May 27, 2009

Spinach and Feta cheese strudel

Thank you thank you Courtney of Coco cooks and Linda of Make life sweeter for this great challenge!!! I would've never thought to make a strudel. Pastries are always so intimidating to me. If someone told me you have to stretch the dough so thin that you can see through it, I would say you're craaazy!

But because it's a daring baker challenge, I knew I had to do it. And...I did it!!! You have to try it too, you really do. The strudel dough is so much fun to play with. You really can stretch it so thin that you can read fine print through it.

I decided to make a spinach and feta cheese strudel...kinda like a spanakopita strudel. It came out really really good. The strudel was nice and flaky and the spinach filling was delicious. The strudel was gone in no time. You have to try it, you won't regret making it!! Here are the recipes.

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 Prague by Rick Rodgers.

Spinach and Feta cheese strudel
filling recipe adapted from David Lebovitz's Spanakopita

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted, divided
1 1/2 cups fresh bread crumbs
strudel dough (recipe below)

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, peeled and minced
10 oz package of frozen spinach, thawed and drained
salt and freshly-ground pepper
8 oz feta cheese
1 stalk of green onion
pinch of freshly-grated nutmeg
1 large egg, at room temperature
lemon juice

1. Heat 3 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet over medium-high. Add the breadcrumbs and cook whilst stirring until golden and toasted. This will take about 3 minutes. Let it cool completely.

2. Heat oil in a large saucepan or skillet. Add the onions and cook, stirring frequently, until translucent.

3. Transfer the onion to a medium bowl. Add the spinach and green onion. Allow mixture to cool

4. Add the feta cheese to the spinach mixture. Add the nutmeg and a squirt of lemon juice, plus more salt and pepper if desired. Stir in the egg.

5. 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. Spread the spinach mixture about 3 inches (8 cm) from the short edge of the dough in a 6-inch-(15cm)-wide strip.

6. 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.

7. 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
from “Kaffeehaus – Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafés of Vienna, Budapest and Prague” by Rick Rodgers

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

1. Combine the flour and salt in a medium size bowl. Mix the water, oil and vinegar in a measuring cup. Add the water/oil mixture to the flour and mix until a rough dough forms. Make sure it is not too dry, add a little more water if necessary.

2. Knead the dough on an unfloured surface until a soft and elastic dough forms. 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 (see note).

3. 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 (see note), 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.

  • *I allowed my dough to rest for 3 hours and it was really easy to manipulate. I don't know if you actually need to rest it for that long.


Leann said...

Oh YUM!!! You did yours savory... I am definitely going to have to try this one for my family. You did a great job! :)

jillian said...

If I was going to make a savory version, I definitely would have used these flavors. Looks delicious!!

Lisa Michelle said...

Spanakopita strudel! It looks marvelous and the photo is gorgeous! Very nicely done and it looks delicious!

Jenny Tan said...

Ohhh boy, I wanted to make a spinach-feta too...but didn't think I'd have that I see yours...oooohhhhhh, and it's 11pm...I'm feeling HUNGRY! Maybe I should make that for dinner tomorrow!! ;) Looks fabulous I could eat it right now! :D

Ina said...

Those layers looks perfect!!!

Fahrenheit 350° said...

I am so following your blog now! That looks incredible, I am salivating! I'm crazy about spinach and imagining it with that buttery flaky crust, I'm in love with your strudel!

Claire said...

That looks PERFECT! The layers are so flaky and the filling I know was delicious. YUM!


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