Struggles and strudel

I have been struggling all morning with a new version of software and I feel so frustrated about it: all my work seems useless and at the end I am exactly at the point where I begun.

During these unhappy professional times, thinking about desserts is possibly a good remedy to shift from reality (beware nasty software, I’ll be back after lunch break!).

You may remember that I rant now and then about the too many cookbooks I buy – and not always use, ahem – and all my good proposals vanish when I see a new release or an ancient oldie but beautiful ragged thing I must acquire.

I thought moving all the books together would help curbing my habit, but it turned out it only ended up shocking my significant other about the magnitude of my culinary library. He has dared me to cook at least one recipe from each book before purchasing another one.

As I am a person of instinct, I immediately accepted. Only afterwards I have made a rough count and it seems I will not be able to purchase any books for months: that is if I am dutifully recipe testing on a daily basis, which I doubt.

At any rate, let us dwell on the lovely strudel. Both my grandmothers used to bake it, as my mother recalls. My maternal granny used to make a simple version with soft dough which baked to some cake-like base; whilst my paternal granny rolled out paper thin dough more similar to my stereotype Austrian strudel.

In my quest to use my cookbooks, I tried the version proposed by this cute little booka lovely gift from my sister in law.

The recipe is to be found here slightly adjusted in Italian.

This cake is dedicated to the beloved memory of my nonna Anna, but don’t worry nonna Antonietta, soon enough I will test a recipe that reflects your style too.

Cake like dough (Mürberteig)

Cream 120g butter, softened, with 100g icing sugar and zest from one lemon only to the point you get an homogenous glistening mass.
Add 1 Tbsp milk (I will try to use lemon juice next time…), one egg, 300g all purpose flour sifted with 8 g baking powder and a pinch of salt.
As soon as you have a sticky dough, make a ball, wrap it in cling film and let it rest in the fridge for one hour.

Stir 600 g apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced, with 50 g caster sugar, 2 Tbsp ron (I actually used the lemon juice from the naked lemon above, but it turned out quite pungent, my little one did not appreciate it), 50 g bread crumbs toasted in 10 g butter, 40 g raisins, 20 g pine nuts, ½ tsp cinnamon (not enough, if you ask me), and lemon zest (omitted because I used the lemon juice).

Assembly line
Roll the dough to 25cm per 40 cm rectangle.
Pour the filling in the middle, fold over the other sides, and if you dare, reverse it so it can bake on the good side. I went for the sloppy not well overlapping version.
Bake @ 180°C for about one hour until golden.

You may wish to dust some more icing sugar on top, as my significant other has done.


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