Its Monday morning and Steve has just headed off for his foray into the bright lights, city limits of inner Launceston (and surrounds) for another fortnightly shopping trip. Living out in the official “sticks” means that we need to limit our shopping trips and plan a whole lot more carefully than we used to. We have learned how to make all sorts of things that we might otherwise have had to head palm and do without and in the process we have certainly learned the value of life lessons. “Fool me once!” is my hue and cry folks and when we run out of bread or milk, we know how to make our own or we have a handy-dandy substitute (or something in a can or carton that lasts) to fill the need. There are certain things that a body needs that have nothing to do with frugality, planning and forethought. They are everything to do with impromptu spontaneity and are what gives life its tinges of colour, flavour and wonder. In saying that, I now know how to make one of those little life moments that give lasting pleasure for at least 3 days till Steve and the dogs have eaten it all…Behold…the Roly-Poly Tiger Stromboli! A sweet homage to those still warm apple and cinnamon scrolls that could be purchased in the city before the commuters flooded the shops and eaten steaming out of a paper bag on an inner city jaunt with Bezial…life was different then but we can still have our little pleasures, all be they homemade and from a repurposed paper bag…
What’s this I see here? A small box for Bezial?!
A small sack of dog biscuits labelled “small dog”?
Obviously not for Earl, look at the size of that head!
I even have a bowl of vanilla and chocolate icing (frosting for those Northerly persuasion dear constant readers who aren’t out doing yoga or jogging in some gorgeous green forest…) that could have been smeared gloriously over the top of the sweet heady flavour-rich yeasted pastry that we created on Saturday but alas, gilding the lily belongs firmly to Steve and Ms’ Maggie Beer, narf7 has a bit too much of that stolid Germanic simplicity inside her that demands she takes things back to their bare basics and revel in their simplicity so the Roly-Poly tiger Stromboli remains lightly dusted with homemade cinnamon sugar (heavy on the cinnamon) and alluringly always at the ready. This is a time where Steve and I managed to work together to create something magnificent. Magnificent AND positively brimming with possibilities. Neapolitan roasted strawberry Stromboli anyone? How about chocolate and peanut butter Stromboli with a jam and cinnamon centre…Peaches and cream Stromboli with a caramel vanilla crust or even a savoury version with spinach, beetroot and carrot strips or blotches…a never ending stream of happy Stromboli futures rolling off the narf7 press and a very happy Steve (and dogs) to enjoy them. I figure you would all like the recipe and so without any further ado, here are all of the images that we took to accompany the recipe so hopefully, between the text and the images you can all find someplace to call Stromboli home.
We have our suspicions of just who send this nefarious parcel…we think it might be Qi!
AND there is a pointed clue in this obvious jibe about Bezial’s girth. Either way, Earl ate them. Bezial wouldn’t be caught dead eating anything for a small fat dog!
Roly-Poly Tiger Stromboli
Note: make the filling first because you want it to be cold when you have to spread it onto the dough and if your filling is at all runny you can drain it off here (like narf7 had to) to ensure your bread isn’t too wet
Aside from the toffee apple ingredients and the dough ingredients you need 1 cup of finely chopped dried dates (or you could use sultanas, currants, mixed dried fruit, chopped dried figs or raisins whatever you like really) and some cinnamon sugar if you want to sprinkle it on top of your Stromboli. It’s really about what YOU like here, we are creating magic folks, magic to YOUR tastes so go nuts with your own flavour potentials and make sure that they appeal to you :o)
For the toffee apple filling: –
2kg Granny Smith apples
125g butter…yes BUTTER folks. It’s delicious, it’s all natural, it’s tasty as all get out and one Stromboli worth of butter is going to pay you back SO much more in sensory delight than an austere 125g of oil or margarine could ever give you. Your choice, but its butter all round on Serendipity Farm. Even the dogs won’t eat margarine here!
1 ½ tsp powdered cinnamon (I use Dutch because that’s all we can get here)
1 tsp powdered dried ginger
½ tsp powdered mixed spice (you can leave this out if you like)
The zest of an orange
½ cup caster sugar (or honey, or golden syrup or agave or Lithuanian guava syrup or whatever sweetener you choose to use, this is all about sensory pleasure folks, the choice is up to you!)
