Strudel dough, like filo or cannoli dough, is a way for pastry-makers to show off their art: the dough should be stretched thin enough to read a newspaper through it.
Lynn Lewis and Joachim Wahnschaffe
2 3/4 cups (350g) plain flour
1 large egg
1/3 cup (80ml) sunflower or canola oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice
about 160g butter, melted, for brushing
3/4 cup milk or cream, for basting
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Directions Preparation:50min › Cook:50min › Extra time:20min › Ready in:2hours
Place the flour, egg, oil, salt, vinegar and a scant 125ml (1/2 cup) lukewarm water in a mixing bowl. Knead for 5–10 minutes using the dough hooks of an electric mixer or a food processor until the dough is smooth and elastic.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead the dough a few more times. Shape it into a ball and let it rest under a warmed bowl for 30 minutes.
Knead the dough again for 5 minutes on a floured work surface. Use a knife to divide the dough in half and shape it into 2 balls. Brush the dough with 1 tablespoon melted butter to prevent it from drying out.
Dust a large tea towel or a clean bed sheet with flour. Dust one ball of pastry with flour and quickly roll out the dough into a rectangle. Then, holding the dough over the floured towel with the backs of your hands, stretch it out, working from the centre, until the dough is very thin and almost transparent.
Line a baking sheet with baking paper. Trim any thick edges from the stretched pastry and cut the pastry into a rectangle. Brush the rectangle with melted butter and spread your chosen filling over the pastry, leaving about 2cm free on both long sides. Brush the long edges lightly with water.
Lift the the towel from underneath the narrow edge of the pastry and, using the cloth, loosely roll up the pastry. Fold the pastry ends under the strudel; press firmly to seal.
Place the strudel on the baking tray seam-side down. Brush with butter and baste with milk or cream. Slash the surface several times with the tip of a knife. Repeat with the remaining pastry and filling.
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C. Bake the strudels on the middle rack of the oven, brushing with butter every 10 minutes and also basting with the milk or cream every 20 minutes, for about 50 minutes. The pastry should be crisp and golden brown.
Remove from the oven and let the strudel cool for at least 10 minutes before slicing and serving. Dust with icing sugar and serve with whipped cream or ice cream.