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 Cafés of Vienna, Budapest and Prauge by Rick Rodgers. However, I took another turn on this dessert and decided to make a more savory dish, using some vegetables I had leftover in the house. What I ended up with was an onion-based vegetable strudel.
The recipe for the strudel dough itself is easy, and after you let it sit for a sufficient amount of time it's simple to pull extremely thin. I washed off a flat table in our living room and went to work stretching it ever-so-gently. I made sure to get the center thinned out first, so there was extra dough around the edges as I pulled further, giving me more to work with.
You can see that the edges are a bit thicker, so they can still be pulled further. Working from the center out, using hands on both sides of the dough (one on top and one on bottom), going in a circle from the center, I was able to get the dough roughly 2-feet by 3-feet. At that point, it was tissue-paper thin. Enough so I could clearly see my hands through it.
Then I simply topped with the ingredients I had on hand, rolled, and baked. I threw in a few extras to make sure it'd be good and tasty, but I was surprised at how easily strudel could come together - it always seemed much more complicated to me.
1 1/3 cups flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
7 tablespoons water, plus more if needed
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more to coat the dough
1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
Knead together all the ingredients, smacking harshly on a flat surface occasionally to get rid of any air bubbles. If the dough feels too dry, add water by half-teaspoons. After everything has come together, continue kneading until a soft ball with a rough surface forms. Shape into a ball and lightly oil the surface, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and allow to sit at room temperature for 90 minutes. After it's sufficiently rested, lightly flour a clean, large working space (at least 2-feet by 3-feet wide) and begin pulling the dough from the center out. There are some videos online that can demonstrate this better than words can.
3 large onions, sliced thickly
2 large shallots, diced
Large bell pepper, seeded and diced
1/2 lb. carrots, sliced thickly
6 medium stalks of celery, sliced thickly
4 ounces Gruyere cheese, shredded
2 fresh sprigs of oregano, leaves pulled and chopped
Worcestershire sauce to taste
Preheat an oven to 350ºF. Top the pulled strudel dough on one side with the filling, working in layers to ensure that all the slices will have a little bit of everything. After adding it all together, carefully fold over the dough with filling inward towards the remaining dough. It's okay if a few holes appear in the dough here - they'll be covered up by the remaining layers of dough as you continue rolling. Continue rolling the dough onto itself until it has all been used up, then shape so it can fit onto a baking sheet. Bake for 40 minutes, or until the outside begins to turn golden brown and the vegetables inside have softened. Remove from the oven and cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing.
This can easily be either a main or side dish, and the variations you could make on it are nearly endless. You can fill it with choice vegetables of your own, and different varieties of cheese. You could add some pre-cooked beef, or even put in some sauce. Whatever you feel like putting into this, a strudel is a great way to combine all your ingredients into something that comes out with a flaky crust, and becomes easily transportable.