As I mentioned in an earlier post, I fell in love with Viennese pastry when I lived in Austria. Since it is not easy to come by where I live, I thought I would attempt to learn how to make it myself by baking my way through The Classic Art of Viennese Pastry by Christine Berl. So what better recipe to start out with than classics apple strudel! This version came out much better than the previous attempt and I hope I will only get better with practice.
Apple Strudel Recipe
- The original recipe makes two massive strudels so I divided it by four in order to make a strudel that would fit in my oven. I have posted the smaller recipe here.
- After step 1 of making the dough, the mixture was more of a soup then a dough for me. The next step was to knead the dough while adding only enough flour to make a sticky dough so I added extra flour to the mixture in the bowl until a sticky dough formed which I could then knead.
- I used ground almonds instead of bread crumbs and it was delicious.
For the dough:
- 71 g all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading
- 80 mL warm water
- 6 g butter, melted
For the filling:
- 4 granny smith apples, sliced
- 100 g sugar
- 112 g raisins
- ½ tsp. grated lemon zest
- 2 tsp. cinnamon
- ¼ tsp. ground cloves, nutmeg and all-spice (optional)
- 1 Tbsp. rum
- 30 g butter plus more for brushing
- 70 g bread crumbs or ground almonds/walnuts
- To make the dough, place the flour in a ring in a medium bowl and pour the butter and water into the center and mix well.
- Add just enough flour to form a sticky dough and then turn out onto a lightly floured work surface.
- Alternate kneading and throwing the dough for about 15 min, until smooth and elastic.
- Place the dough onto a tray lined with parchment and cover with a bowl. Let sit for 1 hour 15 min.
- Meanwhile, prepare the filling components.
- Slice the apples and place into a preheated saucepan. Pour in just enough water to cover the apples and let sauté for about 10 min, until slightly softened. Remove from heat and strain.
- In a large bowl, combine the sugar, raisins, spices, rum, and lemon zest. Add the apples and mix gently until coated. Set aside.
- In a small saucepan, melt the butter and the breadcrumbs or ground nuts. Stir frequently until lightly toasted. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Preheat the over to 350°F (180°C) and line a large baking sheet with parchment.
- One a large, clean work surface, spread a clean tea towel and then cover with a sheet of parchment. Sprinkle lightly with flour.
- Place the dough on the parchment and lightly flour. Roll out into a rectangle of 1 in (2.5 cm) thickness and brush with butter.
- Using your hands, gently pull and stretch the dough until it is very thin, almost transparent. Be sure it doesn’t stick to the cloth. Trim the edges so they are straight and to remove any remaining thick pieces.
- Mentally, divide the dough into three large stripes. Brush the upper stripe with melted butter. Leaving a 4 in (10 cm) empty rim around the edge, sprinkle the lower two stripes with the breadcrumbs and then with the apple mixture.
- To roll the strudel, use the parchment to gently roll up the strudel from the bottom stripe (with the apples) towards the top. Let the left and right edges of the dough stick out and just roll along side the strudel.
- When finished, roll the strudel onto its top (with the seam facing up) and then use the parchment to lift the strudel over the baking sheet. Roll the strudel gently off of the edge of the parchment onto the baking sheet so the seam ends up facing down.
- Brush the strudel with melted butter and bake for 50-60 minutes, while brushing frequently with melted butter, until golden and pastry is crisp.
- Allow to cool slightly before dusting heavily with icing sugar. Serve with whipped cream or vanilla custard or both!
Recipe adapted from: The Classic Art of Viennese Pastry by Christine Berl
Sweet apricots perfectly complement the wholesome nutty flavour of oats.
Apricot Oatmeal Bars Recipe
- 170 g unsalted butter, cut up
- 130 g dried apricots
- 120 g old-fashioned rolled oats
- 125 g all-purpose flour
- 200 g firmly packed dark brown sugar
- ¼ tsp. salt
- ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1 ½ tsp. vanilla extract
- ¾ tsp. almond extract
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (175˚C). Line the bottom of a 9 in (23 cm) pan with foil.
- Place the butter in a small saucepan and set over medium-high heat. Stir until the butter is melted, about 2 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- In a bowl, combine the rolled oats, flour, brown sugar, salt and cinnamon. Stir until well blended and no lumps of sugar remain. Using scissors, snip the apricots into ½ in (2 cm) pieces and add to mixture.
- Add melted butter and vanilla to the bowl and stir until well blended. The dough will be moist and crumbly. Pour the dough into the prepared baking pan and press the dough into the pan with your fingers.
- Bake until the top is golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove and let cool completely.
- Lift the foil and the oatmeal bars from the pan and place on a work surface. Peel away the foil from the sides and bottom.
