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Making apple strudel is piece of cake

Melissa Topey • Feb 10, 2014 at 11:40 AM

On Tuesday, I found myself learning how to make an apple strudel.

I also found myself in the comfort of a room full of wonderful ladies, all for this week’s On The Job segment.

Every five weeks, Jean Carris, director of marketing and admissions for the Commons of Providence, holds workshops that are open to the public.

“It’s just a way to work with and be open to the public” Carris said.

Tuesday’s event just happened to be an Apple Strudel Workshop, taught by Marilou Suszko, author and culinary instructor at the Laurel Run Cooking School in Vermilion. A workshop in April will provide instruction on making Easter bread.

“There’s community in the kitchen” Suszko said.

I experienced it firsthand, working at a table with Maggie LaFene, Effie Harris and Jane Morner.

I arrived a few minutes late, so the ladies helped orient me. In front of each of them were apples, most of which had already been peeled. The ladies pointed me to the apples at the front of the room, so I headed to those straight away. I soon realized I had no idea how many I’d need.    Suszko said five.

I couldn’t carry five apples. One of my table-mates came up behind me and handed me one of the three bowls I’d brought in. Problem solved.

Back at my table, I started to peel as quickly as possible.

I was on the third apple when Suszko started the workshop. Morner was kind enough to help me peel and cut up the remaining apples.

Everyone was soon at the front of the room, listening as Suszko walked us through the process of making a strudel.

She apologized, saying she inadvertently forgot her recipe and she’d have to wing it.

She was good, really good. Like the natural chef she is, she walked us through every detail, offering nuances for each step.

Everyone who attended the workshop had fun. There was conversation, laughs and we got to know each other.

Space was too tight for each of us to work on our own strudel, so instead we helped each other out. Morner and Harris teamed up, while Lafene and I worked together.

We worked the filo dough, coating each of the five layers of dough with melted butter.

“We should be on Martha Stewart,” Morner laughed.

Everyone there was attending the workshop for the first time. Lafene, a full-blooded Hungarian, saw the class advertised in the paper. She said she was taken back to Hungary, remembering how her mother tried to teach her to make strudels as a child.

“It didn’t stick,” Lafene said. “I wanted to try to learn it again, for my mother”

She brought her friend, Effie Harris.

“This was fun,” Harris said. “I’ll come back for another one”

We all left with prepared apple strudels. I took mine and baked it, following Suszko’s instructions to the letter. It was flaky and perfect.

The fresh golden delicious apples were ideal for baking, creating a great texture. The filling was the perfect combination of sugar, cinnamon and raisins.

The best part of all, of course, was thinking about the ladies who helped me make it.

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