Wednesday, June 10, 2009

There's a lot of baking going on ....

While uploading some pictures I realized, that I've been baking a lot lately. Enough to make a blog post out of it too!
Every year, when the time comes for apricots to appear in stores, I'm always baking an apricot cake like this:

first apricot cake of the year
I bake this once or twice a year, so it's very special. It's been so long since the last time, and I lost my favorite recipe (or can't find it, it's on a loose leaf), so I looked into my old school cookbook for the dough instructions. It's very easy but somehow I did not catch the problem in time. When the dough was done it covered only half the baking sheet, so I had to start over right away (have to remember to double the recipe next time). Anyway, it turned out as wonderful as I'd remembered it. I like how the sweet dough goes well with the sour taste of the apricots (even though I sprinkled some sugar on top of the halfs), it's just the right combination of sour and sweet. Yummy!

Edited to include recipe:
Dough for one baking sheet (if you want to make only a 9" x 13" pan use half the recipe):
160g unsalted butter
240g sugar
4 eggs
rind of one lemon (optional)
1 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
300g all purpose flour
2 teaspoon (flat not heaped) baking powder
6 tablespoons milk

Enough apricot halves to cover the baking sheet (wash and take out the pits)

Preheat oven 200 Celsius.
Combine butter, sugar, eggs, and beat until soft and fluffy. Add lemon rind and almond extract. Add baking powder to flour, add both to butter mixture (a little four, a little milk until all is in the bowl). Spread on baking sheet.
Arrange washed, halfed aprictos with the outside down (press lightly into the dough). Sprinkle some sugar on apricots.
Bake for 20-25 minutes (you can open and check after 15 minutes).
Cut when cooled and dust with iceing sugar before serving.


Then, not long after that I discovered that our apples seemed to go bad all at once. My son suggested to bake an Apple Strudel, which I haven't done in ages. The reason is the flour. I can't find the right one for the dough. In Austria there were two kinds of flour, the rougher one, which would be like All Purpose around here, and the fine flour, probably like Cake & Pastry flour, but not quite.
June 8-Apfelstrudel-2
In the upper part of the photo you see the Cake & Pastry flour Apple Strudel, which let itself strech not too bad (compared to what came next). I think it's O.K. but not optimal. I made another dough with the All Purpose flour next, which was close to a disaster. After both doughs rested for half an hour in the fridge, dough 1 let itself be worked. Dough 2 would not be stretched even a little bit. I don't know how I did it to get it on the sheet anyway. In the end both tasted the same, pretty good. And also, why did the one turn brown and not the other? They were treated the same. But as I said, both tasted fingerlicking good. A repeat was requested already. I still have some apples left ...

Edited to include recipe:
250g (cake & pastry flour) bread flour was suggested by Glen the professional and others, so I will give it a try
pinch of salt
2 tablespoons oil
~ 3/16 liter lukewarm water
a few drops of white vinegar

100g unsalted butter
60g bread crumbs (not the italien kind)
100g sugar mixed with a little cinnemon
3 tablespoons raisins
1kg peeled and sliced apples

Preheat oven 250 Celsius.
Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Mix well. At some point put it out on the counter and knead it very well, slam it against the counter until you have a very smooth surface on the dough. Put some muscle into it, it's important to get it as smooth as possible. It should not stick to your fingers (add a little flour until it stops sticking). When you are satisfied with the dough put it on a plate, brush it with some extra oil, put cellophane over it and let it rest at least half an hour in the fridge (or over night).
While it rests, prepare filling:
Brown butter and bread crumbs (you may want to add an extra table spoon of sugar to this). Let cool. Prepare the apples.
Put some fresh dish towels on the counter, sprinkle with flour. Get the dough and use a rolling bin to gently roll it out a little. Now start stretching the dough into all directions very gently, so it will not break. It should be so thin that you can see through it. The edges will remain a little thicker.
When it's not possible to stretch it any further without ripping holes in it stop. Cut off the thick edge. Brush melted butter on the dough, sprinkle roasted bread crumbs all over, put apples, mixed with raisins and sugar on 1/2 or 2/3 of the dough.
Start rolling the Strudel from the side with the apple filling on it, thucking in the sides. Put it gently on a baking sheet (with baking paper or any other non stick solution on it). Brush with melted butter, stick a fork several times in (along the top) to let air out.
Bake about 30-40 minutes.