- Using a small, sharp knife, cut into small squares. Enjoy!
Recipe adapted from: http://www.williams-sonoma.com/recipe/apricot-oatmeal-bars.html
Feel free to try other berries or fruits for making the jam.
Tea Biscuits with Fresh Strawberry Jam Recipe
Notes: If you don’t have a biscuit cutter, just use a drinking glass to cut out the biscuit shapes.
For the strawberry jam:
- 500 g fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered
- 100 g sugar
- 2 tsp. lemon juice
For the biscuits:
- 250 g all-purpose flour
- 4 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. salt
- 115 g cold unsalted butter
- 190 mL milk
- Place the strawberries and sugar into a saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium high heat.
- Lower to medium heat and stir frequently until thick, about 1 hour.
- Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice. Allow to cool to room temperature.
- Meanwhile, make the biscuits. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
- Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Cut in the butter until the mixture has a fine crumb texture.
- Stir in the milk with a fork to make a soft dough.
- Knead the dough 8 to 10 times, and then roll out to a thickness of ~½ in (1 cm).
- Cut into rounds with a cookie or biscuit cutter. Place on the cookie sheet, and allow to rest for a few minutes.
- Bake for 12 to 15 minutes. Enjoy!
Biscuit recipe adapted from all recipes: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/tea-biscuits/detail.aspx
If you ever have something special to celebrate, this is the cake to make! It is absolutely stunning and is a perfect balance of tart cherries, bitter chocolate, sweet meringue and smooth whipped cream!
Chocolate, Cherries and Cream Meringue Layer Cake Recipe
- I used the bottom of my spring form pan as a baking sheet for the meringue layers.
- For the nuts, you can use almonds or hazelnuts alone or you can mix them. I chose to split the meringue in half and make three layers with almonds and three with hazelnuts.
- The cream must be kept very cold in order for it to whip. If it is too warm, it will thicken but will not form peaks and will eventually split.
For the meringue layers:
- Vegetable oil for greasing
- 50 g all-purpose flour plus additional for dusting
- 200 g granulated sugar
- 10 large egg whites, at room temperature for 30 minutes
- 200 g ground toasted almonds and/or hazelnuts
For the chocolate layers:
- 300 g bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 60 mL water
- 1 teaspoon instant-coffee granules (optional)
For the cherry layers:
- 450 g jar of low sugar cherry jam
- 60 mL water
For the kirsch cream:
- 750 mL cold heavy cream
- 50 g powdered sugar
- 2 Tbsp. kirsch or Cognac
- Preheat the oven to 425°F (220ºC). Cut out six 8 in (20 cm) disks of parchment paper and dust lightly with flour. Place onto baking sheets.
- Whisk the flour and sugar together in a small bowl.
- In a large bowl, beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt using an electric mixer at medium-high speed until they just hold stiff peaks.
- Fold in the sugar mixture gently but thoroughly and then fold in nuts.
- Gently spread 1/6 of the mixture onto a parchment disk, coming right to the edge but not going over. Set remaining meringue in the fridge.
- Bake the meringues, one at a time, until golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes (the meringue will be soft and sticky).
- Slide the meringue and parchment off of the baking sheet and set on a wire rack to cool. Repeat until all six meringues are made.
- Gently turn the meringues over onto fresh lightly floured parchment paper and very gently remove the old parchment paper.
- While the meringues cool, heat the jam and water in a small saucepan on medium heat while stirring until liquid. Set in the fridge to cool.
- Heat the chocolate, water, and coffee in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring until smooth. Cool to lukewarm and then spread the chocolate evenly over tops of the meringues. Cool at room temperature until chocolate is hard, about an hour.
- Once the chocolate is hard, stir the cooled cherry mixture until smooth and gently spread over five of the chocolate meringues (leave one with just chocolate). Let sit for a few minutes.
- Meanwhile, beat the cream with the sugar and kirsch in a cold bowl with clean beaters until it holds stiff peaks.
- Place a chocolate cherry meringue on the serving plate. Slide four thick strips of parchment paper just under the edges of the meringue so that they make a protective border for the serving plate and can easily side out after the cream has been spread on the outside of the cake.
- Spread ~80 mL of the cream, roughly a ½ in (1 cm) layer on top of the cherries. Be very careful not to disturb the cherry layer or it will mix with the cream and turn it pink. Gently place another chocolate cherry meringue layer on top and repeat the process until complete. The top layer should be the chocolate meringue.
- Frost the top and the sides of the cake very carefully with the remaining cream. Let sit uncovered in the fridge for several hours to set before serving.
Recipe adapted from Epicurious: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Meringue-Chocolate-and-Kirsch-Cream-Layer-Cake-108902