Approximately 2kg of Granny Smith apples sourced from the orchard down the road
Peeled, cored and sliced and adorned with the purest gold of some butter. Go on folks, butter IS better. If you are vegan you can use some coconut oil or some vegan butter (there are lots of recipes online just do a search)
Peel your apples and core them and then slice them. Throw them all into a stockpot and add the butter and cook them gently until the apples are just tender. Add the spices, the zest and the sweetener and allow the apples to simmer till the sugar has melted or has at least heated up. Cook until the mix gets nice and thick and if you are worried about overcooking your apple, just remove the apple with a slotted spoon and reduce your syrup down till it is nice and thick and unctuous. Stir the thickened syrup back over the apples and combine. Leave till cool before using.
Dried dates. These little babies play a big part in narf7’s life. I use them for all kinds of things and am just about to attempt to make some date sugar. I will post about it when I do (unless I forget the dates in the oven and burn the living daylights out of them where you won’t hear about it and I won’t ever talk about it again! 😉 )
Now for the dough: –
2 sachets of active dried yeast, about 8g each
2 tsp. sugar
2 cups divided (1 in each bowl) of plain (all-purpose) flour. I used strong bread flour
The zest of an orange and ½ cup orange juice
3 tbsp. cocoa
½ cup milk (any kind)
¾ cup caster sugar divided (put ½ in each bowl)
½ tsp. salt for each bowl (1 tsp. total)
2 tbsp. olive oil or melted butter (your choice) divided (1 tbsp. in each bowl)
The 2 separate medium sized bowls with sifted flour and respective ingredients
First get 2 small bowls (with approximately a cup holding capacity) and put a sachet of yeast (or 8g measured) into each bowl. Add the orange juice and 1 tsp. sugar to one bowl and the milk and the last tsp. of sugar to the second bowl. Cover with cling wrap and place in a warm place to allow the yeast to activate. You can tell the yeast is activated when it starts to fluff up. If it doesn’t fluff up after about 15 minutes in a warm place you might need to get some new yeast…go to the shops…buy some new yeast…drive home…do it all over again…now divide the flour (1 cup in each bowl) into 2 medium sized mixing bowls and add the orange zest to the first bowl and sift in the cocoa to the second bowl. Add ½ tsp. salt to each bowl and when the yeast has proofed, add the orange juice yeast mix to the bowl with the orange zesty flour and the milk yeasted mix to the cocoa floury bowl. So far so good! Now you add 1 tbsp. of olive oil or melted butter to each bowl and you start to mix it all together. I use a pastry scraper for this. I have 2 pastry scrapers so technically I use 2. I am ambidextrous with pastry scrapers but I am a one trick pony and that’s about as far as my ambidextrosity goes. If you need to work on one bowl at a time feel free to just cover the other bowl with cling wrap and come back to it once you have mixed and kneaded the dough in the other bowl. Squish it folks, knead it, relieve stress and think about how delicious this creation that you are making will be with a nice hot cup of coffee/tea to reward you at the end of your hours and hours of labour. The dough is quite sticky and you can add a little more flour but don’t add too much. This is rich dough and it needs a degree of elasticity and “stick”. Grease the sides of the bowl (that are usually clean of dough thanks to that tbsp. of oil/butter that you added…BOO-ya!) and using your hands, rub a little olive oil or soft butter onto the top of the dough. Don’t ask me why I do this, I just do. It’s a little narf7 quirk and you can feel free to skip that step. I guess I learned the hard way about dough sticking to cling wrap. This dough won’t get to the top of the bowl (unless you ignored me about the “medium mixing bowl” thing and then you probably deserve to be scraping dough from cling wrap…let’s just consider it a life lesson all for you and be done with it 😉 ). Plonk that gorgeous elastic shiny rich dough back into that MEDIUM SIZED mixing bowl, cover it with cling wrap and place it someplace nice and warm for as long as it takes for the dough to double. I have Brunhilda. I have a bread proofing rack that some wonderful man made for me…It takes about 15 minutes for this step on Serendipity Farm but it could take anywhere up to an hour or so for anyone not so fortunate.
