Cinnamon-Kissed Apple Goji Berry Strudel
This chapter is a free excerpt from What's For Lunch, Honey?.
Recipe Courtesy of Rick Rodgers
When I moved to Europe 17 years ago, one of the first rituals I quickly adapted myself to was the coffee-time culture. While much has been written and said about the European coffee culture, to get a real taste of it and feel its unique flair one has to experience it firsthand. Each country on the European continent has its own specific coffee-time custom, and each will nourish these rituals, which often have been established over the centuries and handed down from generation to generation.
Coffee-time in Europe is tradition and a means for family and friends to socialize with each other in a relaxed atmosphere. Visitors to Europe will immediately notice, if not feel, the difference. For one, Europe boasts of some of the oldest coffeehouses; what visitors will not see a lot of here are the modern chains á la Starbucks, which dominates the American continent. Order a cup of coffee in Europe and you will be treated to a rich, aromatic brew served in a porcelain coffee cup with sugar on the side and often a glass of water.
Paper cups? How uncivilized! Coffee-on-the-go? Unheard of!
Cafés and coffeehouses in Europe tempt visitors with their cakes, pastries, exquisite sweet treats and light snacks. When the sun shines and the temperatures rise, tables and chairs are moved outside on the sidewalks and people flock to the cafés and coffeehouses to talk, to read or to write, to people watch or just to pass time. There is nothing on-the-go about this way of life!
This strudel is a delectable sweet addition to any coffee-time tradition. Flaky strudel dough wrapped around cinnamon-kissed apples and goji berries make the strudel treat a heavenly experience. You can use puff pastry dough for this, but I prefer using strudel dough as it makes the strudel more delicate and wonderfully light and crisp. The strudel dough recipe comes courtesy of Kaffeehaus – Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafés of Vienna, Budapest and Prague by Rick Rodgers, and is very easy to put together.
Ingredients:For the strudel dough
- 200g unbleached flour
- ⅛ tsp salt
- 105ml water, plus more if required
- 30ml vegetable oil, plus more for coating the dough
- ½ tsp cider vinegar
- 6 apples, cored, peeled and thinly sliced
- 120g goji berries, rehydrated in warm water for about 5-8 minutes
- 160g brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 150g hazelnuts, very finely chopped
- 50g hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
- 100g butter, melted
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- To make the strudel dough, 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.
- Take the dough out of the mixer and continue kneading by hand on an unfloured work surface. Knead for about 8-10 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—the longer the better.
- 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 23 x 38 inches (60 x 100 cm). 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.
- 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.
- To prepare the filling, mix together apples, goji berries, sugar, cinnamon and vanilla extract together in a large bowl. Make sure everything is nicely coated.
- Brush the strudel dough with some melted butter. Sprinkle the 150g of finely-chopped hazelnuts about 8 cm from the short edge of the dough in a 15 cm wide strip. Spread the strudel with a layer of apple-goji berry filling.
- 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. 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 the remaining melted butter and sprinkle with the 50g coarsely chopped hazelnuts.
- Bake the strudel for about 30 minutes or until it is deep golden brown. 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.
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