Fresh or frozen cherries and phyllo pastry make for an easy, tasty strudel.
My Apple Strudel Made Easy was such a hit with family and friends I decided to take advantage of the last of the cherry season.
Phyllo pastry makes this strudel a cinch compared to the traditional, labour intensive, stretched dough. It also helps to keep the dessert on the lighter side.
I keep frozen cherries on hand all winter and they stand up pretty well in anything I have tried them in. But... gotta say.... fresh cherry season is a summer highlight for me!
My husband loves gadgets... so while I had been content to slice the pits out, halving the cherries, he was not so patient when it came to pitting olives. And... you guessed it! The same handy, dandy tool works perfectly for olives and cherries. No stopping me now!
Check out all those pitted cherries on my Watermelon Cake!
As in the case of the Apple Strudel made easy - don't let the phyllo pastry put you off. It is easy to work with if you keep a couple of things in mind.
- The dough has to be thoroughly thawed or it will crack when you try to unroll it. Some outer edges sometimes crack with even the most careful handling. I use those for the inside layers if possible where the cracks won't matter.
- Keep a moist tea towel over the dough sheets while you are working with the sheets one at a time.
- Traditional recipes use melted butter brushed on every layer. This definitely adds richness. I often only brush butter on half the sheets and spray the other sheets with butter flavoured cooking spray. And if I really want to control the calories I just spray all the sheets! Super easy. This may not be the best approach if you are wanting a rich, buttery dessert but it works well with vegetable strudels or anywhere crispy phyllo is good, such as when used as a substitute for tart shells.
- One recipe doesn't usually use all 16 or so sheets in a package so you have a couple of choices. Make two strudels and freeze one, or make other phyllo recipes. I have also stuck the unused sheets, well wrapped back in the freezer. This can work. The pastry tends to break where it has been folded but if you are using it as a stand in for tart shells for example you can cut your pieces to avoid the breaks.
This strudel freezes unbaked beautifully, wrapped tightly, for up to 3 months. Bake at 350 degrees 55-60 minutes. Sprinkle final icing sugar just before serving.
- 3 cups cherries pitted, fresh or frozen
- ⅓ cup sugar
- ¼ cup flour
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 Tbsps butter melted (set aside 2 tsps to brush the top)
- 2 Tbsps canola oil see note below if you want to lighten up with cooking spray.
- 6 sheets phyllo pastry
- 2 Tbsps sugar
- 2 tsps melted butter (reserved from above)
- pinch of cinnamon
- icing sugar for dusting
- Preheat oven to 350°. Make a sheet of parchment paper to line a baking sheet. You will use the parchment as your work surface to form the strudel and then transfer it to the baking sheet.
- Prepare filling by mixing the cherries, flour almonds and cinnamon together in a large bowl.
- Mix the butter and canola oil, reserving 2 tsps. Position a sheet of phyllo on your parchment paper. (Keep remaining sheets covered with a damp, clean tea towel so it doesn't dry out.) Lightly brush the sheet with the butter mixture. Repeat with the other 5 phyllo sheets. See note below if you want to lighten it up with cooking spray.
- Spread cherry mixture evenly over the strudel leaving a 2" edge all the way around.
- Fold the short ends in over the filling. Gently roll up the long edge using the parchment paper to help roll if necessary. Finish with the strudel roll seam side down. Brush with the reserved 2 Tsps of butter. Sprinkle the top with the 2 Tbsps of sugar and the pinch of cinnamon.
- Bake at 350° for about 35 minutes. Pastry should be golden brown.
- Remove from oven and dust with icing sugar just before serving or after it has cooled a bit if not serving immediately. Cut into 6 even slices and serve.
- This is best served slightly warm. It will keep in the fridge a day or so but will become noticeably soggy if longer than next day. It freezes beautifully. Wrap unbaked strudel tightly and freeze up to 3 months. You can bake it at 350° from frozen for 55-60 minutes. Sprinkle with final icing sugar just before serving.