This month’s Daring Bakers’ challenge was like a dream come true. I’d been thinking about and planning to learn how to stretch real strudel dough for years. But it always seemed quite time consuming and a bit intimidating. With phyllo dough readily available as a substitute, I’d never attempted the real thing. If I had only known how easy it was! The dough recipe by Rick Rodgers from his wonderful “Kaffeehaus – Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafés of Vienna, Budapest and Prague” was a little miracle, an absolute pleasure to work with. I managed to stretch the dough effortlessly to the required size, without making a single hole. The whole process of rolling and pulling of the dough took me about five minutes the most. Thank you, Courtney of Coco Cooks and Linda of make life sweeter! – this month’s hosts, for choosing the wonderful recipe for the challenge. It is such a useful skill to acquire. And yes, it was worthy of clipping freshly manicured nails.
As for the strudel filling, I roasted a large pineapple in a mixture of rum, pureed caramelized bananas, ginger and chile flakes (Sherry Yard’s fabulous idea) first. Then I thinly sliced the pineapple and piled it over some toasted coconut spread over the pulled dough. I topped the pineapple with goat cheese pastry cream. The goat cheese I used was fresh, unripened and very delicately flavored, not strong or offensive at all. And for serving, I quickly whipped a fresh mango sauce. The dessert tasted pretty spectacular.
I made a savory strudel as well. There’s, unfortunately, no picture to show since it was baked for a late dinner and there was no daylight for a decent photo to take. The filling was nothing extraordinary, I just utilized every bit of leftovers sitting in my fridge (mostly spinach and baby potatoes, some feta and olives, sautéed onion and garlic, fresh herbs). I didn’t brush the stretched dough with melted butter this time. Instead, I sprayed it with extra-virgin olive oil. I also didn’t sauté fresh bread crumbs in butter as I did for the sweet strudel earlier. I substituted them for Italian seasoned dry bread crumbs. It cut calories down and substantially reduced cholesterol intake. The strudel was as flaky and crispy as the first one.
Makes 1 large strudel, about 12 servings
For the filling:
- 1 stick (1/2 cup;114g) unsalted butter, divided
- 1 cup fresh bread crumbs
- ¾ cup toasted unsweetened coconut, divided
For the pineapple filling (adapted from Sherry Yard):
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup packed light brown sugar
- 2 large bananas, peeled and cut into ½-inch pieces
- 2 tbsp dark rum
- ½ tbsp fresh lemon juice
- Tiny pinch of salt
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup dark rum
- 1 cup sugar
- 6 ¼-inch-thick slices peeled fresh ginger
- Pinch of Thai chile flakes or hot red pepper flakes
- 1 large pineapple, peeled, quartered, and cored
- 4 dry vanilla bean halves (saved from previous use) or 1 vanilla bean, split and quartered
For the goat cheese pastry cream:
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 large egg
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 ½ tbsp cornstarch, sifted
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1 oz creamy fresh unripened goat cheese
- 2 tbsp whole milk yogurt
- 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into about ½-tbsp pieces
For the mango sauce:
- 1 large ripe mango, peeled, flesh cut into large chunks
- 2 tbsp confectioners’ sugar
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
For the dough (adapted from Rick Rodgers):
- 1 1/3 cups (200 g) unbleached flour
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 7 tablespoons (105 ml) water, plus more if needed
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) vegetable oil, plus additional for coating the dough
- 1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar
- About 2 tbsp Demerara sugar for sprinkling over the rolled strudel
Make the filling:
Heat 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet over medium-high. Add the breadcrumbs and cook while stirring until golden and toasted. This will take about 3 minutes. Let it cool completely. Set aside until needed.
Make the pineapple filling:
Center an oven rack and preheat the oven to 375F.
In a large sauté pan, melt the butter over medium heat until the solids separate, sink to the bottom, and begin to brown, 3 to 5 minutes. When the butter is a dark golden color, add the sugar and brown sugar and stir until dissolved, 5 to 8 minutes.
Add the bananas and sauté, stirring constantly, for about 2 minutes, or until the bananas are softened and caramelized. Remove from the heat and carefully add the rum, lemon juice, and salt. Place the pan back over low heat and cook for 1 minute more.
Remove from the heat and puree in a food processor.
In a medium bowl or a large liquid measuring cup, whisk together the banana puree, water, rum, sugar, ginger, and chile flakes. Set aside for a moment.
Place the pineapple quarters into a large baking pan (a glass 9×13-inch Pyrex pan works). Poke or push the vanilla bean pieces into the flesh of the pineapple. The dry ones will be stiff enough to go in on their own, but for a fresh bean, you may need to poke the holes with a paring knife. Pour the banana-rum mixture over the pineapple.
