to this size:
Notice that the dough is so thin you can see the tablecloth through it. The dough is stretched by pulling and easing here and there, running your knuckles underneath, fanning your fingers. It takes some practice. Making the dough a day ahead increases the gluten in the flour so it's more elasticky. It's on a tablecloth because you lift the tablecloth to roll up the strudel once it's filled with fruit.
Nobody at the party understood that the dough was the real feat. The ones who were interested in baking (which not everyone is) were astounded that I pitted the cherries by hand. Didn't I use a machine? Did it take me hours?
I didn't use a machine. It did not take me hours.
I told them cherries could be pitted with a paper clip. I'd never tried it, but I'd heard it could be done. Someone went off to find a paper clip and some cherries. I was asked to demonstrate.
Yeah, it does rather mangle the cherries. A machine would probably give you cherries with a hole like a pitted olive. But if you're making pie or strudel, the cherries get cooked.
What I normally use at home is the pick that comes with a nutcracker.
If I had to give a prize for the best cooking/baking feat of the evening, it would be for the home-made lamb sausages--and the birthday cake formed as an island in the ocean with the birthday gal reclining on a deck chair, a book called Life Begins at 50 in the sand beside her. Her luscious, curlicued figure had been fashioned out of a pipe cleaner.
Here's a man who makes stretching strudel dough look really easy.