Arsip Tag: strudel
I am not proud of this, but I’m really just a one trick pony in the language department. Sure, after four years of high school French and the shortest exchange program ever, I can get by in Paris and because of this, can occasionally make sense of written Italian or Spanish, but Czech? German? I couldn’t be further from makings heads or tails of it.
As you might expect, as Alex and I luckily found ourselves at some untouristy eateries in Vienna–without a waitstaff that catered to the language-deficient or menus reprinted in 16 world languages–quite a bit of Hilarity Ensued. After many hours of walking on a hot day, Alex and I were beat, so we flopped down at a cafe and mindlessly asked for “iced coffees” completely forgetting that “ice” equals “eis” equals “ice cream” in German, and ended up with a big cup filled with coffee, cream, whipped cream and a scoop of vanilla gelato. I wish all mistakes were this tasty!
Looking to offset the heavy dishes Central Europe, I also ordered something that I guessed was going to be a light, healthy vegetable strudel, something I’d imagined dreamily warm with crispy, flaky edges and something I was certainly going to want to repeat at home. Unfortunately, I received a brick of rice with a few flecks of carrots and parnsips, wrapped in phyllo and smothered in a creamy herb sauce. It all went very well with my eis Kaffee!
Nevertheless, this in no way diminished my dream to make my own vegetable strudel once I got home, so when I found a wild mushroom strudel recipe on Leite’s Culinaria, I was so eager to try it, I entirely forgot about my wholly justified Fear of Phyllo. Here, just look at my first effort, doomed from the start.
I quickly realized that there was simply no way I was going to make this dish into the four burrito-shaped strudel the recipe suggested, and took matters into my own hands, dealing with phyllo the only way I am comfortable–in a technique I loosely adapted from Hogwash, or the very first time I saw a phyllo effort I thought I might actually be able to take part in.
Instead of stacking fragile sheet after sheet atop one another, you simply work with one at a time, folding into quarters and rolling your filling up into a little package, flag-style. You end up with a neat little finger food, and, at least in my case, far fewer gray hairs at the end of the night. (Alex’s too, as he heard me talking smack about the phyllo’s mother a lot less from the living room.)
Along with a big green salad, we ended up with a mighty delicious meal and I’m eager to make these again for a party sometime soon. So, whose got some phyllo tips for me, should I ever get the nerve to try this again?
Adapted from The Complete Mushroom Book, via Leite’s Culinaria
My mother-in-law, whose phyllo expertise I bow before, always makes extra pastries and keeps them frozen until she needs them, a great planning-ahead party tip.
12 to 18 sheets phyllo pastry (12 to make four large strudel, 18 to make smaller triangles)
1/4 to 1/2 cup butter, melted (1/4 cup to make large strudel, 1/2 cup to make smaller triangles; alternately, you could use olive oil for a different flavor profile)
1 egg, beaten (for large strudel; I did not see the need to seal the small ones)
1 pound mixed, fresh, wild and cultivated mushrooms (we used only creminis, and ended up with plenty of flavor. If you omit the stems, start with 1.5 pounds)
1 medium onion, minced
3 tablespoons butter
Freshly grated nutmeg (optional, we skipped it)
1 tablespoon dry sherry
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
Leaves from 1 sprig marjoram or thyme
4 to 6 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra for sprinkling, if you wish (the latter amount for the minis)
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Clear a large work surface for this, big enough for two full sheets of phllyo, your egg wash, parmesan and filling–trust me, you’ll need it.
Make the filling: Make sure the mushrooms are dust- and sand-free, wash if necessary, and trim if need be. Cook the onion in the butter and, when soft, add the mushrooms with the nutmeg. Saute for 5 to 7 minutes, until liquid has been released and has partially evaporated. Add the sherry and evaporate the alcohol by cooking over low heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the flour, herbs, and some salt and pepper, and let cool. The mixture will be moist.
To make small, triangular strudel: Take one sheet of phyllo at a time from their package; cover the remaining sheets with plastic and then a damp towel, ensuring they are completely covered. Brush one half of the sheet lengthwise with butter. Fold the unbuttered side over the buttered side, carefully, smoothing out any wrinkles and bubbles but not worrying if you can’t get them all. Again, brush one half of this lengthwise (a few inch-wide column) with butter, and fold the unbuttered side over it again. You’ll end up with one long column.
Dollop a spoonful of the mushroom filling near the end and sprinkle a teaspoon of parmesan over it. Begin folding one bottom corner of the phyllo strip over the filling until it meets the opposite edge, forming a triangle, as if you were folding a flag. Place the triangle seam side down on the baking sheet, brush lightly with egg wash and sprinkle with parmesan.
Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Serve warm.
To make four larger strudel: Take 3 sheets of phyllo at a time from their package; cover the remaining sheets with plastic and then a damp towel, ensuring they are completely covered. Brush 1 sheet on both sides with melted butter, then place it on top of another sheet, and cover with a third. Repeat 3 times, to make 4 stacks of triple-layer phyllo.
Lay one of the 4 stacks of phyllo on the parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush the edges with beaten egg. Put one-fourth of the mushroom mixture on the center of the phyllo and add 1 tablespoon Parmesan. Fold in the sides, then fold over and over into a neat parcel. Brush with beaten egg, turn over very carefully so that the seam is on the bottom, and brush with egg again. Repeat to make 3 more strudels.
Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Serve warm.
I also found the halved size to be more suited to our needs, and a little less scary to handle. It bakes in a few minutes less time. The instructions below are for one full-sized strudel, however. If halving, you’ll want to stretch each half the dough into a 12-by-16-inch rectangle instead.
