Chocolate and Walnut Strudel – Daring Bakers

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.

Chocolate and walnut strudel

In my mid teens I escaped the boring farm life and headed to the big city for the Xmas holidays. My uncle had given me a job wrapping presents in his bustling Bondi Beach gift shop, how exciting for a small-town girl. One evening my uncle asked whether I liked Schnitzel. Now, you know I had had schnitzel before, but only the pre-prepared revoltingly dry chicken variety, not the hanging off the edge of the plate tender veal kind, with creamed spinach and sauerkraut. This was obviously a problem that needed immediate rectification, so after the shop closed we wandered around the corner to the Gelato Bar and sat under the stars on a beautiful summer night and eating schnitzel. I’m sure it was pretty decent, but I had eyes only for the strudel. 

Chocolate and walnut strudel

The Gelato Bar is a funny place. I’ve never had gelato here but you can get Matzo ball soup, if you’re willing to put up with backpacker service and high prices. But strudel is the reason to come here. Thick slices of hefty strudel, the pastry crisp and flaky, layered with nuts and dusted with a generous amount of icing sugar. But for me, the pastry in strudel was always secondary to the filling. Gelato bar sells dense, rich poppyseed, sweet and smooth walnut, sour cherry and lemon zest spiked cheese, and chocolate with hazelnut. The last two are my favourites, and I buy them pretty much any time I ever go to Bondi (the outlet at Bondi Junction often sells the strudel for half price on weekday afternoons, a steal!)

Honestly, I knew that I could not reproduce my Gelato Bar favourites for this Daring Bakers challenge, but I gave it a try regardless. I make cherry and cheese (delish!), vanilla poached pear with semolina cream, and chocolate with walnut. They were ok, with the bitter sweet chocolate and nut version winning by far, but I can’t help but feel that there was something wrong with the pastry, it seemed tasteless and quick to get soft. I don’t know if it was just me, and my technique or the the recipe but it just wasn’t a winner for me. Whatever, though – this challenge was fun, but now I am dying to go back to bondi for a big slice of cherry and cheese.

Chocolate and walnut strudel

Strudel Dough
(recipe via Daring Bakers website, from “Kaffeehaus – Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafés of Vienna, Budapest and Prague” by Rick Rodgers)

I made this recipe twice, the first time it was really wet, because I used Australian Tablespoons (20mL) – when the recipe was in fact using some other measure. I have removed this from the recipe so that most measurements are by weight.

1 1/3 cups (200 g) unbleached flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
105 ml water, plus more if needed
30 ml vegetable oil, plus additional for coating the dough
1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar

1. Combine the flour and salt in a stand-mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix the water, oil and vinegar in a measuring cup. Add the water/oil mixture to the flour with the mixer on low speed. You will get a soft dough. Make sure it is not too dry, add a little more water if necessary.
Take the dough out of the mixer. Change to the dough hook. Put the dough ball back in the mixer. Let the dough knead on medium until you get a soft dough ball with a somewhat rough surface.

2. Take the dough out of the mixer and continue kneading by hand on an unfloured work surface. 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 (longer is better).

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, 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.
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.

4. 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.

Filling:
150g Chopped walnuts
4T raw sugar
200g dark chocolate, roughly chopped.

Mix all ingredients together and fill pastry as desired. This amount can also be halved for a less rich version.

This work, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.

16 Comments

  1. Posted May 27, 2009 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

    Yum yum yum! The pastry looks light and flaky and walnut-choc is pretty unbeatable right. Only downside, I can’t have a taste :-( , advanced as internet is, you can only gawk at yumminess, not eat it ..lol. Good job Lili!

    Sneh | Gel’s Kitchen’s last blog post..My Ten Fondest Food Memories

  2. Posted May 27, 2009 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

    Well done! It looks really good! Now I feel like filling it with lots of nutella! :P

    billy@atablefortwo’s last blog post..Spanking New ATFT Card

  3. Posted May 27, 2009 at 10:03 pm | Permalink

    oh, the strudels at gelato bar are awesome, aren’t they?!
    your strudel sounds delicious – choc & walnut – yum!

