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?
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.
German Cherry and Almond Strudel (Kirschstrudel)
Dough (for 2 strudel)
4-1/2 – 5 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1-1/2 tsp vinegar
1-1/2 tbsp oil
1-1/2 cups tepid water
1. Start with 4 cups flour in the mixing bowl. Mix in the salt. In a separate bowl, mix together the vinegar and water.
2. Now, combine the oil and egg with the flour in the bowl. Add the vinegar water, a bit at a time, and use as little of the extra flour as possible (about 1/2 cup) in the kneading to get a dough that flows when you hold it by the top half. Knead the dough until it is smooth and comes clean off of the hand. The trick, I learned, it to throw it onto the counter. Repeatedly. Depending on how hard you knead, this could take 5-20 minutes.
3. Divide the dough into two parts. Store in small, tight-sealing, oiled dishes. Rest the dough overnight at room temperature.
Filling (for 1 strudel)
1/2 lb melted butter
3-4 cups sweet and sour cherries (we were short, otherwise we would have only used sour cherries)
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp almond extract
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup fine bread crumbs
1 tbsp cinnamon, or to taste
1. Melt about 8 ounces of butter in over low heat.
2. For the pulling, you need a large table. Spread and clip a clean cloth (a coloured table cloth works great) over a large rectangular table. Flour the cloth and turn the dough from one dish out onto the center. With a floured rolling pin roll it out long and narrow, as much as possible. Brush the dough evenly with melted butter,. Lift and stretch the dough to about double its size. Brush the dough evenly with melted butter, concentrating on the edges. Lift and stretch the dough (including the middle) until it hangs over all the sides. When finished stretching, remove the thickened edge by rolling it on a hand as it is torn off.
3. For the fruit filling, combine the cherries with the cornstarch and almond extract. On one one end of the long edge (about 6-10 inches from the edge), sprinkle with the bread crumbs, then sugar, cherry mixture, toasted almonds and cinnamon.
4. Fold the dough over at the short sides, by lifting the cloth and quickly flipping the dough over onto itself. Roll up the dough by grabbing the cloth on both ends of the filled side and lifting it so that the strudel rolls gently. Be careful not to roll the strudel over the opposite edge!
5. Lift the roll in an S shape into a buttered pan (can use vegetable shortening since it is less likely to burn). Brush the strudel with melted butter. Pull and fill the second strudel. Bake together in a pre-heated 400F oven for about 10 minutes, then lower temperature to 350F. Bake until light brown for approximately another 25-35 minutes.
6. Let the strudel cool a bit before cutting it into pieces. Best served when still warm from the oven. Can be frozen and reheated.
One strudel serves 8-10.