Decadence of all, I present you My First Strudel. The master of desserts, originated in my home land as well, Austria-Hungary dated from the 17th century.
Why it is called a strudel? The German word means a whirlpool, which obviously refers to a shape of the rolled out pastry dough beauty. Let me tell you, this homemade pastry is not the easiest to work with, but not impossible. The honor goes to The Czech Apetit Magazine, which provided me a recipe with almost no risk in it. Of course, the pastry dough can still break. However, only the practice will lead us to a successful end. Just have fun with it and stretch with me! By the way, you can really see and read through the pastry.
I present you strudel 2 ways - Apple and Pear, Cherries and Coconut Strudel.
A luxurious dessert suitable for any baby from 2 plus, because of a possible egg white intolerance. Babies love apples and the smoothness is there. Just skip the alcohol and this will be a big success, trust me on that.
Total Time: 2 hours
The Pastry Dough:
100ml of lukewarm water
1 whole egg
A splash of juice from lemon
2 tablespoons of olive oil
280g of plain flour, sifted
A pinch of sea salt
The Filling Number One - Apples and Pears:
1,2kg of uncleaned apples and pears, peeled, cleaned and diced
Few splashes of lemon juice
50g of cane sugar
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon and ginger
50g of ground walnuts, almonds or hazelnuts
A splash of good quality rum or brandy (I used Brandy de Jerez)
The Filling Number Two - Cherries and Coconut:
700g of cherries (fresh or jarred), deseeded and halved
50g of dried prunes, chopped
2 tablespoons of cranberry jelly
7 tablespoons coconut flakes + to finish
A splash of good quality dark rum
1 package of vanilla sugar
100g of butter, melted to brush
Icing sugar to sprinkle with
The Pastry Dough
In a small mixing bowl place the water, egg, lemon juice and oil. Mix with a balloon whisk.
In a large mixing bowl place the flour and salt. Make a well in the middle and pour in the egg mixture.
Then, start mixing a dough from the outside to inside as per My very favourite Orthodox Cake Recipe. Literally, make love to the dough until it gets beautifully shiny, non sticky and flourless texture.
Put it back into the bowl. Sprinkle with flour and cover with a clean cloth. Place the bowl in a warm place and let it rest for about 1 hour.
The Filling Number 1: Apple and Pear Mix
Place all the apples and pears in a medium mixing bowl. Each layer of the cleaned fruits sprinkle with the lemon juice, so it doesn’t go brown.
Add sugar, nuts and spices (ground cinnamon and ginger). Pour in the brandy and give it a gentle stir. Taste and season accordingly. Set aside.
The Filling Number 2: Cherry and Coconut Mix
Place the cherries into a mixing bowl. Add prunes and a splash of rum. Let it nicely soak for about 1 hour.
Next, add coconut flakes, 1 vanilla sugar and mix with a metal spoon. It shouldn’t be too juicy, nor too thick. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
By now, pastry should be nicely chilled. Divide it into 2 equal parts.
Give it a little hand touch and roll it out on sifted working board into a rectangle. Then, place a clean cloth on a table and start stretching. You can start by stretching the pastry from all the sides. This way it takes time and it won’t be perfect in the middle, of course.
You can also stretch it the way you prepare the pizza. Flip the whole pastry in the air and stretch, by using hands or elbows. Why not, just work fast, so it doesn’t break. The pastry is indeed elastic.
Place it back on a clean cloth and check the thinness of the pastry, whether you can see through. If yes, you can continue. If not, stretch it for a big longer.
Brush the whole surface of a pastry dough with the melted butter.
Depending on the size of a baking tray, divide the pastry into 2 parts.
I have got a standard size oven and ofa baking tray. The strudel would be just too long.
Mold half of the mixture on ½ of each pastry. Cover it nicely with the part you have nothing on. Place a baking paper just next to the strudel and roll it over, so the ending is covered underneath. Continue with the second, third and fourth one. Cover the side endings underneath and brush with the melted butter.
Place pecans on the top of The Apple and Pear Mix. Bake in the oven for about 45 minutes.
In half of the baking time, take them out and brush them with the melted butter.
Once they are done, take them all out and brush them with the melted butter once again.
Sprinkle some more coconut flakes over The Cherries and Coconut Strudels.
Then, let them cool down for a bit on a rack.
Just before serving, sprinkle The Apple and Pear Strudel with the icing sugar.
Slice to the heaven and enjoy.
Makes 2 large or 4 medium strudels.