Note: I'm still struggling to reproduce my grandmother's apple strudel. She made it look easy, but it takes some skill and patience to get a nice thin dough without tearing. It's well worth several tries, and, unlike phyllo, does not require all that butter! Turn them into a main dish or appetizer, using your favorite filling for turnovers, calzones, samosas, or roulades. Since I didn't get her recipe before she died, I combined two very similar recipes from The Art of Jewish Cooking and Yankee Magazine. One calls for a resting period of 20 minutes and the other, for 1 hour. I shoot for somehwere in between.
The choice between strudel dough, which is similar to turnover dough, just thinner, and phyllo dough is a matter of personal taste. If you like flaky, use phyllo. This cook prefers strudel dough for several reasons: it has more taste and substance; less fat is required; and, the labor involved is almost the same.
Strudel Dough (Stretched)
3 cps flour, sifted
1/4 t salt
3 T corn oil
1/4 cp lukewarm water
1/4 cp unsalted butter, melted, or use oil
1. Resift flour with salt into an 8-cup bowl. Make a well in center.
2. Add egg and oil in the well.
3. Mix egg and oil lightly with a fork, then gradually stir in flour to mixture, adding enough water to make a soft sticky dough. Continue mixing in the bowl until it pulls away from the
4. Turn dough out on a very lightly floured board. Knead for about 10 minutes. While kneading, frequently slap dough down hard on the board to develop the gluten. Continue working till dough is smooth and elastic and does not stick to the board or your
5. Place a bowl warmed with hot water (and dried) over dough. Let rest in warm spot for up to 1 hour.
6. To work the dough, you will need a large surface preferably something you can walk
around. Cover with a cloth and lightly flour surface. Remove rings from fingers. Roll
with rolling pin until it is as thin and transparent as you can get it, about 1/8" thick.
7. Flour knuckles of your hand and making a fist, gently pull from center toward you
8. Change your position as the dough stretches to avoid putting too much strain on any one
9. Keep this up till it measures 36" to 40" long and 30" wide. Dough should be thin enough
to read through.
10. Trim edges and patch holes with water and pieces of leftover stretched dough. Brush
lightly with butter or oil.
11. Let rest for 15 minutes.
14. Spread dough with bread crumbs or other, if recipe calls for it. Arrange filling on dough
starting 3" from long edge, shaping into a bar. Leave a 2" margin on each short edge.
15. Carefully fold the 3" of dough over filling. Fold 2" sides toward center.
16. Lift the cloth and roll dough up like a rug, stopping after each turn and patting to keep
the bar shape even.
17. Brush with remaining melted butter. Using 2 large spatulas, slide strudel onto a
parchment-lined or lightly buttered cookie sheet.
18. Bake 40 minutes or til golden brown, or, according to filling instructions.