Apfelstrudel, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways!!!!!

Well, I guess I need to rethink my love for it, or at least the classic Viennese version.  Which of course brings me to this…..

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.

As with anything, often there is more than one way to arrive at the final destination and strudel is no different.  The strudel my “granny” made, the strudel I make and the strudel I adore are not  strudel in the classic Viennese way.  With no hanging my head in shame, I proudly proclaim my love for strudel made with phyllo dough!!  This is not to say I won’t eat the classic Viennese version but there is an obvious difference in the doughs, both visually and texturally, and I prefer phyllo.

Visually the difference is more than obvious.

Phyllo vs. Strudel

Phyllo vs. Strudel

Texturally it is a bit more subtle.  Phyllo is like a 2000 year old papyrii disintegrating into a myriad of crackling shards when you bite into it.  Strudel dough is more like a thin leather scroll, dried and cracked but yet still retains a little “tooth” to it.

All of this being said, this months challenge was more about technique for me than taste.  Being that I have technically cheated on every strudel I have ever made, I figured giving the “real thing” a go would be fun…and thanks to

Linda and Courtney

it was!!!!

I stayed very close to the posted recipe with only 2 small changes.  The first being that I eliminated the walnuts and the second being I used Alpine Spice in place of the rum to soak the raisins.  The dough, for me , was the star in this show and after reading the forums and a few things on wikipedia, I had concerns.  Legend has it that the “Austrian Emperor’s perfectionist cook decreed that it should be possible to read a love letter through it“.  Being that I have a tendency to put holes in a lightly tossed pizza dough, I was positive I would end up with a Swiss strudel and not a Viennese one.

(I hope everyone caught that sad reference to swiss cheese!)

My concerns were for naught, this dough was absolutely a marvel to work with.  Not only did I manage to get the 2’x3′ dimensions suggested, I far exceeded them and I could have read numerous love letters through it.  My only “ahhh hell” moment came right after I knew I was done stretching but I had to go one more!!!!  Just a small tear, alas perfection was not to be!!!!

Just shy of perfection!!

Just shy of perfection!!

Dat's how I roll!!!!

Dat's how I roll!!!!

Lovin' from the oven

Lovin' from the oven

Strudel Viennese!

Strudel Viennese!

As for getting back to the roots of strudel, I am so glad this opportunity was given…I found that the technique for making the dough is not as bad as I thought it would be.  However, and I can only speak for myself on this, I have every intention of continuing my cheating ways and using phyllo for my strudel!!!

And please visit my fellow Bakers who dare!!