    Betty’s last blog post..Bills

  4. Posted May 27, 2009 at 10:48 pm | Permalink

    Sitting under the stars and eating schnitzel and strudels, how romantic! I will have to go try the strudels at gelato bar after reading your story. Your strudels look lovely though, the bittersweet chocolate and buttery pastry sounds like a great combination :)

    Steph’s last blog post..La Renaissance Patisserie, The Rocks

  5. Posted May 27, 2009 at 11:40 pm | Permalink

    OOh Yuumm! Haha doubt anyone would halve the filling amount :P
    Oh have you had any good schnitzels btw? If not gogogogo!
    Great to finally meet you ^^!

  6. Y
    Posted May 28, 2009 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    Oh that chocolate and walnut number looks delicious! I didn’t realise you could get so many other things aside from ice-cream, at the Gelato Bar.

    Y’s last blog post..Daring Bakers Challenge : Strudel

  7. Posted May 28, 2009 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    Sounds like your uncle picked the right place to go, even if his aim was the main not the dessert.

    Arwen from Hoglet K’s last blog post..Swasdee Thai

  8. Posted May 28, 2009 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

    What a fantastic flavour! Now I really want to try these ones. Pity the pastry didn’t turn out how you wanted. I must admit I love cherry and cheese strudel too… it’s soo good. :) It was great meeting you at Zumbo’s!

    Anita’s last blog post..Melomakarona – Walnut Syrup Biscuits

  9. Posted May 29, 2009 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    Looks awesome, after seeing everyone’s strudel creations it reminds me that I have not had one of these for years.

    Howard’s last blog post..BBQ’ing Wagyu beef

  10. Posted May 30, 2009 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    Wow, your filling sounds wonderful! yum yum!

    pigpigscorner’s last blog post..Roasted Broccoli & Strawberries with Truffle Balsamic Glaze

  11. Posted May 31, 2009 at 6:32 am | Permalink

    Oh my gosh! This is my favourite of all the strudels I’ve seen! It’s got my name written all over it! I wish I could reach into the monitor and eat it :)
    I really like your blog, I’m glad I found it! I’ll continue to visit you!

    Marta’s last blog post..Silky Panna Cotta with Rhubarb Compote

  12. Posted June 5, 2009 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    Hmmmmmmmm looks awesome!! I’d want a huge scoop of ice cream to go with it. Yumminess!

  13. Posted June 8, 2009 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    Sneh | Gel’s Kitchen: Haha thank you!

    billy@atablefortwo: Oh my god, how good is nutella? I could have just stretched the pastry out, layered and baked it, then spread nutella between the sheets, Genious!

    Betty: Gelato bar strudels are the best!

    Steph: Thanks :)

    FFichiban: Haha, you too! I’ve never had a truly amazing schnitzel, but I think that my expectations are just too high!

    Y: I have never actually had any ice cream at the gelato bar, it should be renamed the matzo ball and strudel bar, it’s got a great ring to it, I think :)

    Arwen from Hoglet K: Totally, I might have thought that it just served gelato to this day!

    Anita: Yeah, you too – cherry and cheese is my favourite, too.

    Howard: Good strudels are wonderful, go give one a go.

    pigpigscorner: Thanks, so easy and decadent :)

    Marta: What a great compliment! Thank you so much.

    Yas: Oh yeah, I ate it with lashings of cream, but some great ice cream would go just as well :)

  14. frangipani
    Posted November 8, 2011 at 2:00 am | Permalink

    This is funny, I am not proud of it but I did work at Gelato and I was just now searching for the recipe for this yummy choco and hazelnat studel & found your page accidentally:))) I want to try out to make this strudel for my husband, who love this piece of energy, but can’t find any real recipe..this one is the closest one to the original. Anyway, i think they have used the sweetened condensed milk, because you could see sometime this little bit of white sauce in between the layers. Also the chocolate was more like nutella – taste & consistency. I have to try it out this week …hope it will work :)

  15. Ros
    Posted January 11, 2012 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    Hi Lil,

    Would you be mortified to know that I added your filling to frozen puff pastry and cooked it in my over-engineered sausage-roll press?

    Anyway, the most important thing is that I won the office’s unofficial most delicious morning tea item competition.

    Hope you’re well and that you’re not too cold…

  16. Posted January 11, 2012 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

    Ros: Hey! I’m not mortified at all! Good job, send some to Korea.
    PS: You must eat so many sausage rolls!

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