Wednesday, 27 May 2009

The Daring Bakers - May Challenge

The May Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Linda of make life sweeter! and Courtney of Coco Cooks. They chose Apple Strudel from the recipe book Kaffeehaus: Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafés of Vienna, Budapest and Prague by Rick Rodgers.

I must confess that I almost skipped the challenge this month. Partly because I've been a bit short of time but also because I was bit nervous about this one! I've never made any sort of pastry other than than a basic shortcrust and usually buy filo or puff pastry ready made. However, as this month we are blessed with two bank holidays I managed to find myself a window and told myself that the whole point of the Daring Bakers was that it was supposed to be challenging!

The first part was very straightforward. I needed to add a little more water to the dough than the recipe suggested but it came together very nicely and, after a few minutes kneading, I ended up with a very soft, pliable dough. I left it for a few hours to settle as suggested before coming back to roll it out.

This part proved to be my downfall! The instructions advised me that a few holes in the pastry wouldn't be a problem, however the large holes that appeared in mine certainly were. When I came to roll it up some of my apples fell out of the big gaps on one side and I had to hastily take some of the filling out and do a bit of a patch up job. I eventually managed to make sure all of the gaps were covered and manoeuvre it on to a baking tray.

It seems I wasn't entirely successful however, as a little of the filling leaked out where I had tried to cover up the holes. But still, the finished result didn't look bad on the whole, although looking at some of the other Daring Bakers' pictures I clearly could have done a lot better! I mostly used my hands to stretch the dough but I think I might have had more success if I'd stuck to the rolling pin.

Taste-wise I have to say I didn't love it. It tasted quite nice but that almost entirely thanks to the apple filling. The pastry was a bit chewy rather than light and crisp as I would have expected. In hindsight I'm now sure that I didn't roll the pastry out thin enough and therefore didn't have enough layers.

When recipes don't turn out too well I'm usually too disheartened to try again but I'm determined to give this one another go when I get the chance, just to prove that I can do it.

The recipe and instructions can be found here.


  1. No worries..I had huge holes too. I say it gives the strudel mroe character. Looks good! Enjoy making it again.

  2. I think it looks pretty damn good! Love the gorgeous opening photo!

    Next time round, try brushing some melted butter over the dough before rolling and stretching it. It really helps prevent holes and also gives you a little longer to work the dough before it dries out!