Bake for 45 minutes, basting every 15 minutes, until the juices are bubbly and the outside of the pineapple is lightly caramelized. Remove from the oven and cool to room temperature. Now you can proceed with the recipe or store the pineapple in the liquid, tightly covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
About an hour before filling the strudel, remove the pineapple from the marinade. Pat-dry the pineapple with paper towels, cut each quarter in half lengthwise, and then slice thinly. Place into a colander set over a bowl and let drain.
Make the goat cheese pastry cream:
Prepare an ice bath.
In a medium saucepan, heat the milk to a boiling point, stirring often. In a medium bowl, combine the egg, sugar, cornstarch, and salt together; whisk until combined. Temper the egg mixture by whisking a little bit of the hot milk into the egg mixture. Continue whisking and slowly pour the rest of the milk into the tempered egg mixture. Pour the egg-milk mixture back into the saucepan and place the pan over the medium heat. Cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture returns to the boil. Keep whisking energetically for 1 to 2 more minutes (still over medium heat) until the custard is thick as lightly whipped cream. Remove the pan from the heat and immediately whisk in the goat cheese, followed by the yogurt, lemon juice, and vanilla extract. Transfer to a clean bowl. Check the temperature of the pastry cream (now it should be about 140F – a perfect time for incorporating the butter). Whisk the butter into the pastry cream, one piece at a time, always whisking until smooth before adding the next portion. Place the bowl with the pastry cream into the ice-water bath to continue cooling. Stir the cream occasionally to prevent a skin forming, until it has completely cooled. Pres plastic wrap directly over the pastry cream surface and refrigerate until needed (up to 2-3 days).
Make the mango sauce:
Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor. Process until smooth. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer to remove tough fiber. Refrigerate until serving time (up to a couple of days).
Make the dough, fill and bake the strudel:
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 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 an oiled 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).
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 a 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 pizza wheel or scissors. The dough is now ready to be filled.
Put the rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, or in a glass bowl in a microwave, melt the remaining butter. Skim the foam.
Very gently brush about 4 tablespoons of the melted butter over the dough using your hands (a bristle brush could tear the dough; you could also use a special feather pastry brush instead of your hands). Sprinkle the buttered dough evenly with the bread crumbs. Spread ½ cup of toasted coconut about 3 inches (8 cm) from the short edge of the dough in a 6-inch-(15cm)-wide strip, leaving a 2-inch uncovered border on each long side. Spread the sliced and drained pineapple over the coconut. Top the pineapple with the goat cheese pastry cream. Sprinkle the remaining ¼ cup of coconut over the pastry cream.
Fold the two 2-inch edges of the dough in toward the center over the filling, and then fold the bottom edge of the dough up over the filling. Now 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. Brush the top with the remaining melted butter leaving any milk solids in the bottom of the saucepan. Sprinkle the Demerara sugar over the top.
Bake the strudel for about 35-40 minutes or until it is deep golden brown. Cool on the baking sheet on a cooling rack 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. But the leftovers can be recrisped and rewarmed in 350F oven for about 10-12 minutes before serving.
- The ingredients are cheap so it’s recommend to make a double batch of the dough for the first time, 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 polyester;
- Before pulling and stretching the dough, remove your jewelry from hands and wrists, get rid of long nails, 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 the holes (most of them) invisible.
April 2, 2010 at 3:03 am
I really love goat cheese desserts, their are awesome. If I have guests, I just make goat cheese deserts and they love it. Are there any other good uses for goat cheese?
June 5, 2009 at 1:46 pm
gosh this is right up my flavor alley. I love your photos, all so beautiful and crisp.
June 4, 2009 at 8:49 pm
Thank you, guys, very much for your kind comments!
May 30, 2009 at 11:49 pm
Pineapple, goat cheese pastry cream and toasted coconut sound like a great combo!! Very summery indeed!!
May 30, 2009 at 10:19 am
Amazing and you flavors are spectacular
May 30, 2009 at 8:04 am
This sounds DELICIOUS! What a beautiful job! I still have to get my post up, but this is inspiring!
May 29, 2009 at 10:08 am
Yum!! Your strudel looks amazing =D. I love the flavours you chose, and your photos are gorgeous!!
May 28, 2009 at 9:08 pm
WOW! Your strudel looks incredible. And that filling, oh, that amazing filling. I am so darn impressed, and it seems like you had an easy time working with the strudel dough. What a fabulous baking adventure!
May 28, 2009 at 7:54 pm
Thank you all very much! I greatly appreciate your comments!
May 28, 2009 at 4:36 pm
Your strudel is BEAUTIFUL!! I love the filling you made–I will have to try it soon. Great job!!
May 28, 2009 at 2:59 pm
That looks absolutely lovely! Stunning photos too!
May 28, 2009 at 9:00 am
That’s an amazing looking strudel! I love the tropical flavours with the cheese!!!
May 28, 2009 at 7:58 am
Pure strudel perfection…and stunning photos!!!
