True Confessions time: before this Daring Bakers challenge, I didn’t know what strudel was.
[pause for everyone to stop laughing]
I’m serious. All I knew was that it was a German (Austrian? Austro-German?) dessert, and that it was mentioned in “My Favorite Things” from The Sound of Music, along with “shnitzel with noodles.” Come to think of it, I don’t know exactly what shnitzel is either, but I think it might involve fried meat.
So I obviously had a big learning curve when it came to this month’s challenge. Step one: learn what strudel is! Step two: make some.
Turns out making strudel is easy. And fun! You get to play with your food, like this:
I really like apple desserts, but I just was. not. feeling. the apple strudel recipe. I don’t know, maybe it was all the breadcrumbs– yes yes I know they’re for absorbing moisture, but it just seems wrong. What’s next, croutons in cake? It’s a slippery slope, people.
So I solicited the hungry hungry hubby for filling ideas, and he suggested a cream cheese filling, like a danish. Denmark, Germany, danish, strudel, potato, po-tah-to, right? I ended up making a chocolate cream cheese filling with toasted hazelnuts and chopped dried cherries. Looks like hell, tastes like heaven, and it all evens out in the end.
The filling had a great flavor from the tangy cream cheese, bittersweet chocolate, nuts, and sour cherries. I wasn’t sure how it would bake, all rolled up burrito-style, but it turned out fine, and of course it was much improved by the standard dollop of whipped cream on top.
The dough flaked and layered really nicely, and overall I’d say my first strudel outing was a success. It wasn’t my favorite thing to eat–too much filling, not enough pastry around it–but the hubs adored it and ate three pieces in a row, so I felt better about my own apathy.
I don’t know if I’ll be making strudel again, but at least I’ll be confident during this year’s Sound of Music sing-a-long (September! Hollywood Bowl! I am so there) that I know exactly what Maria’s favorite things are.