Strudel, an eastern European pastry, is typically filled with spiced apples, poppy seeds, or walnuts—flavors endemic to the region. For food writer Ben Mims’ Banana-Coconut Strudel, coconut stands in for the nuttiness of seeds and nuts, and is balanced by caramelized bananas and dates for a very untraditional strudel. The strudel dough recipe comes from his mentor, Nick Malgieri, a baking instructor and cookbook author with years of strudel-making experience. Nick’s dough is unparalleled in how easy it is to use and manipulate to create a shatteringly crisp shell for the sweet, tropical filling.
Makes 10 to 12 servings, Recipe by Ben Mims
- 3⅓ cups (423 grams) bread flour
- ½ teaspoon (3 grams) fine-grained salt
- 6 tablespoons (84 grams) unrefined coconut oil, melted and divided
- 2 large eggs (100 grams)
- ⅔ cup (56 grams) finely shredded dried (desiccated) coconut
- Vegetable oil, for greasing
- Banana-Coconut Filling (recipe follows)
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, combine flour and salt. In a 2-cup liquid measuring cup, whisk together 2 tablespoons (28 grams) melted coconut oil and eggs. Add enough lukewarm water to make 1⅓ cups (320 grams) liquid. Stir coconut oil mixture into flour mixture with a rubber spatula, making sure no flour remains on sides of bowl or spatula.
- Beat dough at medium-low speed until it begins to hold together, about 5 minutes. Increase mixer speed to medium, and beat until dough is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes more. Scrape dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap, and wrap together. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.
- Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Spread coconut on a baking sheet, and bake, stirring halfway through, until lightly golden brown, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, and let cool completely. Increase oven temperature to 400°F (200°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Lay a large, clean cloth or sheet (at least 3 feet long and wide) on a work surface, and sprinkle with flour. Remove strudel dough from refrigerator, unwrap, and set it in center of cloth. Using the palms of your hands, flatten dough. Dust dough lightly with flour, and roll it in all directions, as well as rolling over the edges, to make it as thin as possible. Lightly brush entire surface with vegetable oil.
- Slide both hands, with slightly curved palms facing down, under dough toward the center. Holding this position, lift dough off the cloth with your knuckles, and begin stretching from the center out to the edges until it is too large to stretch easily with your hands. Carefully set dough back on the cloth, spreading it to smooth out any wrinkles or folds. Starting in the center again, continue to stretch out dough in all directions, maintaining a rectangular shape, until dough is almost translucent everywhere except the edges, which should be thicker. (If dough tears while stretching, you will be able to patch any holes with some of the excess stretched dough.) Once dough is stretched as much as you can, let dry for 10 minutes.
- Using a pizza wheel or kitchen scissors, trim all thick edges until dough is about a 36x28-inch rectangle. With 28-inch side facing you, scatter ⅓ cup (28 grams) toasted coconut on a 12x4-inch section of dough centered about 3 inches in from the 28-inch side, so the 12-inch side of the coconut is parallel to the 28-inch side of the dough. Mound cooled Banana-Coconut Filling over coconut, and sprinkle with remaining ⅓ cup (28 grams) toasted coconut. Drizzle 3 tablespoons (42 grams) melted coconut oil all over unfilled portions of dough.
- Roll strudel by folding 3 inches of dough from the 28-inch side of dough over the filling, then fold the unfilled dough in from each side. Lift the cloth, and roll the strudel, stopping to fold the edges inward as you roll, until it is resting seam side down. Transfer rolled strudel to prepared pan. Brush top of strudel with remaining 1 tablespoon (14 grams) melted coconut oil. Using scissors or a serrated knife, cut 4 vent holes in top of strudel.
- Bake, rotating pan halfway through, until golden brown and crisp, 35 to 40 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack, and let cool for at least 30 minutes. Cut into 1-inch-thick slices, and serve warm or at room temperature.
Makes about 2½ cups, Recipe by Ben Mims
- 1 cup (84 grams) finely shredded dried (desiccated) coconut
- 6 ripe bananas (744 grams), divided
- ½ cup (110 grams) firmly packed light brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon (1.5 grams) kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ cup (64 grams) finely chopped pitted dates
- Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Spread coconut on a baking sheet, and bake, stirring halfway through, until lightly golden brown, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, and let cool.
- In a medium saucepan, combine 3 bananas (372 grams), brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon, and mash until almost smooth. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Cook, stirring constantly, until caramelized and thickened, 5 to 6 minutes. (Bubbles should become larger and less frequent.) Pour filling into a bowl. Stir in toasted coconut and dates, and let cool to room temperature.
- Cut remaining 3 bananas (372 grams) into irregular 1-inch chunks, and stir into caramelized banana and coconut mixture.