Friday, November 8, 2013

Do a barrel roll!

I've made croissants. I've made baked Alaska (with neither a broiler nor a blowtorch). I've made yogurt and marshmallows and butter. But I've always sworn to myself I'd never make phyllo. Until I wanted to make strudel and didn't like that most recipes I found called for thawed, frozen, unrolled phyllo. Premade dough is not my jam. Snob? Where?

Unlike baklava, strudel doesn't call for any hellish folding or cutting maneuvers... it just requires one to delicately, delicately roll paper-thin dough over spiky, lumpy apple slices. Sprezzatura? Where?

I almost forgot to take pictures and had to shakily maneuver my camera with my one non-butter-covered hand. They sort of kind of came out. Amateur? Where?

There were initially walnuts and raisins to put in this, but I snacked them into oblivion between the grocery shopping and pastry making. Glutton? Where?

Oh, and it turns out my camera has a nifty white balance (three guesses which two of the above I took after figuring that out). Goodbye, jaundiced pictures!

Apple strudel

200 g all-purpose flour
pinch kosher salt
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp canola oil
1/2 tsp white or cider vinegar
1/2 c lukewarm water

In a bowl, with a fork or dough hook, mix ingredients together until they come together in a shaggy ball. Knead with dough hook or on unfloured surface for about 3 minutes, or until you have a soft, smooth lump of dough. Coat in more canola oil and rest in a plastic wrap-covered bowl for at least an hour. The longer it sits, the more pliable it will be when you go to stretch it out.

1 1/2 pounds sliced, peeled apples of some tart variety that won't break down when baked (preferably fresh, local, interesting varieties)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 to 1/3 c sugar (depending on the sweetness of your apples)
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 c panko
6 tbsp melted butter, divided

Melt 2 tbsp butter in a saucepan until just starting to brown. Add the panko and toss over medium-high heat until they're toasty. Set aside.

Just before assembling, toss the apples, spices, sugar, and 2 tbsp of melted butter.

This is the tricky part. On a clean, dry, lightly floured surface, roll out the dough in a vaguely rectangular fashion, as thin as you can get it by rolling. Pay close attention to the edges of the dough so as not to end up with a thick rim. When it will roll no more, gently and evenly begin stretching the dough over your palms and forearms until it's as near translucent as you can get it without tearing it. A few holes are fine, of course.

When you have a rectangular-ish sheet of extremely thin dough, lay out the apples along a long edge, leaving a few inches of overhang. Evenly spread the toasted panko on top. Fold over the overhang, and carefully, as evenly as you can, begin to roll the whole thing into a long cylinder. Gently slide the cylinder onto a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet, curling it into a horseshoe or circle or whatever you need to fit it. Brush with the remaining melted butter and sprinkle with a little cinnamon sugar. Bake at 400 F for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown and flaky. Allow to cool 5-10 minutes, then slice and enjoy.


  1. Staple a chamois to my chin, my mouth is watering!

  2. I'll make you one when we visit in December!