Let’s pause for a breath there. It’s been AGES since I typed a paragraph that long and you are probably gasping for air…take a deep breath because here we go again!…
Nice risen shiny dough and chopped dates ready to be sprinkled onto the final rectangle of Stromboli dough
Once your dough has doubled and is nice and shiny and glossy remove it from its warm haven and deflate it however you see fit. I just use my fist to lightly depress it, I am an optimist, I don’t like depressing things so I am gentle. After you “lightly depress the dough” you can use the mass of dough to clean the sides of the bowl easily. Less mess to wash up and more dough for your Stromboli. Now comes the maths and physics. You didn’t think that you were going to get out of this just making a recipe did you?! Narf7 needs you all to learn about the magic alchemy of doughy mathematics and here’s your first lesson. Form each dough lump into a rough rectangle and cut it into 3 equal portions. You don’t have to go all weighing on it or anything quite so Germanic (unless you absolutely positively HAVE to…) but try to get them as close to equal as you can by eye. Once you have 6 (3 of each) chunks of dough, roll them into sausages that are about 30cm long and try to make the sausages an even thickness across all down their length. Once you have assembled your 6 sausages it’s time for the fun (no more maths, you can open your eyes now and take your fingers out of your ears and you can stop yelling “I CAN’T HEAR YOU…I CAN’T HEAR YOU” loudly…).
Cooked apples cooling down ready to be used when they are needed
Take a dough sausage. It doesn’t matter which colour you use, just take 1. I will wait here while you work out which one you want to choose…take a section of baking (parchment) paper approximately 500mm (50cm or ½ metre) long and place your chosen sausage to the left hand side of the baking paper (leaving a bit of a margin. Now place a sausage of the opposite colour about 5cm to the right of the first sausage. Keep going, alternating colours and leaving a roughly 5cm gap between the sausages till you have exhausted your sausage pile and all 6 sausages are placed nice and neatly on your chunk of baking paper. Don’t be terrified by this step, narf7 to the rescue! I knew that some of you might be almost to fainting stage by now so I took a shot (I took about 10, I am not the world’s best photographer and I don’t have the world’s best camera and I really REALLY wanted at least one shot to come out…) of this step to diffuse the fear and the rage…
Rolled out sausages laid side to side in a rough approximation of a rectangle
There now, that wasn’t so hard was it? Now you have done the hard work. This dough is lovely and stretchy and greasy and unctuous and you could use it to make little rabbits and goldfish and frogs out of if you wanted to but for now we are making Stromboli folks so let’s get back to what you do next with it. You need to end up with a rectangle of dough that sticks together and allows you to encase a flotilla of spice scented caramel toffee apples inside it with minimal leakage. I didn’t just tell you that the dough was easy to work for nothing folks! I had worked this out when making normal Stromboli and tucked it away for future experimentation…consider this the future and here we are messing about with the ability for this dough to stretch and adhere to things easily. Squish your sausages out evenly and carefully so that they start to come together. Try to keep the lines somewhat even but even if you do end up squishing your dough a bit skewwhiff, you can just call it a camouflage Stromboli and be done with it.
What’s this? THIS isn’t a Roly-Poly Tiger Stromboli?! It most certainly isn’t folks. I am posting these 2 photos as a sort of mental interlude, a chance for you to go to the toilet and have a quick break and to prove that I made this savoury Stromboli at the same time as the Roly-Poly Tiger Stromboli.
Here you see the topping for the savoury Stromboli (minus the grated cheese and the parmesan). Are you ready to face the Roly-Poly Tiger Stromboli again? If so…carry on…
Now make sure that all of the places where the dough is touching its different coloured brethren are stuck together. Take a few moments to ensure that they are by using your fingers and pressing the dough stripes together down their length. You need this rectangle of dough to stay together because you are going to have to roll it up once the filling is on it and a few extra moments taken here are going to stop you breaking down and sobbing because you’re filling is oozing out of the cracks that you rushed ahead and ignored. Sorry to be all negative there but I am married to king of the rushers and I dare say there are more of you out there in the world that need a little reminding to take things slowly and carefully sometimes…sometimes the turtle wins you know!
Note it’s not perfect and if narf7 can do it…so can you! This dough is easy to stick together so you shouldn’t have many problems with the different dough’s coming apart.
This is how you roll the Stromboli using the baking paper to guide it. Its very similar to the technique for rolling sushi so if you haven’t ever made sushi before…you now know how 🙂 Thank me later with a mouthful of sushi heaven.
