Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A Daring Baker: Strudel!

May 26th

10:07 am: So here it is. The last possible day I can make the strudel that is May's Daring Bakers challenge. It's been a crazy month between illnesses in the house and a family wedding. I could opt out, I starting thinking yesterday. But it's my first month as a Daring Baker and that just seems so wimpy. So if not making a strudel isn't an option, that means I have to make a strudel. Today. Not a problem, right? I just have to choose a filling. And figure out how to roll and stretch the dough without a rolling pin. And make the whole thing. It'll be, Easy? A laugh a minute?

I even have the secret Daring Baker password for this month:

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.

Thanks, Linda and Courtney for choosing a truly daring recipe for this month's challenge! Here goes nothing!

12:15 pm: It would be boring to do this with no mistakes, right? So mistake number one: miscount the number of 1/3 cupfuls of flour I put in the bowl. I stirred and turned the resulting very wet, very shaggy dough on an unfloured board, as directed. Tried to knead it. Not happening. I start thinking about adding just a little flour when my eyes glance down at my hastily scribbled notes and see the 1 1/3 cups flour. Oh, yeah. That fourth 1/3 cup of flour would be really handy just about now. So I dump it on the board/dough, knead it all into the dough, and then continue kneading on the now-flourless board for a couple more minutes.

The dough is now oiled and in the fridge. I need it to sit longer than the specified resting time, so I'll pull it out later to sit and get nice and warmed up before trying to stretch it out.

I've decided on a savory mushroom/potato filling. Little Girl has had cake three nights in a row thanks to the wedding rehearsal, wedding, and a birthday party last night. I think four nights of dessert would set a precedent I'm not interested in setting. So I'll use her nap to cook the mushrooms' liquid out of them, par-boil the potatoes, and mix up some carmelized onion/goat cheese/cream cheese just for kicks.

2:33 pm: No potatoes. Changed my mind about them because I want the flavors to be more intense. I don't really have a picture in my head about how much flavor the dough will take away from the filling. So the mushrooms are cooked, the cheeses/onions/garlic are all mixed. Now I just have to figure out the perfect time to pull the dough out to warm up. If I wait until Husband comes home, we'll eat pretty late. If I try to do it while Little Girl is still asleep, I'm guaranteeing us a room temperature dinner and I'm not sure if that's what I want. If I try to stretch the dough with Little Girl awake? Heh. Barrel of flour, add monkeys. That's what we'd have.

5:22 pm:
Sesame Street to the rescue! Little Girl happily watched away as I rolled, stretched, and filled my dough. The problems came in my apparent inability to do simple math today. See flour, above for the first mistake. The second came as I was thinking, "Wow...this is pretty easy! I'm almost half-way rolled out and I haven't needed to use any creative language at all!" And that's when I realized that I hadn't cut my dough ball in half as planned. Of course it was all going along swimmingly -- I thought I was rolling out to a size suitable for a half recipe, but I had a whole recipe of dough. Very easy that way.

But, in the end, I managed to get a very thin dough almost as big as the recipe says it should be, and just cut off the sides to make a smaller rectangle for the amount of filling I had. And now, it's all filled and in the oven!

Husband, who kindly downloaded my pictures while I was taking care of other things, says that the unbaked strudel looks like a grub if you look at it quickly and don't know the scale. You'd never guess that I won his heart with a mushroom pie, would you? I think there was a qualifying, "Don't take this the wrong way, but..." I am not soothed.

After thirty minutes in the oven and thirty minutes of rest (I timed this phase; patience while waiting for food to cool is not my strongest virtue), I cut into the strudel. Flaky, mostly separate layers filled with a fairly rich mushroom and goat cheese filling.

That'll do, pig. That'll do.


  1. Congratulations on your first challenge!

    I'm glad you stuck with it, despite your busy month: your savoury strudel looks delicious! The filling is one of my favourite flavour combinations! Way to go!

  2. Great job, congrats on your first challenge. Love the mushroom pie idea!

  3. Congrats on a first challenge very well done! Love the mushroom strudel..looks gorgeous!

  4. Mmmm, looks delicious! Yum! The filling you chose sounds really good. :)

  5. Welcome to daring bakers! Great job on this month's challenge!

  6. OMG, that looks sooo good! Goat cheese and mushrooms, mmm mmm....

  7. Yay...glad you did it, and I love the way you did your post! The filling choices sound delicious! GREAT job!

  8. Congrats on your 1st challenge. It's all about technique you are so right to get the pastry transparent! Great that you gained a new skill from the DBers. Wonderful colour you got – love the pixs. Yes it isn't pretty until it is baked. Cheers from Audax in Australia.

    Yes the spirit of the Daring Bakers is it is not a competition BUT what is respected is trying to do the challenge using your best efforts.

  9. Looks good-- great idea on the filling too. I made a sweet strudel but I'm going to have to try savory next time.

  10. I want that flakey goodness for my dinner tonight!!! Love that filling!

  11. Yum! That looks awesome =D. Great job on your first challenge!!

  12. Wow that looks great! I bet the flavors really came through and I love the humor in the post.