This is just one variation of Apple Strudel, there are many.


June 8-Apfelstrudel

And today I read Claudia's blog post about how to brew good tea, which was a very good read, and she added a Almond Scones recipe, which I had to give a try right away.

my very own tea party with almond scones-4

I did not have whipped cream at home, which is a good thing, since I LOVE whipped cream and would have eaten too much of it. I did have strawberry/rhubarb jam, and it's soooo good on warm scones.

Well, there goes my low carb diet. Oh well, it's not going on like that forever, but it's nice to treat the family (and myself) to goodies like that once in a while.

Biko is doing fine. We'll have tests done next week, but I'm hoping that this was a one time event.
Thank you all, for your concern and your comments with lots of great information and experiences.



Anonymous said...

The baking looks yummy. Is it possible to share your recipes for the apricot cake and the strudel. I spent a lot of time in Innsbruck many years ago and your baking pictures bring back some lovely memories of the wonderful apple strudel and vanilla sause I had over there.

Carol said...

Hmm, I remember somewhere that the difference between the various flours is the amount of gluten, in them. I think. So maybe if you did some research you could figure out what flour? Although I would be perfectly willing to eat either strudel :)

TracyKM said...

Almond scones sound nice.
Could you use store bought Phyllo dough for strudel? I won't use a pre-made pie shell, LOL, but I would buy phyllo dough.

Renata S. P. said...

That seems delicious!!! I got hungry just looking!

hannah said...

That looks really yummy. Mayby the strudel didn't come out too well but I hope it did taste well?

I am very glad to read that Biko is oké!

Carrie K said...

Glad Biko is doing well!

Oh yum, your baked stuffs look fabulous. I have no clue about the flours but it's all about the taste, baby! ;) I'm a sucker for breads (and whipped cream, I've been known to eat sans anything else).

GoldenTracks said...

I'm coming to your house! Looks so good. Too bad we don't have the internet version of Emeril's Smellivision.
Thanks for sharing the recipes. When my kitchen is finished, I'll give them a try.
Glad to hear Biko is improving.

Anonymous said...

Feel free to send me any extra baked goods you can't finish...

momsue84 said...

Good grief!! Your post is making me so hungry. I haven't had lunch and just got home from work. And then I see all the deliciousness on your blog. Got my Kureyon and am ready to start my Babette. I may be in touch if I need help. So thankful Biko is ok.

Mr Puffy's Knitting Blog: said...

OMG, that Apricot Cake looks fantastic!!!! All your goodies look yummy :) I believe that flour is different depending on where it is grown and so recipes made with flour from different countries sometimes don't turn out as you remember.

Chuckle. Tickled pink to see my scones sitting there looking tempting on your plate! So pleased you enjoyed them :)

It sounds like Biko is going to be just fine. Gave you a bit of a fright to be sure.

Marianne said...

Mmmm, they all look delicious!
Glad to hear Biko is doing well.

Angie said...

Your apricot cake looks great, Monika! I wrote a translation into German and posted it on my blog. Please tell me, if you don't want to see it there. Thanx for the great recipes! Greetings from Berlin, Angie

Sharon V said...

I'm glad to hear that there have been no repeat events with Biko. Let's hope it was a one time event.

Your baking makes me wish I owned more than a muffin pan!

herta said...

Ich liebe Marillenkuchen und natürlich Apfelstrudel. In den Apfelstrudel gebe ich geriebene Haselnüsse anstatt der Rosinen.Ich mag keine Rosinen.
ein schönes Wochenende

Hege said...

Oh, it looks so good - all of them! I'm off to bake cakes today and tomorrow, Eirin turnes 7 tomorrow :) So my baking will have a lot of chocolate in it ;)

Good to hear that Biko is ok.

c'est Moi! the tink-n-frog said...