Now you have a nice stripy, camouflaged (or even blotchy…whatchagonnado?) rectangle of dough ready for your nice cold apple filling. If you forgot to cook your apples first just get some jam, some sultanas, some peanut butter, some lemon curd, SOMETHING to spread over the rectangle or even just cinnamon sugar. There are NO losers here folks! If you DID remember to make the apple mix first, now is the time to get it ready to spread. Sprinkle the dates over the rectangle leaving a 5cm minimum border all around the outside of the rectangle. Now evenly distribute your apples (possibly drained if like narf7 you ended up with slightly runny caramel) over the top of the dates and when you have them spread over it’s time to start rolling up your Stromboli. Starting the wide end of your rectangle of baking paper (parchment) directly in front of you, pick up the edges with both hands and start to coax the stripy rectangle (I am being positive here folks…I am assuming you managed to make stripes…) away from you and towards the far side of the baking paper (parchment). I even took a photo (well Steve did…note how much better the photo is 😉 ) to show you how so don’t panic, just look at the photo :o)
Take note Christi, I have been very careful to try not to wash the label off this jar. I use it for cinnamon sugar which is going to be used to sprinkle the top of the Roly-Poly Tiger Stromboli
Now you have rolled up your Stromboli you need to squeeze the wide side together. The trick is to tuck in the filling and make sure you have plenty of dough left without filling on to stick the roll to. As I said before, this dough is very forgiving and will give you a fair bit of leeway and stretch but in saying that, it will tear if you stretch it too far. You can always take a bit of dough from the side bits as you always end up with a portion of unfilled “end” on either side…a handy observation…just in case. Now, once you have the side tucked in, you need to tuck in the ends. Hopefully you’re Stromboli somewhat resembles this delightful stripy slug here…
What a cute little stripy slug 🙂
The same cute little stripy slug after being baked and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar
If it doesn’t and it is causing you grief, try pulling it round into a circle…you can pretend you made a Swedish tea bread…no-one else will know…none of us are going to tell…”ARE WE!” Now you get to sprinkle over that optional cinnamon sugar. Feel free to omit it if you like. Carry your stripy slug (on its baking paper and on a baking tray of course!) over to your 180C oven and place reverently inside and bake approximately 20 – 45 minutes (depending on your oven) till risen and lightly browned and headily perfumed. Remove with equal reverence from the oven and leave on the tray to cool. Slice and eat…eat with coffee or tea, eat with cream or ice-cream, and eat with both hands, with friends and family or alone (where you could technically just start at one end and be done with it folks!). Enjoy what you just created because the world can be going to hell in a hand basket out there but you just made a Roly-Poly Tiger Stromboli of happiness and possibility and that…THAT is an accomplishment! A little triumph amongst the angst and anguish and something for you to be proud of today. It certainly made me a happy little narf7 camper and Steve is still beaming as he cuts slice after delicious slice. A note to all lily gilders out there…this would be delicious slathered in a rich vanilla or chocolate icing, ganache or even a nice thin glaze. Do with it what you will, I gift it to the world :o)
Lets cut this baby and see what we just made…
How yummy does this look? 🙂
Steve cut himself a nice big slice to test for you all…don’t thank him, he had to force himself…
And this is what you should end up with…a nice slab of delicious chocolate orange sweet Stromboli. You can add the thickened cream if you like or slather it with the spread of your choice (I bet this would be delicious with avocado…). You can top it with icing or you can leave it plain. It’s your baby now…go and deliver it into your waiting hands 🙂
Have you ever heard of “BoHo” style? Steve and I have decided to start our own trend…we are touting the “HoBo” look here…just in case any of you are fashion conscious, this look will be big in Italy this year. Here we are just about to set out in the frigid mini-Antarctica that has been Sidmouth Tasmania of late. No rain… just frost and cold and Brunhilda doing a sterling job to keep us toasty warm inside but the truth of the matter is that we have to go outside at least once a day to walk these 2. Without a walk, that red and white one will eat the furniture. I like the furniture. We walk him
Just to prove to you that yes, we DO actually go out dressed like this and no, I don’t keep my cupboards in pristine condition and Bezial is a robot and Earl can actually “sit” on the rare occasion when he feels like it. What are you all doing still looking at we hobos? You should be off rattling pots and pans and starting your very own Stromboli of great happiness 🙂