Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Daring Bakers: Caramelized Banana Strudel

Procrastination. Gets me every time.

I wasn't super excited about this challenge. Not until I got home from work in a MAJOR homemaker kind of mood. I swept, I mopped, I cleaned the sinks with baking soda. The house smelled great and it was only 6:00. Time to get creative because apple strudel sounds super boring to me.

I could do something savory. I could do something with chocolate. Hm. Bananas? OOooooo. Caramelized bananas. Yes. Yes. I had bananas perfect for cooking, just past the green stage. A little butter and brown sugar. I was on to something!

I melted a couple tablespoons of butter, added two chopped bananas, then sprinkled all of it with 1/4 cup of brown sugar. I let that cook down just a bit, the bananas cook and the butter and brown sugar get all ooey gooey. Oh yes. Give it a try.

*Note: I halved this since I'm the one with the sweet tooth.

The dough was so much easier to work with than I thought it would be. It easily rolled into this thin dough.

The May Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Linda of make life sweeter! and Courtney of Coco Cooks. They chose Apple Strudel from the recipe book Kaffeehaus: Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Caf├ęs of Vienna, Budapest and Prague by Rick Rodgers.

Caramelized Banana Strudel
Adapted from Kaffeehaus

4 bananas, chopped
4 T butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
Melt butter in pan. Add chopped bananas. Cook for a minute. Sprinkle with sugar and cook for 5 minutes over medium high heat. Allow to cool before putting filling in dough.

Put the rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Line a large baking sheet with baking paper (parchment paper). Make the strudel dough as described below. Spread about 3 tablespoons of the remaining melted butter over the dough using your hands (a bristle brush could tear the dough, you could use a special feather pastry brush instead of your hands). Sprinkle the buttered dough with the bread crumbs. Add the filling in a six inch strip on the dough.

Fold the short end of the dough onto the filling. Lift the tablecloth at the short end of the dough so that the strudel rolls onto itself. Transfer the strudel to the prepared baking sheet by lifting it. Curve it into a horseshoe to fit. Tuck the ends under the strudel. Brush the top with the remaining melted butter.

Bake the strudel for about 30 minutes or until it is deep golden brown. Cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing. Use a serrated knife and serve either warm or at room temperature. It is best on the day it is baked.

Strudel Dough
1 1/3 cups unbleached flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
7 tablespoons water, plus more if needed
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus additional for coating the dough
1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar

Combine the flour and salt in a stand-mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix the water, oil and vinegar in a measuring cup. Add the water/oil mixture to the flour with the mixer on low speed. You will get a soft dough. Make sure it is not too dry, add a little more water if necessary.Take the dough out of the mixer. Change to the dough hook. Put the dough ball back in the mixer. Let the dough knead on medium until you get a soft dough ball with a somewhat rough surface.

Take the dough out of the mixer and continue kneading by hand on an unfloured work surface. Knead for about 2 minutes. Pick up the dough and throw it down hard onto your working surface occasionally.Shape the dough into a ball and transfer it to a plate. Oil the top of the dough ball lightly. Cover the ball tightly with plastic wrap. Allow to stand for 30-90 minutes (longer is better).

It would be best if you have a work area that you can walk around on all sides like a 36 inch (90 cm) round table or a work surface of 23 x 38 inches (60 x 100 cm). Cover your working area with table cloth, dust it with flour and rub it into the fabric. Put your dough ball in the middle and roll it out as much as you can.Pick the dough up by holding it by an edge. This way the weight of the dough and gravity can help stretching it as it hangs. Using the back of your hands to gently stretch and pull the dough. You can use your forearms to support it.

The dough will become too large to hold. Put it on your work surface. Leave the thicker edge of the dough to hang over the edge of the table. Place your hands underneath the dough and stretch and pull the dough thinner using the backs of your hands. Stretch and pull the dough until it's about 2 feet (60 cm) wide and 3 feet (90 cm) long, it will be tissue-thin by this time. Cut away the thick dough around the edges with scissors. The dough is now ready to be filled.


TeaLady said...

I wanted to do mine with naners, but just couldn't find the best way. But yours - that is next on my list.

That looks delicious.

Kitchen Worktops said...

Wonderful blog! Thanks for sharing the pics of these delicious meals and the recipe. Have a nice day!