Oh the baked goods looked so wonderful. Having a cuppa with them would be perfect. I'll have to go read Claudia's blog to see how to do it. Cheers!

Bea said...



Ich liebe Apfelstrudel, meine Oma hat den immer gebacken.

Das Porto wär zwar horrend, aber wenn du in Kanada kein Kuchenmehl bekommst, kann ich dir gerne ein (2, 3...) Paket(e) Mehl Type 405 zuschicken.

Liebe Grüße
die Bea

Maria said...

Both the cake and the strudel look wonderful. I found that most of my Austrian recipes don't work too well with the American ingredients and I must confess that I never made a strudel dough before. I remember watching my grandmother do it and hers was just perfect (she was a mean old lady but a great cook ;) ).


Wanderingcatstudio said...

Now I'm hungry!

knitomi said...

The secret to an elastic strudel dough is to use plain BREAD flour, believe it or not!
I had given up making strudel until someone told me about using this flour
and it works like a charm!

So glad Biko is doing fine :=)

Anonymous said...

So... from a professional baker (moi) on the flour issue- Buy "hi-gluten" flour, aka BREAD flour, and when you mix your strudel dough, you need to take it to "full gluten development" as I tell my assistant. Mix and mix and mix and mix (use a mixer, kitchenaid is my fave) with the DOUGH HOOK and then take out a small ball of the dough (1-2 oz, say 1/4 cup of dough) and pull it from the center... the thinner you can stretch that 'window' the further the gluten is developed... Fully developed gluten can result in thinner-than paper dough (what i do when i make lavash) that is simply BEAUTIFUL. I also recommend that you make the dough the day prior to assembly, as an overnight rest in a fridge makes the dough very happy. I'm no good at html, so i'll put up a quick picture of a post on my blog for you to see what this "window" is... Good luck with the strudel, and any baking info you need, let me know :)

MeowGirl said...

yummy!!! everything looks so delicious, especially the apricot cake. thanks for sharing the recipes!

i always read strudels need higher-gluten and unbleached flour... though pastry flour should have less gluten than AP... a mystery.

fingers crossed for Biko.

Kris said...

Wow reading your post is making me hungry and I just ate. Thanks for adding the recipes.

Marissa said...

oh, that apricot cake looks scrumptious! Sigh, I think I need to have my jaw wired shut to stop eating.

Knatolee said...

Oh my word, this baking all looks fantastic! You are making me very, very hungry. I bet that strudel was to die for.

Knatolee said...

Btw, Monika, I think you need to bake several strudels with different kinds of flours, then Fedex all the strudels to me for taste-testing. I would be happy to do that for you, because I am such a nice person. HAHAHAHA!

2paw said...

Oh I was reading post by post in my google reader and I had to jump ahead to make sure Biko was OK. Glad to hear she's doing well. Thank goodness!!

bobbi said...

i can just see another 10 lbs coming. the recipes sound yummy!!!

Life's a Stitch said...

Oh yumm. I found some really nice flour at Trader Joe's. More like European flour, makes wonderful bread dough.

Tina said...

Good that Biko is fine and I do hope it will never happen again. Dingo had something similar some weeks ago. I let do a good check up but everything was fine. Just the heat seems to bother him this year more than ever before– and it is only June.

Monica aka Gloria Patre said...

Mmmmmm! You are a real diet-killer, you know that? Thanks for sharing - now I'm hungry! LOL!!

hakucho said...

All your baked goods look so delicious!! Yum. Your apricot cake sort of reminds me of the the plum kuchen that I make in the fall with the small Italian plums. It's a raised dough with the plums on favorite :)

Anonymous said...

I was searching online for a recipe of this Austrian Apricot cake, my family is middle eastern but one of my relatives married a lovely Austrian, and I remember this cake from my childhood and during our visits to Vienna. Its so delicous and light, I cant wait to try the recipe, it will bring back warm memories for my family. Thanks for sharing!