A strudel is a plump, log-shaped pastry packed with apples and raisins surrounded by thin dough that bakes up light, crispy and golden. It is not common for home bakers as some the other apple dishes, because it takes a practiced hand to make the dough. After kneading and rolling, it must be stretched so thin you can see through it, and then handled delicately enough that the dough does not tear. There are hints and shortcuts to make your strudel a success, whether you are attempting your first one or your fiftieth one.
In the case of strudel dough, though, there's no shame in taking shortcuts: store-bought phyllo dough, found in the freezer section of almost any grocery store, makes quick work of a light and delicate strudel. To make the dough even more crisp and airy, sprinkle fresh, sugared bread crumbs between the layers of butter-brushed phyllo.
Whether you make the dough from scratch or use phyllo, it can be a challenge to roll up and transfer to a baking sheet once you have laid down the apple filling. To solve this problem, try parchment paper.
The Apple Strudel Filling
Before you start spooning in the filling, cut a piece of parchment paper that is a little longer than the dough and lay it on your work surface, then arrange the dough over it. When you are ready to roll up the strudel, use one hand and carefully lift the edge of the parchment paper. Use the other hand and carefully roll the strudel up like a jelly roll, gradually lifting the paper up higher and higher until the strudel is completely rolled up.
Make sure the edge of the dough tucks underneath the roll, and then use the paper like a sling to lift the whole thing onto the baking sheet. You do not even need to remove the paper before baking! Just slide the pan into the oven and get ready to impress everybody.
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