Sunday, July 19, 2009

Fresh Cherry Strudel with Phyllo

This is a July 2002 recipe from Gourmet Magazine. The recipe claims to be easier than making a cherry pie, but I beg to differ. Two pie crusts would be infinitely easier to handle than sheet after fragile sheet of phyllo, in my opinion. These little cuties were, however, big fun to make.

I love fresh, juicy, summer cherries.

Messy and fun to pit. Buy extra so you can munch while you work as you won't be able to resist, and why should you? When I finished, my lips, tongue, and fingers were stained. Just like being a kid again.

Cherry Strudel
5 cups fresh, pitted cherries (about 1 1/2 lb.)
3/4 c. sugar
2 1/2 Tbsp. cornstarch
15 (17 by 12 inch) phyllo sheets, thawed if frozen
1 stick unsalted butter

Bring cherries and any juices, sugar, and cornstarch to a boil in a heavy saucepan, stirring occasionally, then simmer for 2 minutes. Transfer filling to a bowl and cool completely.

While cherry filling is cooling, arrange 3 phyllo sheets into 1 layer, on a work surface, and let dry for 15 minutes. Keep the remaining sheets stacked, then cut in half, crosswise. Cover with plastic wrap, then a dampened kitchen towel. Crumble the dried phyllo sheets into a small bowl.

Place 1 sheet of phyllo on work surface (I'm using a sheet of parchment) with the short side nearest you, keeping the remaining sheets covered. Brush with butter, then top with 3 more sheets, brushing each with butter.

Sprinkle about 2 Tbsp. of the crumbled, dried phyllo over the lower third of the buttered phyllo, leaving a 2 inch border across the bottom and sides. This extra phyllo absorbs juices from the filling, keeping it inside the strudel rather than oozing out onto the pan.

Top with 1/3 cup of cherry filling.

Fold bottom edge of phyllo over filling, then fold in sides. Contine to roll up to form strudels. Place seam side down on a lightly buttered baking sheet and brush with a little more butter. Cut two, 1 inch vents in each strudel. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 20-25 minutes, until golden and crisp.

Transfer to a rack to cool.
The cook's sample.


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