apple-pecan strudel

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  DOUGH (ENOUGH FOR 2 STRUDELS):
¼ cup Unsalted butter
½ cup Hot water
Egg
1 tablespoon Cider vinegar; preferably unrefined
2½ cup All-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon Salt
8 cups Tart apples peeled; thin-sliced
½ cup Unsalted butter; melted
1 cup Chopped pecans; toasted
1 cup Raisins
1 cup Graham cracker or vanilla wafer crumbs
½ cup Dark brown sugar
½ cup Sugar
2 tablespoons Crystallized ginger; minced
2 teaspoons Ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon Salt
3 tablespoons Unsalted butter
1 tablespoon Sugar

FILLING

Make the dough: Place the butter in a bowl, and pour the hot water over it, stirring to melt the butter. Add the egg and the vinegar, and mix in well.

Add 2 cups of the flour and the salt, and stir until a sticky dough forms.

Sprinkle the remaining ½ cup flour on a pastry board, and knead the dough on it for about 5 minutes, until the extra flour is incorporated and the dough is smooth and shiny.

Divide the dough in half, flattening both portions into 4 or 5-inch rounds.

Refrigerate or freeze one round for later use. The amount of remaining dough may not look like enough to encase the filling, but it will. Cover it, and let it sit in a warm place. Some cooks put it in a bowl set in a second bowl of warm water; others use a barely warmed skillet. Allowed to rest, the dough becomes soft and pliable.

While the dough is resting, make the filling: Toss the apples with the butter in a large bowl. Add the remaining filling ingredients, and mix well.

Get ready to stretch the dough: Clear a table, and cover it with a thin smooth-surfaced dish towel. Sprinkle the towel with flour. (The towel eventually helps support the paper-thin dough.) Plan to work quickly once you get going. Center the dough on the towel, and pat it out as thin as you can by hand. Then put your hands under the dough, and start stretching it out from the center. Some people prefer to use their fingertips for this; others use their knuckles. We start with our fingertips, switching to the knuckles when the dough is thinner and can tear more easily.

To pull the dough evenly, you'll need either to turn the towel around periodically or to make your way around the table, whichever is easier. As the dough gets successively broader and thinner, you'll be able to tell where it still needs stretching by looking at it - if it's translucent, it's thin enough. Try to avoid tearing the dough, as it is difficult to patch. The edges will be thicker, but you can pull them thin or trim them off. You should end up with something resembling a rectangle at least 18 to 24 inches.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease a baking sheet.

Melt the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter. Brush the dough, still resting on the towel, with about 2 tablespoons of it. Cover the dough completely with a single layer of the filling. Using the towel for support, begin rolling up one of the rectangle's longer sides jelly roll-style. If you ended up with tears in the dough concentrated in any one area, try to roll the strudel so that they will be hidden within it. Roll the strudel up snug, but don't make it extra tight, because it needs some room to expand while baking. Pinch it closed as you go to help hold in the juices.

When the strudel is rolled up completely, use the towel to transfer it from the table to the baking sheet positioned nearby. Form the strudel into a horseshoe to fit on the sheet. Brush it with the remaining tablespoon of melted butter, and sprinkle it with the sugar.

Bake the strudel for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350 degrees and continue baking for an additional 25 to 30 minutes, until the pastry is lightly browned and just crisp. Let the strudel rest for at least 20 minutes before you cut it.

Serve the strudel warm in thick slices.

Yield: 12 servings

Recipe by: DEAN FEARING SHOW #HE1A09 Posted to MC-Recipe Digest V1 #786 by Sue <suechef@...> on Sep 17, 1997

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