At first, I was really thrilled when I learnt that I was going to make that Austro-Hungarian speciality and was finally going to be able to test my first recipe from a cookbook I own, but have always been scared of delving into seriously!
I won't say that the idea of making strudel dough didn't scare me at first (I'm a fraidy nelly) and make me doubt my baking skills. But, as with all Daring Bakers challenges, I was ready to overcome my aprehension, jump into the cold water and boost my confidence by proving to myself that I was capable of taking that project from start to finish without faling sadly.
After having gathered my courage and procrastinated for more than three weeks, I finally found enough determination to go through it all and prove to myself that I could succeed at making something as finicky and delicate as strudel dough.
To my big surprise, making the dough wasn't as complicated and esoteric as I expected. It stretched fantastically to a paper-thin sheet and didn't tear. The rolling and shaping of the strudel was easy like Sunday morning.
I was so relieved to see that I went through the whole process without cursing, sweating or getting destabilized by any problem. I happily lost my strudel virginity that day and was very proud of succeeding after the very first try!
This time, instead of following the recipe to the letter, I decided that I was not going to make a sweet apple filling, but rather a savory one. As I love Spanakopita and since strudel dough is first cousin to phyllo pastry, I chose to make a Greek inspired "Spinach & Feta Strudel".
It was perfect and I had no complaints to make. The pastry was fantastic, crispy and flaky to please and the filling was very flavorful and wonderfully smooth. Very summery tasting and healthy!
The May Daring Bakers’ challenge is hosted by Linda of "Make Life Sweeter!" (Netherlands) and Courtney of "Coco Cooks" (USA). They chose "Apple Strudel" from the recipe book "Kaffeehaus: Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafés of Vienna, Budapest and Prague" by Rick Rodgers. So, I really want to thank them for having chosen that terrific recipe!
~ Spinach & Feta Strudel ~
Total: 2 hours 15 minutes – 3 hours 30 minutes
15-20 min to make dough
30-90 min to let dough rest/to prepare the filling
20-30 min to roll out and stretch dough
10 min to fill and roll dough
30 min to bake 30 min to cool
4 Tbs Olive oil
2 Big onions, chopped
4 Cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 Tsps Dried dill
600g Spinach (frozen), chopped finely
Salt, to taste
Black pepper, freshly ground, to taste
200g Feta, crumbled
1/4 Cup (60g) Unsalted butter, melted plus more for coating the dough
1x Strudel dough (recipe below)
1 1/2 Cups (350 ml) Fresh bread crumbs
1. In a pan, heat the oil over medium heat.
2. Add the onions and garlic and stir-fry until the onions are translucid.
3. Add the dill and stir-fry for another 1/2 minute.
4. Add the spinach and stir-fry for another 3 minutes.
5. Remove from the heat and let cool.
6. Once the mixture is cold, add the crumbled feta and the ricotta. Salt and pepper to taste. 7. Put the rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat the oven to 200° C (400° F).
8 . Line a large baking sheet with baking paper (parchment paper).
9. Make the strudel dough as described below.
10. Spread about 3 tablespoons of the melted butter over the dough using your hands (A bristle brush could tear the dough. You could use a special feather pastry brush instead of your hands.).
11. Sprinkle the buttered dough with the bread crumbs.
12. Spread the spinach filling about 8cm (3 inches) from the short edge of the dough in a 15cm (6 inches) wide strip.
13. Fold the short end of the dough onto the filling. Lift the tablecloth at the short end of the dough so that the strudel rolls onto itself.
14. Transfer the strudel to the prepared baking sheet by lifting it. Curve it into a horseshoe to fit. Tuck the ends under the strudel. Brush the top with melted butter.
15. Bake the strudel for about 30 minutes or until it is deep golden brown.
16. Cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing (Use a serrated knife and serve either warm or at room temperature. It is best on the day it is baked.).
1 1/3 Cups (200g) Unbleached flour
1/8 Tsp Salt
7 Tbs (105ml) Water, plus more if needed
2 Tbs (30ml) Vegetable oil
1/2 Tsp Cider vinegar
Method for the "Strudel Dough":
1. Combine the flour and salt in a stand-mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix the water, oil and vinegar in a measuring cup. Add the water/oil mixture to the flour with the mixer on low speed. You will get a soft dough. Make sure it is not too dry, add a little more water if necessary. Take the dough out of the mixer. Change to the dough hook. Put the dough ball back in the mixer. Let the dough knead on medium until you get a soft dough ball with a somewhat rough surface.
2. Take the dough out of the mixer and continue kneading by hand on an unfloured work surface. Knead for about 2 minutes. Pick up the dough and throw it down hard onto your working surface occasionally. Shape the dough into a ball and transfer it to a plate. Oil the top of the dough ball lightly. Cover the ball tightly with plastic wrap. Allow to stand for 30-90 minutes (longer is better/I left it stand for a little more than 90 minutes).
3. It would be best if you have a work area that you can walk around on all sides like a 36 inch (90 cm) round table or a work surface of 60 x 100 cm (23 x 38 inches). Cover your working area with table cloth, dust it with flour and rub it into the fabric. Put your dough ball in the middle and roll it out as much as you can. Pick the dough up by holding it by an edge. This way the weight of the dough and gravity can help stretching it as it hangs. Using the back of your hands to gently stretch and pull the dough. You can use your forearms to support it.
4. The dough will become too large to hold. Put it on your work surface. Leave the thicker edge of the dough to hang over the edge of the table. Place your hands underneath the dough and stretch and pull the dough thinner using the backs of your hands. Stretch and pull the dough until it's about 2 feet (60 cm) wide and 3 feet (90 cm) long, it will be tissue-thin by this time. Cut away the thick dough around the edges with scissors. The dough is now ready to be filled.
Remarks, Tips & Notes:
Ingredients are cheap so we would recommend making a double batch of the dough, that way you can practice the pulling and stretching of the dough with the first batch and if it doesn't come out like it should you can use the second batch to give it another try.
The tablecloth can be cotton or polyster. Before pulling and stretching the dough, remove your jewelry from hands and wrists, and wear short-sleeves.
To make it easier to pull the dough, you can use your hip to secure the dough against the edge of the table.
Few small holes in the dough is not a problem as the dough will be rolled, making (most of) the holes invisible.
Instead of cider vinegar I used white wine vinegar.
Picking up the dough to let it stretch didn't work well for me, holes appeared pretty much instantly. Instead I stretched the dough while it was lying on the tablecloth by putting my hands underneath and stretching it out further and further.
Here's a link to a strudelmaking video that might help you a bit.
This "Spinach & Feta Strudel" is ideal served as a main course together with a fresh salad or stir-fried vegetables.
Visit Jen's gorgeous blog if you want to have the recipe for the "Apple Filling".
Etant donné la longueur du texte original, je n'ai malheureusement pas pu faire une traduction française de ce billet et je m'en excuse auprès de tous mes amis lecteurs et blogueurs francophones! C'est pourquoi je vous suggère de vous rendre sur les blogs mentionnés ci-dessous.
Vous y trouverez cette recette en version française:
Chez Vibi de "La Casserole Carrée" (Canada)
Chez Isa de "Les Gourmandises d'Isa" (Canada)