Thursday, November 12, 2009

Something Sweet

I did some test baking last evening since part of my family is coming for the big T day dinner and I would not want any last minute surprises...
I picked a simple Czech "pulled" strudel recipe i made many times before, this time I went by book though; I usually tend to be little loose on following directions exactly and most of the time it works but, well, sometimes it doesn't, especially with baking, so I just wanted to make sure.

For Dough:
250 g of flour (2 coffee mugs)
1 tbsp of some fat (i used olive oil since i do not have anything else in kitchen)
1 egg
1 tsp of white vinegar
pinch of salt
a cup of lukewarm water
For Filling:
about 1 kg of tart sliced apples
butter roasted bread crumbs
melted butter to sprinkle on the top
brown sugar, maple syrup
cinnamon and star anise (ground)
raisins, walnuts
rum, vanilla extract

Everything (but flour) from dough list should be mixed in water and gradually added to flour, when the mixture is thicker, worked with fingers into unsticking smooth dough; than it is left to sit under warm bowl for a while (I left it on the top of stove while I was baking something inside). The trick seems to be the resting part, I know it has something to do with water an gluten reacting together to improve viscosity for rolling but I am not exactly sure about the details; anyway 30 or so minutes later I had a VERY smooth lump which I divided into two, rolled and filled with the usual - layer of butter roasted bread crumbs, than thin sliced apples and other ingredients. I got little creative and added as well a pinch of star anise, sprinkled with bourbon vanilla extract and substituted some sugar with maple syrup to bring a touch of exotica; we definitely did not have this stuff at home when i was growing up.

I little experimented with dough sheet thickness; I made one piece see-through thin as the recipe called for (it was quite easy, since I am using wonder device these days - Cephalon silicon rolling mat), but it was little tricky to transport it into baking sheet after filling and I was afraid it will give in and split while baking, so I made the second one little thicker.

But surprisingly both of them kept shape just fine and were agreeable as for taste. I tried to make sure it was an objective assessment; of course I was told by W., the problem is he tends to like almost everything I make ... fortunately I was told by "unbiased" general public too, since one piece made it to office with me and the plate was empty by lunch time.

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