Dairy-Free Apple and Pear Strudel
Strudel desserts are perfect during cool fall evenings because they really highlight the fruit inside. I like to think of a strudel as a rolled up pie – much the same as a calzone is basically a rolled up pizza. The classic recipe, of course, is apple strudel which is very difficult to beat in terms of overwhelming satisfaction. But I like to tinker a bit, so I added some pears or green figs to the recipe…you know, just to be a bit different. Sometimes I even feel a bit more bold and replace the traditional roasted hazelnuts with walnuts.
However I decide to make the filling, I always make sure to make the dough in the same manner which is more in the Austrian style.
Austrian-style strudels are typically a bit smaller in diameter than their German or Hungarian counterparts…and the dough is much crispier – somewhat reminiscent to phyllo dough. German-style strudels are typically made from a dough similar to puff pastry, while Austrian strudels are made with essentially a pasta dough which has vinegar added to it. The addition of vinegar to the dough is very important…if not a bit odd sounding at first. Vinegar will help the formation of a very elastic gluten network, which helps greatly when stretching out this dough to a paper thin consistency. I always use a mild flavored white wine vinegar in my strudel dough.
Most traditional recipes include copious amounts of butter – both inside the filling and as part of the dough. I personally think the butter covers up the wonderful fruit and spice flavors, so I replace it with oil…plus, I don’t eat any dairy products.
Dairy-Free Apple and Pear Strudel
makes enough for about 10 servings
1 recipe strudel dough (see below)
65 gr. bread croutons
450 gr. tart apples, cored and sliced
50 gr. sugar
85 gr. raisins
85 gr. roasted hazelnuts, crushed
1 tsp. cinnamon
juice of 1/2 lemon
ground hazelnuts or breadcrumbs
Begin by mixing together the croutons, sugar, raisins, crushed hazelnuts and cinnamon. Add the sliced apples and lemon juice to sugar and spice mixture and combine until all of the apple slices are well coated.
Begin making the strudel by separating the dough into two pieces and then placing one dough on a lightly floured clean towel. Begin working the dough ball into a flat disc by gently pulling the dough from the center outwards. Once the disc is roughly 10 cm, begin to roll it out with a rolling pin or continuing to gently pull out each corner. Always work from the center out to each corner. Roll until very thin. You should be able to read a newspaper through the prepared dough. You are now ready for the filling.
Coat the dough with olive oil, then add ground nuts or bread crumbs leaving a 4-cm border around the entire strudel. Evenly spread the filling along the bottom quarter of the dough. Fold about 5-cm from each side in towards the center. Begin to roll into a log shape by lifting the towel and rolling the dough. Coat the log well with olive oil and bake for approximately 30 minutes in a preheated 200° C oven. If the strudel appears dry after 15 minutes, coat again with some more oil. Bake until golden…this will take about 25-30 minutes. Cool slightly before serving.
How to Make Strudel Dough
Makes enough for two strudels
150 gr. strong bread flour
20 gr. gluten
½ tsp. salt
10 gr. olive oil
10 gr. white wine vinegar
60 gr. warm water
Mix the flours, gluten and salt together and sift. Add the oil and vinegar. Slowly work in enough warm water to form a soft dough. Knead until smooth and elastic, and not at all sticky (about 10 minutes). Form the dough into two balls and lightly coat each with oil. Place in a bowl, cover with plastic and allow to rest for a minimum of 30 minutes.
A Few More Tips…
To make croutons: Preheat the oven to 180° C. Remove the crust from any white bread, and slice into 1/2-cm cubes. Place the bread in a large bowl, then toss well with about 1 Tbl. of olive oil. Place the croutons onto a baking pan lined with parchment paper and bake until golden – about 18 minutes.
To roast hazelnuts: Place the nuts on a baking tray and then into a preheated 150° C oven. Roast for 25 minutes. Remove the nuts from the oven, cool slightly then remove most of the skins by rubbing them together.