the taste space

German Cherry and Almond Strudel (Kirschstrudel)

Posted in Desserts by Janet M on December 28, 2010

My right forearm hurts.

I have two possible explanations:

1) I used my right forearm a bit too excitedly at the gym.. ?from jumping jacks?

OR

2) From kneading strudel dough

I vote for the latter possibility since it is one-sided. But I didn’t think my kneading was THAT vigorous!

I mean, I was a bit more vigorous in my kneading this year. Last year, it took me 20 minutes. Apparently, I needed more oomph.

This year, my grandmother told me that the best strudel kneaders literally throw their dough onto the counter.

And I happily followed suit.

I don’t think I had to knead more than 5 minutes. It was perfect. The dough also pulled like butter.

I must be improving. Keeping the strudel tradition alive within my family.

It seems to have become an annual tradition, this strudel-making, or strudeling as we’ve dubbed it this year. Last year, we got in trouble for pulling the strudel dough Christmas morning, as my mom was trying to prepare for lunch and dinner. So, we did the next best thing: knead the dough on Christmas morning, but pull it and bake it on Boxing Day. But the commotion certainly follows wherever strudel-making takes place. It is always center stage.

We made a traditional apple strudel and for the second strudel, we pulled together this delicious cherry and almond strudel.  A mix of both sweet and sour cherries, accentuated with both toasted almonds and almond extract, with a hint of cinnamon, this was strudel experiment success. It is kind of hard to make anything unappealing when it is wrapped with freshly baked homemade strudel dough, but even my grandfather (the strudel supervisor) gave it the strudel stamp of approval.

For step-by-step instructions on preparing the strudel and the recipe for apple strudel, see my previous post here.

This is my submission to this month’s My Kitchen, My World, featuring dishes from Germany and mad props to Rob for the fabulous photo of the strudel filling.

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Apple Strudel (How to Make Authentic German Apfelstrudel)

Posted in Desserts, Favourites by Janet M on October 14, 2010


This past weekend was the Canadian Thanksgiving and I was happy to be able to go home and spend some time with my family. While I wasn’t involved in much of the food preparation this year, I helped to provide recipes for the weekend – namely pomegranate-glazed salmon, Ina Garten’s Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with a Warm Cider Vinaigrette and baklava (ok, I was allowed into the kitchen to make this!). Everything we ate was delicious. I was lucky to grow up with a family that can cook and bake so well.

My quest to search out those treasured family recipes was one reason I became more interested in cooking. My paternal grandmother passed away before I became interested in learning how to make perogies, paska and borscht. Sometimes recipes just aren’t as good as learning from your Baba.

One of the first recipes I didn’t want to die into oblivion was strudel. Authentic, German strudel. How my Oma makes it. Nothing else compares. Just as I had comments that my baklava isn’t truly authentic without hamur (homemade dough), I know that strudel without pulled strudel dough pales in comparison to the real thing. For the longest time, I couldn’t even fathom making it in my apartment because I didn’t have a kitchen table. Because that is how big the strudel dough must be pulled.

I hope to share with you how to make the best apfelstrudel. It looks daunting and kneading the dough takes some knack. I find that the most challenging. The first time, I kneaded it for over 30 minutes until I was able to get the desired consistency. I had to knead until it felt “like this”, my grandmother and uncle explained. The stretching takes time and patience. No worries about small holes, since it all gets rolled up and no one will be the wiser. I need to keep my strudel making skills up to snuff, with constant refreshers, and my dad promised me we’d make it together over Christmas. :)

Here are a few photos from my first time learning how to make strudel:

You start with a flat circle of dough, first rolling it out with a rolling pin

Once it is thinner, you paint it with some butter

Then you start to gently pull it at the edges

Then you pull from the centre of the dough, after tucking your hands underneath.
It helps to remove rings and watches!

Keep pulling until it falls off your table

A dark table cloth helps you to see how thin your dough is.
Clothespins keep everything in place.

Then you tear off the slightly thicker edge

Adding more butter to the dough (holes are ok, even Oma makes them!)

Adding your filling: breadcrumbs, sugar, cinnamon, apples and raisins

Yum!

Then you flip it over on the longer side.

Flip over both shorter sides as well

Now the fun begins, lifting the tablecloth to roll the strudel down

Don’t let it fall off the table!

Transfer to a baking sheet, cover with more butter and bake

Baked, in all its glory

This is what we’ve all been waiting for. Delicious! :)

This is my submission to this month’s Regional Recipes, featuring German cuisine, and to Veggie/Fruit a Month, featuring apples.

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