If yours leaks a little, don’t fret. Our first two did, my second two did not, i.e. it gets easier with practice. If it softens when it cools, you can re-crisp it in the oven, but most people will tell you it’s really at its best the first day.
Re, breadcrumbs: Weiss’s recipe calls for 1/2 cup and they clock in at 60 grams. I find panko (Japanese-style breadcrumbs) to be an almost exact match for white bread that I’ve dried and ground, and use it instead. But it’s much lighter (less than 30 grams per 1/2 cup) which probably explains why I felt I needed more to both absorb the butter and hold the apples in place. If you’re not using panko breadcrumbs, you might find the original measurement better suits your needs.
Finally, vanilla sugar (vanillezucker)! Weiss notes that vanilla extract is unheard of in most of Europe, the vanilla sugar reigns supreme. [My mother informs me that my late grandmother, who almost never baked, still always had a jar of this around.] However, the commercial stuff is often artificial. If you don’t have a vanilla bean, you can add one teaspoon of vanilla extract to the apple filling below. However, if you’d like to make some, you’re in for a treat. Split one vanilla bean open and scrape seeds into 2 cups (400 grams) of granulated sugar. Use your fingertips to disperse it throughout. Stick the empty bean pod in the sugar too; there’s plenty of flavor left to be had. You’ll need less than half for this recipe but I promise you’ll enjoy having the rest around. It also makes wonderful gifts in a pretty glass jar.
- 1/2 cup (80 grams) raisins
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) dark rum
- 1 cup plus 3 tablespoons (150 grams) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- Pinch of salt
- 3 tablespoons (45 ml) sunflower, safflower or another neutral oil
- 1/3 cup (80 ml) water
- 2 pounds (905 grams) firm apples (about 5 to 6)
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1/3 cup (65 grams) granulated sugar or vanilla sugar (see note above)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
- 8 tablespoons (115 grams) unsalted butter, divided
- 3/4 cup (40 grams) plain, unseasoned dried breadcrumbs (I used, and recommend, panko, see note above)
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar or vanilla sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
- Lightly sweetened whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, for serving
Make the dough: The day of, combine the flour and salt in a medium bowl. Add the oil and water and mix with a spoon or your index finger until a rough dough forms. Turn it out onto a very lightly floured counter and knead for 10 minutes. It sounds like it will be forever, but set a timer and chat with a friend, it goes quickly. After 10 minutes, the dough should be soft and silky to the tough. Form it into a ball, place it on the counter and upend the mixing bowl over it. Set aside for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the apples: Peel, halve, core and slice thin in one direction, then halve the slices crosswise, creating thin squarish rectangles of apples. Place them in a large bowl and toss with lemon juice, sugar and cinnamon, if using. Add the raisins and any rum left in the bowl.
Prepare the breadcrumbs: In a small skillet over medium-low heat, melt 3 tablespoons butter and add the breadcrumbs, sugar and salt. Stir to coat and cook, stirring frequently as they can burn quickly, until crumbs are an even golden brown and very fragrant. Don’t let them burn. Scrape into a dish (or they’ll keep cooking in the pan) and set aside.
Heat your oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Line 1 large or 2 smaller baking sheets with parchment paper.
Melt the remaining 5 tablespoons butter in a small dish.
Roll out your dough (these directions are for a full-sized strudel): Cover your work surface with a cleaning linen towel or sheet that’s at least 24-by-32 inches. The long side should be horizontal. Sprinkle the cloth lightly with flour. Place the dough in the middle, sprinkle it very lightly with flour and roll in both directions until it’s about 10-by-13 inches, or about as far as the rolling pin can take it. Make sure the dough hasn’t stuck to the cloth; reflour if it has. Now the stretching begins! Ball your hands to loose fists, put them under the rolled-out dough and gently start stretching the dough using the back of your hands. Alternate with pulling the dough gently with your fingers to continue stretching it, stretching the edges thin too. This is all much easier than it sounds, but be patient. If holes form, pinch the dough back together. Continue stretching until the dough is about 16-by-24 inches.
Assemble strudel: Brush evenly with about half the melted butter. On the right side of the rectangle, a few inches from the end, spread the breadcrumbs top to bottom in a thick line, leaving a little more than an inch margin at the top and bottom of the strip. Scoop the apples with a slotted spoon, leaving any accumulated juices in the bowl, and pile them over the crumbs. Gently pull the top and bottom edges of the dough over the apple mixture. Pull the right edge of the dough up and over the filling as far as it will go without tearing. Working carefully, use the towel to roll up the strudel all the way. Place the parchment paper from your baking sheet at the edge of the roll and roll the strudel onto it. Ideally, it should be breadcrumb side-down on the parchment, you can roll it again if it’s not. Use the parchment like a sling to gently place the strudel on the baking sheet.
Brush the strudel generously all over with some of the remaining butter. Bake for 15 minutes, then brush again and return to the oven in a rotated position. Repeat this once, baking a total of 45 minutes. (Half-size strudels seem to bake 5 or so minutes faster.) The finished strudel should be crisp to the touch and a deep golden brown.
Remove the baking sheet from the oven and let cool on a rack for at least 20 minutes before serving. Dust with confectioners’ sugar and slice into pieces to serve.
Strudel is best the day it is made, but it keeps for 1 to 2 days at room temperature. I’ve also read that you can freeze it (am trying this as we speak, will give more notes once it defrosts). Before serving, you can crisp up leftover strudel in a 350 degree F (180 degree C) oven.