Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Hungary - Sour Cherry Strudel

Hungary was also amazing. We drove through the countryside from Croatia to Budapest. We vistied the traditional Hungarian spas and then took a cruise down the river for dinner. We had been running around all day and hadn't really stopped to eat - so when we got to the dinner cruise I was starving!

I piled up my plate with lots and lots of delicious hungarian treats only to watch Phillip return with two cabbage rolls. I headed back for seconds and I noticed that Phillip wasn't eating - I asked him what was wrong and he admitted to me that whilst I was blow drying my hair he went downstairs to the hotel bar and ate a club sandwich. His loss, he missed out on the most delicious sour cherry strudel.

Here is my take on a traditional Hungarian: Sour Cherry Strudel

200g unbleached flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
150 mL cold water
200g of butter + 50g more flour
1 Tbs rum or vinegar

1 large jar of sour cherries in light syrup or 1 pound fresh sour cherries
1 Tbs butter
1/2 cup of bread crumbs
1 egg for the egg wash

In a large bowl mix the flour and salt together, and make a well in the center. In a cup, mix the rum and cold water. Now incorporate this liquid mix into the well, a little at a time, to make the dough. You can add a little more water if necessary to incorporate all the flour. Knead the dough briefly to make it even, but realize that the dough will still be a bit sticky and rough-looking. Roll it out into a 15cm square and cover well with plastic wrap. Place it in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.

For the butter mixture, cut the butter into little ½-inch cubes. Combine it well with an extra 50g of flour. Then place the mixture in plastic wrap and, using a rolling pin, shape it into a square a bit smaller than the dough (about 12cm). Stick this in the refrigerator if necessary. Remember, we want the dough and butter to be about the same temperature (15ºC) when we work with them.

With your dough cool and rested, roll it out onto a flour-dusted surface, making a 20cm square. Place the unwrapped butter-square in the center, as a diamond inscribed in the dough square. Mark the perimeter of the butter-square on the dough and remove the butter square. Now roll out the dough from each mark using a rolling pin, making “petals”.

Replace the butter-square in the center of the dough and fold the petals over, covering it completely. If some butter seems to be peeking out, throw on some flour to cover it up.And then being the 'Rolling and Folding'.

Roll out the dough into a tall rectangle, twice as long as it is wide (about 36x18cm). Brush off any extra flour (extra flour hardens the dough) and keep a proper shape with nice right-angled corners. Now fold the dough like a business letter: fold the top third down and the bottom third up, making a three-layer rectangle about 12x18cm.

Turn the dough to the left, so that the long side is now top to bottom.

Dust the dough with flour and roll it out again into the long rectangle (36x18cm). Brush off the extra flour and fix the right angles. Now fold the dough in this manner: fold the top quarter down, and then the bottom quarter up. You’ll have a crease in the center where they meet. Fold the dough one more time at this crease creating a 4-layer rectangle 9x18cm.

Flatten the dough a bit with your hands and make it even and let it sit overnight in the refrigerator (or at least 4 hours).

When you’re ready to use the dough (within 3 days), pull it out of the refrigerator and let it thaw a little bit so that you can roll it out easily. Your dough is still in its folded brick form, so you’ll need to roll it out into a giant rectangle.

To make this delicious sour cherry dessert, you'll first want to drain your cherries. Place them in the collander and save the juice for another purpose. Sprinkle the cherries with about 1-2 tablespoons of sugar and leave them to drain for about 30 minutes, pushing out the extra juice with a fork every once in awhile. Also, make sure the sour cherries are pitted! You don't want any nasty surprises.

Meanwhile, in a sauté pan melt your butter and then add the bread crumbs, stirring them around until they are toasted. Remove from the flame, mix in a tablespoon of sugar, and allow to reach room temperature.

Roll out the puff pastry dough into a nice rectangle. If you used my puff pastry dough recipe, you'll need just half. About 3 inches from the edge start scooping in the bread crumb mixture along the long side of the rectangle. Place heaping spoonfuls of the drained and pitted sour cherries right on top of the bread crumbs (the bread crumbs help absorb excess water from the cherries as it cooks). Fold the dough from the edge to cover the cherries, and then fold the whole thing over one more time like a jelly roll. Pinch to seal all along the dough's edge.

Place on a baking pan and do two last things before placing it in the oven. First, brush the top with egg wash (egg mixed with a bit of water or milk). Next, cut some slits along the top. This will allow steam to escape while it cooks. Place it in the oven for 30–40 minutes, or until it's a golden brown color.

1 comment:

  1. This looks wonderful! Poor guy missed out for sure in Hungary, but not at home, I trust! It's been ages since I visited! Love the new look (to me!) of your blog!

    Congrats on your marriage and wonderful honeymoon trip!


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