Cherry or Apple Strudels

Sunday January 17, 2016

Strudel is popular all over Eastern Europe, and traditionally uses a wafer-thin pastry that is painstakingly made from scratch. Apparently this pastry originated in the Middle East and was brought to Europe in the Ottoman invasions of the 15th century. The quickest way to make strudel these days outside of Europe is with bought puff pastry or filo pastry. I tested strudel made from both, and the results were so good we couldn’t make up our mind which one was better. Here’s the filo variety. As soon as the strudel is baked and it comes out of the oven it needs to be cut into serving pieces. This is to allow the steam to escape…which keeps the thin layers crisp.

Cherry Almond Strudel

Makes 1 strudel, serving 8

Ingredients

  • 12 sheets phyllo dough, defrosted per box directions

Crumb Mixture

  • 1 1/2 cups fine dry bread crumbs
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter
  • 1/2 cup slivered blanched almonds, chopped

Cherry Filling

  • 4 cups fresh or frozen unsweetened red pitted cherries (about 2 1/4 pounds)
  • Grated zest of 2 lemons
  • 1/2 to 2/3 cup sugar

To Finish

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
  • Powdered Sugar, for dusting

Instructions

1.  Cover your kitchen table with a clean cloth.  Parchment-line a large baking sheet.  Prepare the crumbs: In a large skillet, melt the butter.  Add the bread crumbs and, stirring constantly over medium heat, gently toast the crumbs and make sure they are evenly soaked with butter.  Add the almonds and set aside to cool.  Toss the pitted cherries with the lemon zest; set aside.

2.  Preheat the oven to 400º.  Melt the 1/2 cup butter and have a wide pastry brush ready.  Carefully peel off 6 sheets of pastry and cover the stack with a moist tea towel to prevent drying.  With the short side facing you, place 3 sheets of pastry side by side with the edges slightly overlapping.  Brush the overlap with melted butter to seal.  Extend the area by laying another 3 sheet of pastry down, allowing a 1 1/2 inch overlap.  Brush the entire surface with melted butter.  You will have a large square patchwork of pastry.  Sprinkle evenly with half of the crumbs, leaving a 2 inch border all the way around, and make a second layer of 6 leaves of pastry on top.  Brush with butter and sprinkle again with the rest of the crumbs.

3.  Sprinkle the cherries in a long pile near the edge of the pastry closest to your body, leaving a 3 inch rim at the ends and along the edge of the pastry.  Sprinkle with the sugar.  Pick up the cloth under the strudel and roll the strudel away from you in a jelly roll fashion.  It will roll off the cloth; keep moving along the cloth as the strudel rolls up.  Tuck in the ends of the rolled pastry to neaten and brush with butter.  Carefully transfer to the baking sheet by laying the pan next to it and lifting gently onto the pan, taking care not to let the strudel touch the edges of the pan; curve it in a horseshoe to fit the pan.

4.  Bake in the center of the preheated oven until crisp and brown, 35 to 40 minutes.  Let stand to cool on the baking sheet. Dust with powdered sugar while warm.

the all-strudel master/nick malegari teaching class at cordon bleu

Apple Raisin Strudel

Makes 1 strudel, serving 8

Ingredients

  • 20 sheets phyllo dough, defrosted per box directions

Crumb Mixture

  • 1 1/2 cups fine dry bread crumbs or ground almonds
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter

Apple Filling

1 1/2 pounds tart green cooking apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/4 inch slices (about  5 large)

Juice of 1 lemon

Zest of 2 lemons

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 cup golden raisins, dried cranberries, dried cherries, or golden raisin-sour cherry mix, warmed in 3 tablespoons dark rum, Calvados, or apple juice

3/4 cup packed light brown sugar

To Finish

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
  • Powdered Sugar, for dusting

Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Peel, core and finely chop or dice the apples. Immediately mix with the lemon juice to avoid discoloration. Mix in the rest of the filling ingredients. Divide the filling into four. Open the packet of filo pastry just before using. Unroll the sheets and leave them in a pile.

2. Brush the top one lightly with melted butter and put it to one side. Brush 4 more with melted butter and put them on top. Put one quarter of the filling in a line along one long edge, about 6cm (2½ inches) from the edge and 2cm (¾-inch) from the sides.

3. Lift the edge up over the filling and roll up, not too tightly, tucking in the sides half- way so the filling does not fall out. Lift the roll and carefully place on a buttered baking dish or tray, seam side down. Brush the surface with butter. Repeat for the other 3 strudel rolls.

photo courtesy of The Best Recipe

4. Bake in the center of the preheated oven until crisp and brown, 35 to 40 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy. Remove from the oven, cool slightly, and dust with icing sugar. Serve the strudel warm or at room temperature, cut into slices.

apple raisin strudel with caramel sauce

Recipe and text copyright Beth Hensperger 2016

Please enjoy the recipe and make it your own. If you copy the recipe and text for internet use, please include my byline and link to my site.


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