Sunday, February 06, 2011

Birthday Strudel

The weather has been wild for the past three days - a warmish wind continues to roar in from the west bringing squalls of rain and leaden skies. The sap may be stirring in my veins at the thought of spring but I don't feel inclined to go out and garden when the wind's blowing me horizontal and rain's trickling down my neck. That's right, you've guessed correctly. I'm a fair weather gardener.

So what to do instead? Ironing? Nah. Defrost freezer? Nope. Clean grout in shower? I. Really. Can't. Be. Arsed.  The guest rooms are gussied up and a sleeping bag has been found in readiness for our visiting sons and girlfriends; there's a chicken to go into the oven for supper and even the vegetables are prepped. Perhaps I shall make a comforting pudding - something too homely to justify the grander title of 'dessert'. Apple Crumble and custard perhaps, or Apple Pie. Into the corner of my brain reserved for ideas comes the notion of Apple Strudel. It's more complicated certainly than options a and b but like knitting socks on four needles it's the challenge of the thing that makes it so appealing. I have the time, the inclination and all the ingredients. Apple Strudel it is.

Firstly make a nice elastic dough - knead and pummel, pummel and knead. Then bish-bash, slap it down on the counter for 10 or so minutes until little bubbles can be seen. Let the dough rest. Rest yourself.
On a clean tea towel sprinkled with flour, roll the dough out as thinly as possible:
Now for the good bit: gently stretch the dough out with your fingers until it is as thin as tissue paper, taking care not to make too many holes. Tradition says that one should be able to read love letters though it. I did consider going to my old stash of love letters to prove this point but as a, they are from an old boyfriend, long departed, not the Glam Ass (who never wrote any anyway) and b, knowing I'd get totally involved in re-reading and trips down memory lane etc I decided that seeing the tea towel was good enough for me.

Gather the fillings. As well as sliced apple and a handful of breadcrumbs fried gently in butter there are walnuts and sultanas, lemon zest, sugar and cinnamon.

Brush the stretched dough with melted butter and spread the ingredients evenly as below:
Fold over the bottom edge, pick up the tea towel and roll all before you. Be amazed that is really does work!
Persuade it to go on a baking sheet without falling to pieces. Form into an open 'horse-shoe' shape and brush with butter:
Put into the oven at 190 degrees C for about 40 minutes. It smells heavenly while baking; hot and sweet and spicy. When out of the oven dredge with icing sugar. Serve hot or cold.

Our guests arrived, Harry and Sam, Dan and Katy.  How lovely to see them all and hear their news and laughter. It is my birthday weekend too so there were gifts to enjoy; some pretty slippers, truffles, a bottle of pink champagne, homemade biscotti and a big bunch of white lilies:
For all of these and especially for your good company - many thanks.

We had a roast chicken dinner followed by Apple Strudel and cream. Hang got eaten before I could take that final shot. This is all there is left:
That miserable plateful is not going to tempt anybody into baking a Strudel is it?  Don't leftovers always look so, well, leftoverish and sad?

PS If you need more apple inspiration hop over to north Wales for Elizabethm's Somerset Apple Cake. It's next on my list.


Kirsty.a said...


Wipso said...

Many happy returns and thanks for sharing ur yummy pud with us.
A x

Pondside said...

You almost make me believe that I could do this. Almost.
Next time you make strudel try it with warm vanilla sauce - it's like dying and going to heaven.

GeraniumCat said...

Wow! aren't you clever! I wouldn't even dare start...

rachel said...

Happy Birthday! And thank you for making apple strudel look so easy! Not that I believe a word of it. I'd have those leftovers without a murmur of complaint.

I always wonder if there's someone out there who actually needs to be told that a CLEAN tea towel is what you should use?

Fennie said...

That is just amazing! My eyes are rattling in their sockets! Not at the strudel so much as the thin dough all square and professional. I am quite sure that never in a month of Sundays would you be able to read love letters through mine.

Zoƫ said...

Belated Happy Birthday! xx

Strudel looks fantastic - not sure I would have the patience for rolling the pastry so think though - so professional!

I spent the day making soup!

Jayne said...

Looks like you had a lovely family weekend.
Happy Birthday.

Frances said...

Happy Birthday Mountaineer.

You've given your readers the birthday gift with the views and info on how to bake such a scrumptious streudel. No wonder it disappeared so quickly.

Has someone baked you a birthday cake with candles on it? It not, hoping you made a birthday wish before the first slice was taken from that magnificent streudel.


bayou said...

Happy belated Birthday, Mountainear! Strudel looks great, I do always coat the dough with melted butter and sprinkle it with breadcrumps before adding the filling. But I think yours is equally as good.
Please tell the Glam. Ass. that an English lady came and she had all what was left in that well kept bottle of sloe gin we had kindly got from you. She was absolutely delighted and said she had never drunk anything so delicious!

Chris Stovell said...

Cor (e)! That looks excellent! Many happy returns to you - I thoroughly approve of a birthday weekend - keep the celebrations going for as long as possible!

Friko said...

bish bash, slap it around a bit; whom did you have in mind while you were doing that?

Are you as fed up with this howling wind as I am? The nose is driving me bonkers.

I had a look at my witch hazel today with a view to taking a photo. The branches didn't stop still long enough to make a picture.

Happy Birthday, whenever is the day.

Twiglet said...

Oh Yum! I will have to have a go at that. Many Happy Returns too.

elizabethm said...

You have entirely persuaded me - strudel it is! looks fab.

Withy Brook said...

No time to read this yet but will take a bit of something apply - maybe the strudel - thank you. And a cup of coffee please

Diary Farmer said...

Strudel made in a Blue Peter format, save for "here's one I made earlier"!!!

Elizabethd said...

Love apple strudel, and was fortunate to see a Strudel demo in Vienna years ago...much swirling of pastry above the head!

Preseli Mags said...

Well first of all happy birthday and second that strudel looks fabulous. I have never dared have a go but you have inspired me. Such a shame I haven't got a single love letter to read through the pastry! Can you recommend a recipe?

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

I'm not even letting Husband see that , he'd get ideas !
Never mind , there's a local cafe that serves strudel ( undoubtedly not as yummy as yours , though ) with ice cream , whipped cream AND vanilla sauce . It comes with a Health Warning .

Cro Magnon said...

I love strudel, but it's probably beyond my capabilities. Like most men, I do savoury!

We used to live on the welsh/Shrops border, near Oswestry, overlooking the Welsh hills (rather like your banner pic). Lovely area. Even from S W France, I rather miss it.

Cait O'Connor said...

You have made me feel very hungry.