Last year, before leaving Germany, we received a book of recipes as a gift. Not just any recipes — each of my husband’s colleagues contributed a handwritten recipe of their own to share with us. In the move, I somehow tucked that book away with non-cookbooks, and it wasn’t until the day after Christmas this year that I pulled it out and decided to tackle one of the recipes.
Of course, I probably chose the most challenging (and the most German) recipe in the book: Apfelstrudel (apple strudel). Yum.
It was my first time making strudel, so I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. I had seen pictures and video of people expertly stretching the dough until it was paper thin, and I knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but I had a clear set of instructions — and when it comes to cooking, I feel great as long as I have a guide.
So I threw together the dough and let it sit while I pondered what was coming next. I peeled apples like a pro. (That actually surprised me! I generally don’t have the best skills with blades, but I managed complete, unbroken peels from some of those apples.) I toasted breadcrumbs. I prepped all the ingredients and had everything gathered around me, ready for that dough.
My husband recommended using an old bed sheet under the dough, a brilliant idea. And so we got to stretching. We made a few holes, but nothing disastrous. Then, I piled on the butter. After spreading the apple and breadcrumbs over the buttery dough, I had a mini panic attack — I’m pretty sure I spread it in the wrong direction (along the short side of the dough), so we ended up with a shorter, thicker strudel than if I had spread everything the long way. But it rolled up just fine, and the end result was incredibly tasty even if it didn’t look quite as elegant as I’d hoped.
All in all, I’m amazed at how well this complex recipe turned out, and I’m excited to try the next one in the book. 🙂