This week I may have baked myself into oblivion. Following my muffin experiment I wanted to explore a country that I am still yet to visit, Austria. (which I am assured is not in Germany and Prussia no longer exists). We went to our friends’ beautiful wedding last weekend where I was kindly given a boatload of homegrown apples. Congratulations and thank you James and Lara they are very tasty! This is my second bake using said apples.
I wanted to find an authentic recipe for something a bit more challenging, stepping up the baking ante. I chose a rather traditional Viennese Apple Strudel Recipe. This involved an enormous amount of apples and butter and yet another pastry effort.
Peeling and chopping a mountain of apples and simultaneously sauteing my previous homemade baguettes in butter I got stuck in.
The pastry was epic! My poor little electric whisk started to smell like the blown out birthday candles and I fear it will never be the same again. There’s pastry still trapped inside, even after a took a knife to it, to coax it out!
The recipe called for a 4 foot length of cloth to stretch the 4 feet of pastry out on. I’m not even sure my workbench is 4 foot long?! With limited resources yet again I found a subsitiute for cotton, in cling film. (I don’t think this is the traditional method in Austria,) Selotaping vast amounts of cling film to the bench seemed to be my best bet. I felt like the Cling Film Queen. Christening my new fabuolous rolling pin, I set to work flattening it all out and stretching the pastry to within an inch of it’s life.
Then to add the filling and breadcrumbs quickly before the pastry fell apart. It was very delicate. I had to coat the inside in even more butter, in addition to the extra chunks of butter the recipe requested to accompany the apples and raisins! I hope my guests like butter…
I thought the next bit would be really difficult, folding the pastry over to roll it all up. I was very proud of myself when I got to this point. Who needs 4 feet of cloth to wrap up a strudel?! I thought whimsically. It wasn’t easy, I hasten to add, as the cling film kept tearing but what was still yet to come almost had me in tears…
Entering in to my second hour of preparation I was getting to that almost frazzled point and needed some stroke of genius to enlighten me as to how I was going to a) get this 4 foot pastry monster out of the cling film and b) on to my quite small baking tray.
I made sure this time I greased the paper very well! But every little attempt to move the strudel made the corners of the apple chunks inside poke through the pastry. Patting down the increasingly thin pastry I went for the Band Aid Method, throw it into the tray and rip off the cling film. I was up to my elbows in butter by this point. Hallelujah! It was on the tray in a Horseshoe shape. Phew!
Now you may notice the obvious mistake here. Despite having the recipe printed out in front of me (without any photos) I still managed to misread it! This is getting beyond a joke. Is my eyesight or my brain failing me? I may have to start wearing my glasses whilst baking. The recipe prescribed half of the bread crumbs to be put into the mix which I successfully did. Then in all the excitement of rolling it up, I thought it said to sprinkle the rest on the strudel. I realised, to my horror, after I sprinkled them all over the final product I had missed a step. The recipe said to put them inside the strudel just before rolling. Damn!! I had a good giggle at my stupidity though. It wasn’t life or death, but I was worried the breadcrumbs would burn and smell like burnt toast.
Thankfully it was ok in the end! It smelled quite lovely, but as it was now 11pm I wasn’t in the mood for sampling it. Also we had friends coming over the following evening for food so I wanted to save it for them.
A quick reheat in the oven and lashings of custard and the strudel was a success!
The sweet apples and raisins contrasted nicely with the savoury pastry. It should also feed the 5 thousand as it’s enormous. 4 of us hardly put a dent in it! Please send tupperware, or even bring a plate and you can have a slice!
I may have now reached my pastry capacity now. I may explode. Next bake will have to be something a little different I think…
Loved the strudel!! Tasted fantastic cold!
Thanks for helping me get through the Strudel! Couldn’t have done it without your (and the rest of the offices’) help 🙂 plenty more still to come x x.
Brilliant Lauren! looks like a mammoth effort – im yet to tackle anything on this scale – looks very tasty wish I was close enough to try some 😀
Hello Julie! I’m loving your blog. so impressed with your bread it looks amazing! And your cupcakes too! Delicious!! Wish we could sample each others baking!! Maybe I could send something non perishable at Christmas? 🙂 Lots of love x x x
ooo something none perishable – im up for the challenge – maybe some xmas choccies or biscuits? i was going to ask – had you thought about what you will bake for australia? want me to send you some cherry ripes??? 😀 your chocolate roulade looks incredible!! love reading this! x x x x x 😀
Hello!! Ooh yes Christmas biscuits or chocolates would be amazing!! I was thinking marzipan chocolates, coconut ice and amaretti, gingerbread and possibly mini Christmas cakes. So much I want to bake! Would any of those appeal? I’m very excited at the idea of putting together a Christmas bake box for you!
Its almost Chris’s birthday and I’ve promised Lamingtons and I want to bake Anzac biscuits too. Cherry ripes would be amazing!!! Is there anything English I can send you? Any other Aussie recipes you can suggest? Meat pie? I thought Chocolate Roulade might be a good recipe for you to try too as it has no flour in it 🙂 what’s your next lesson on? I tried to leave a comment on your blog but think I might need a profile to leave one. Will try again on my laptop. 🙂
Lots and lots of love
Lauren x x x
You’re a braver woman than I am — I’ve never tried strudel, or its cousin potica, although I’m always saying I’m going to. I think it’s traditional to make it on a table with a tablecloth or a clean sheet.
Thank you. I don’t think I really appreciated what I’d taken on until it came to rolling it all up! I think you could probably make 2 smallers ones which might make it a bit easier to manouvere!
Dear Lauren! Thanks for mentioning me in your blog and sharing your experience in baking the Viennesse apple strudle! It took me a while to find out about it. It looks superior to anything I ever came up with. If you do every come to Austria, you are invited to a “Linzer Torte” and a good cup of coffee in my hometown Linz!
Hello! Wow thank you so much for your comment. I’m pleased you liked my strudel efforts! It was a tough challenge! I am still yet to visit Austria but I will definitely give you a shout if I ever make it there. I love the sound of good coffee and Linzer Torte too! Likewise if you’re ever in England give me a shout and I will take you for a good cup of tea and a slice of Victoria Sponge 🙂 Thanks so much for sharing your recipe and I hope your travels are going well!
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