Phyllo Cherry Strudel

Cherry Strudel! Now with explosion.

Back at the beginning of the month, my roommate asked me to make him a strudel like his mom used to make for his birthday, in apple or cherry. Since I don’t like cooked apples (OR baseball, I’m a terrible American. Don’t like hamburgers either), I went cherry. He thought he was getting pie filling from a can until I pointed out I write a cooking blog. Version 1, based on loose text-message instructions from his mom and a pie filling recipe I found online, was tasty but a structural failure — the cherry goo went everywhere. I decided to try again with smaller structures and a filling that was a bit more stiff. While there were still some structural issues, as pictured, they were generally fairly stable, particularly once they cooled, and the roommate pronounced them delicious while covered in phyllo shards, so I’m counting these a success!

Individual Cherry Strudels, filling adapted from Taste of Home

2 lbs. cherries, stemmed and pitted
2/3 c. sugar
1/4 c. cornstarch
1/4 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
1 1/2 c. water
18 sheets phyllo dough (or 36 if you don’t like leaky strudels)
2 sticks butter, melted

Yes, the most annoying part of this is stemming and pitting the cherries. Do that, tossing them into a pot as they’re processed; add the sugar, cornstarch and salt and mix so all the cherries are coated. Add the lemon juice and water and stir again,  getting all the cornstarch dissolved and off the sides of the pot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; once it gets good and warm, mash the cherries a bit with a potato masher so as to make them somewhat more compact and also to give the filling a lovely bloody color. Or cherry color. Whichever image you prefer. Cook it for 10-15 minutes so it’s good and thick, and then let it cool.

When it’s time to make the doughnuts strudels, preheat the oven to 350F. Pull a sheet of phyllo (keeping the rest covered with a damp kitchen towel while you work), brush it liberally with butter, put a good wooden spoonful of filling (2-3 Tbsp?) at one short end. Fold the very end of the phyllo over and fold the long edges in — you should end up with a piece of phyllo a third the width of a full sheet. Brush the exposed surface with butter again and fold triangularly like a flag — it may leak a bit, but the weakest spot will be tucked into the center by the end of the folding, so it generally won’t explode messily. Generally. Don’t overfill!

Put them on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 20-30 minutes or until lovely and brown and crunchy on the outside. Quietly ignore any cherry spillage; the parchment will make for easy clean-up. Eat, possibly sprinkled with powdered sugar, or make frosting if you’re feeling spunky.

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~ by iliadawry on 3 July 2012.

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