May 28, 2009 at 6:25 am
So beautiful! And your filling sounds amazing.
May 27, 2009 at 11:01 pm
It’s all about technique you are so right to get the pastry transparent! Great that you gained a new skill from the DBers. Wonderful colour you got – love the pixs. That lovely yellow colour!!! Goat’s cheese……Cheers from Audax in Australia.
Yes the spirit of the Daring Bakers is it is not a competition BUT what is respected is trying to do the challenge using your best efforts.
May 27, 2009 at 7:34 pm
Thank you, everyone, for your kind comments!
Dominique, it’s not difficult to do. The whole process can be stretched over several days (the filling can be made well in advance).
May 27, 2009 at 7:08 pm
Wow…I never would have thought to pair pineapple with goat cheese. Love that picture of the unrolled strudel filled. So delicious! Great job.
May 27, 2009 at 5:37 pm
Genius, pure genius Vera. Sensational flavours & a fantastic dough to work with. Your choice of fillings are making my mouth water!
May 27, 2009 at 5:25 pm
I love your filling! Great job on this month’s challenge!
May 27, 2009 at 5:20 pm
I love your filling choice, great unique combination of flavors. Beautiful flakey pastry too!
May 27, 2009 at 4:46 pm
Wait – pineapple, coconut, chile, and goat cheese? Hmm… I’m going to have to take a moment to wrap my head around that flavor combo… It looks pretty awesome though!
May 27, 2009 at 4:38 pm
OMG I wish mine was even half as nice as yours. The filling is to die for!!! Congrats
May 27, 2009 at 2:27 pm
Such an interesting combination of flavours, and beautiful strudel! Wish I could taste it :)
May 27, 2009 at 1:56 pm
Wow. Amazing creativity!
May 27, 2009 at 11:05 am
Beautiful Vera! I can’t even imagine the flavor. What I wouldn’t give for a bite! Esp. right now as I eat my lunch! :)
May 27, 2009 at 10:17 am
I am so glad I took the time to read through your ingredients and directions.. this is a fabulous combination of flavors. I love the banana rum puree over the pineapple.. and the chili flakes. Wow.. this is a beautiful strudel Vera! I would love to be there as someone makes this.. maybe even lending a hand, but I think with my kids around it would have been impossible for me to pull this off! :)
May 27, 2009 at 8:25 am
This looks beautiful. Your folded strudel picture is just perfect.
May 27, 2009 at 8:24 am
Great job! Love the filling!
May 27, 2009 at 8:19 am
Pineapple, goat cheese & coconut!? WOW!! What an incredible flavor combination! Well done on the challenge :)
May 27, 2009 at 7:59 am
Beautiful strudel Vera. I was like you and thought that studel dough must be way to complicated to make at home and was so surprised that it was so easy and came out so well.
May 27, 2009 at 7:08 am
this is awesome Vera
the dough and the stuffing are absolutely delicious
May 27, 2009 at 6:06 am
Looks delicious: I love your choice of filling! The recipe is very long… not too difficult to do?
May 27, 2009 at 5:34 am
May 27, 2009 at 5:17 am
Wow! Yum yum! it looks so flaky!..yummy! well done.
May 27, 2009 at 4:41 am
I am speechless. This is absolutely amazing. Not only do I love the flavours and presentation, the pictures are “knock em dead” type.
May 27, 2009 at 3:06 am
I must say I really like the sound and look of your filling. Delightfully crisp and flaky too.
May 27, 2009 at 1:48 am
Awesome filling choice. Your strudel seems perfect and oh so flaky :-)
May 27, 2009 at 1:43 am
Ooo..looks so crispy and flaky… beautiful:)
May 27, 2009 at 1:13 am
So from now on we’ll see more strudel dough and less filo ;)
Love what you did with the filling and your strudel looks wonderfully flaky!
May 27, 2009 at 12:23 am
I’ve always thought of strudel as a wintery dessert, but your exotic filling makes it sound so fresh!
May 27, 2009 at 12:14 am
Era un reto dificil de superar si hacias la version dulce…tu originalidad es inmensa me ha encantado es sublime…como la imagen
May 26, 2009 at 11:15 pm
Oh my! This sounds soooo good and yummy that I can even taste it melting in my mouth.
May 26, 2009 at 10:15 pm
lovely flavors – my fave king fruity and cheesy!
May 26, 2009 at 9:11 pm
Mmmmm, this looks amazing! What a great filling idea – – yum!!
May 26, 2009 at 9:07 pm
I love your choice of filling! Very original and delicious! Great job!
May 26, 2009 at 8:30 pm
I made a roasted pineapple strudel also, and my ‘secret’ cheese filling contains a little chevre! However, compared to yours, I want to wrap mine up in a towel and hide it..LOL Gorgeous as usual, Vera :)