Strudel” by Margo True

Strudel Dough

  • 1¾ c bread flour
  • 1 egg
  • pinch salt
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • ¼ c lukewarm water
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil

Preparation

  1. Put flour, egg, salt, 2 Tbsp oil, water in a bowl. Use your hands to mix and form into a ball. Knead the dough on a clean surface until smooth, 5-7 minutes. Reshape it into a ball, coat with 1 tsp oil and place it on a plate. Cover with an inverted bowl and let dough rest in a warm spot for 1-2 hours.
  2. While the dough rests, prepare strudel filling.
  3. Spread a clean lint-free 1m square cloth on a large smooth surface and weight down the corners. Lightly flour cloth (or not… T didn’t). Stretch dough into a 6inch round and set in the center of the cloth. Using a floured rolling pin, roll out into a large thing round – use firm strokes rolling outward from the center to edges.
  4. Make sure hands and forearms are clean and lumpy jewellery free. Arms should be bare to the elbows. Dust backs of hands and forearms with flour (or not if the kitchen is cool). Slide dough so it is centered evenly over your hands and arms (no folds). Use hands and arms to carefully stretch dough out from center in to a larger round. Rotate and tip from side to side to let gravity help to stretch it further. When it has stretched as far as possible without ripping (about 2′) flop it back onto the cloth and straighten out any wrinkles.
  5. Wherever the dough is thicker (deeper yellow), carefully slide one hand underneath and use the other to gently stretch the dough. Keep stretching til it is roughly rectangular and almost fills the cloth. Gently stretch the edges of the dough til it is about the size of the cloth. Trim off any thick dough edges. It is now ready to be filled and rolled into a strudel.

Cherry Strudel
Preheat oven to 400F

  • 9 Tbsp butter (6Tbsp + 3 Tbsp)
  • 1 c dried bread crumbs
  • 1 recipe strudel dough (above)
  • ¼ c demerara sugar
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • 2 jars (682ml each) pitted morello cherries
  • 1 Tbsp white sugar
  • 1 Tbsp corn starch
  • icing sugar
  1. Over medium low heat, melt 6 Tbsp butter in a small skillet. Pour out into a bowl and set aside.
  2. Melt the other 3 Tbsp butter in the skillet. Add bread crumbs and cook, stirring til crumbs are well browned (colour of walnut skins)
  3. Drain the cherries into two bowls – one for the cherries, one for the juice. Check each cherry for pits, just in case! Set the cherries aside.
  4. Pour cherry juice into a small pot. Add white sugar and corn starch and cook over medium high heat, stirring til sauce is thickened to thin gravy consistancy. Set aside.
  5. Position rolled dough and cloth with a longish edge parallel to the edge of the work surface closest to you. Brush the dough with most of the reserved 6 Tbsp butter. Spread bread crumbs along edge of dough closest to you: 3″ in from long edge and 1″ in from shorter side edges, to cover about one-third of the dough. Pile cherries evenly on bread crumbs. Combine demerara sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over cherries.
  6. Lift up long edge of cloth closest to you with both hands and carefully roll strudel over on itself. Fold side edges of dough over. Then roll strudel over again, folding side edges over with each roll.
  7. Place seam side down on a parchment covered pan. If the pan is too small, curve the strudel into a J or C shape. Brush the outside with the rest of the butter. Carefully slash the top in a few spots.
  8. Bake at 400F til golden brown: 30-35 minutes. Dust with icing sugar and let cool for at least 10 minutes. Dust with more sugar before serving.

Serve with yoghurt, ice cream or whipped cream and cherry sauce.

When T saw that I was finally putting together the photo essay of this post, he suddenly announced that he needed to make another strudel. How lucky am I?! A peach strudel has just emerged from the oven. Of course, I couldn’t stop myself from taking pictures. Stay tuned….

 
Edit 9 March 2006 14:51 EST: This entry was posted in 'Saveur' Magazine review, baking, cakes, pastries, cookies, etc., cookbooks, etc., dessert, food & drink, posts with recipes on by .

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  • bing

    Wow, it looks gorgeous. Amazing that the dough didn’t (seem to?) tear with all that stretching, especially the early part in the air.

    Mmm, peach …

    What is the crust like? Is it tender or crispy or chewy or …. ? I’ve only ever had strudel in restaurants, and it has always been a bit tough. I never knew if it was a problem or a feature.

  • ejm

    Yes, it really is amazing that the dough doesn’t tear. I think that might be partly because of the high gluten level of the bread flour. The only holes appear when the dough goes onto the table. And they’re easy to repair. I can’t believe how thin it can get!

    The resulting crust is light and crispy on the outside, tender on the inside. In short, it’s brilliant. And the peach filling is really good too! I’ll do a follow-up soon.

  • I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m willing to pay admission to see Mr. T work that dough!!! Amazin’ !

  • ejm

    It is pretty cool, isn’t it, Mats. Now if I can just get him to learn how to make those hand pulled Asian noodles I’ve seen being made on TV. You know the kind? It almost looks as if the noodle maker is going to jump rope with the noodle dough.

  • Mr.T

    LOL. Thanks, Mats. You made my day.

    – Mr.T