- 3 to 3 1/2 cups high-gluten flour
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup lukewarm water
- 12 Cortland Granny Smith, Rome, or Golden Delicious apples (about 2 quarts)
- 1 cup sugar (depending on the tartness of the apples)
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/2 to 2/3 cup good apricot strawberry, or other jam, or orange marmalade
- 3 cups finely ground and dry leftover sweet rolls challah, or cake
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- Preheat the oven to 150 degrees or to its lowest setting and leave the door open. Or make sure your kitchen is very warm.
- To make the dough mix 3 cups of the flour, the sugar and the salt on a board. Make a well in the flour and pour in the oil and the water. Mix with a fork and then knead well with your hands, sprinkling on more flour as necessary until the dough forms a workable mass. Roll it back and forth to seal it. Using your hands, grasp a fistful of the portion nearest you, then swing your arm and slam it down treating the dough as you would a club. As it hits the board the dough will stretch. Keep taking additional fistfuls until the dough is pliable and does not show any tears. It should be as smooth and elastic as a baby's bottom.
- Gather the dough together, place it in a well-greased ceramic or wooden bowl, cover, and let rest in a warm place, either in the oven, which you will turn off now, or a warm spot for about 2 to 3 hours. (Although Mrs. Salander does not do this, you can also make the dough in a food processor, pulsing it until it is as smooth as possible.)
- On a table or other flat surface that is at least 3 feet by 5 feet, spread a clean sheet or old tablecloth so that the edges hang slightly over the sides. Sprinkle the sheet with flour and roll the dough to form a 9- by 13-inch rectangle. Then, with your fingers, press the dough out as thin as possible, trying not to make any tears in the dough.
- (The novice may want to ask a friend to help stretch the dough.) Then, using your hands, start stretching from the center, drawing your fingers over the entire length of the dough, manipulating it from underneath, and gently lifting the dough with your fingertips until you can read a newspaper through it. It should be stretched to the edge of the 5- by 3-foot surface. When you are finished, the dough will cover the entire table's surface. Try to minimize the number of holes, but a few won't matter. Pull off any thickened edge of unstretched dough. Let dough dry for about 5 minutes.
- Peel and chop the apples. Scatter them along the wide edge of the dough in a long mound about 2 to 3 inches wide and 1 to 2 inches high, leaving about a two-inch border of dough. Sprinkle the apples with the sugar and cinnamon; drop dollops of jam over the apples. Sprinkle the cake crumbs over the rest of the dough-this will keep the layers separate-and drizzle the oil over the same stretched dough.
- Taking hold of the sheet on the 5-foot side, lift the sheet up and over the apples to start rolling up the dough jelly-roll style. When completely rolled, roll the strudel back and forth gently to seal. It will be about 3 inches in diameter. Take a little oil in your hands and rub on the top and sides of the strudel.
- Place a greased jelly-roll pan or cookie sheet next to the strudel. Using your hands, gently lift one half of the strudel on the sheet or pan and then carefully transfer the rest onto the cookie sheet. You may have to form the pastry into a large crescent or spiral or you may have to use 2 cookie sheets and break the strudel in half. If you break it in half make sure to seal the ends. (If desired, you can freeze the strudel at this point.)
- Bake in a preheated 375-degree oven on the top rack of the oven for 45 minutes or until golden. If the strudel begins to brown too quickly, lower the heat.
- Remove from the oven and immediately brush the strudel with the apple juices surrounding it. Let it rest on the cookie sheet until lukewarm. Slice and serve.
Tip: You can add nuts and raisins if you like. You can also substitute pears for the apples, adding some fresh or ground ginger-delicious. A shortcut dough is Pepperidge Farm's puff pastry. Use the above filling without the cake crumbs and 4 sheets of the pastry. You can also use phyllo dough with the cake crumbs.
Eli Zabar's Tip: Sprinkle the crumbs under and over the apples. Substitute butter for the oil in this recipe.