Thursday, June 11, 2009

Celebrations/Mini Banana-Nutella Strudels

This weekend, one of my dearest friend's older sister is getting married in Rome. I haven't been to a wedding in over 10 years and this one will definitely be incredible. To be honest though, I don't get the same weak in the knees feeling as other people over weddings. I know its wonderful to see two people vow to love each other eternally, but somehow, at this point in my life it just doesn't really move me. Most people tell me that with time that will change, they are probably right, but what I like best about weddings is that they give us another opportunity to celebrate.

I find that celebrations are often forgotten or undervalued, which is unfortunate because my most of my best nights have been celebrating one thing or another. I totally respect my mom for having thrown several celebrate life parties, and it's amazing to see how much fun everyone has. I am sure the open bar didn't hurt, but aside from that people were just excited to have a reason to have fun. Marriage is without a doubt a great reason to celebrate and the wedding party usual exudes that fantastic energy, if only for that, I love weddings and I cannot wait for my weekend.

This week has actually be chock full of celebrations, 2 birthdays and now this wedding. So despite my traumatic exam the other day, I managed to have a great week. My friend's birthday was on Monday, the day before the exam, so I obviously didn't have the time to bake anything for her. I had promised her, however, that within the week, I would have made something for her. I decided to make strudel again, because I like to perfect recipes and since I didn't love the filling last time, I thought it was worth another shot. Also, I wanted to make minis, and since I live in a temporary apartment my kitchen is totally under-accessorized, strudel is great for this because it hardly requires any fancy apparatus.

Right now, my house smells like a mix of warm cinnamon, butter and nutella. It is such a comforting smell, a simple reminder that the small things in life are often the greatest and that even with its ups and downs, life is worth celebrating.

Banana Nutella Mini Strudels
(adapted from from “Kaffeehaus – Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafés of Vienna, Budapest and Prague” by Rick Rodgers)
Makes 10

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

1 stick of butter (melted)
1/2 c. breadcrumbs
10 tsp. nutella
1 lrg. banana, cut into batons
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon

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. Divide the dough into 10 even pieces. Roll each piece out on a well floured tablecloth until it is tissue thin, using a pastry brush, brush butter and sprinkle well with breadcrumbs. Spread one teaspoon of nutella an inch away from the bottom and place 2 banana batons on the nutella. Roll up folding in the sides, like a burrito. Do this one by one with all 10 pieces of dough. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

4. Preheat the oven to 400º F (200ºC). Combine sugar and cinnamon in a bowl. Brush the strudels with the remaining butter. Sprinkle evenly with the cinnamon-sugar. Bake until a deep golden brown, about 20-30 minutes. Turn the baking sheet halfway through.


Carol* said...

simply loved them!!