Showing posts with label Cherry pie. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cherry pie. Show all posts

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Hungarian Sour Cherry Strudel

When you see a plate of delicate and light cherry know Spring is here! South Florida, we are now experiencing the most beautiful spring weather any state in the U.S. can experience. Although most of your northerners have the unusual early spring weather that you probably have not witnessed in years...or maybe not at all! Fresh cherries are very hard to find these days, and they are extremely expensive if you do find them, and not so sweet!

I love cherries, and especially in desserts. Cherry pie has to be my favorite pies of them all, but I cannot, and will not use the ooey-goeey cherry pie filling loaded with sugar, color, and corn sweetener...although (never say, never) because the famous cherry pie "filling and topping" looks so darn pretty on top of our ever so famous Philadelphia Cheese cakes! In this particular brand of canned is all natural sour cherries in their own juice, and you only need to sweeten, and thicken the cherries for this amazing Hungarian Cherry Strudel!
You'll probably ask..."what makes it Hungarian?" and my answer would be the method of layering this delicate phyllo...or fillo, (which ever way you write or pronounce it)...I don't know of any other nationality that layers each and every layer (6) all together, with ground almonds, or walnuts, mixed together with fine plain bread crumbs, and sugar combined, that also goes into the plain sour cherries. You save the juice of the cherries to color your Easter eggs with...all natural!
I remember from my childhood, how my grandmother used to make her own strudel dough (phyllo) rolling the delicate dough on a huge table lined with floured table cloth, and just keep going around in a circle, gathering the dough until it's paper thin, and working with it quickly, so it doesn't dry out. Well, now you have the convenience of buying this fabulous dough, pre-packed, in the freezer section of your local grocery super market!

It just irritates me when you serve a nice plate of a classic European dessert...and immediately you get your first comment of "I don't like the powdered sugar on the top"...well, in this case, why not make half with, and the other half without the powdery sugar on the top?...I like to make everybody happy, so I do it that way! The following recipe...from memory, will let you make 2 nice generous rolls, and you can leave one without the sugar on the top!

Hungarian Sour Cherry Strudel
my own recipe

2- 14 1/2 ounce cans of pitted Sour Cherries in their own natural juice (not cherry pie filling)
2 cups of fine ground breadcrumbs
2 cups of ground almonds, (ground walnuts is good too)
2 cups of cane sugar, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2- portions of 6 layers of phyllo-fillo dough
(defrost dough in fridge, the day before)
8 Tbsp. (1 stick unsalted butter melted)

Even though it says's really sour, and the label says: in water, but it has really dark cherry liquid, which you will want to save, for another use!

Drain the liquid from the cherries, and add the cherries into a medium size bowl.
First, mix the above mentioned bread crumbs, ground almonds, and 1 cup of sugar in a separate bowl.
From the mixture, add 1 cup to the cherries, and add an additional 1 cup of sugar, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract and carefully stir together...set aside.

I purchase my Fillo pastry sheets in a Middle Eastern market, but they are sold in supermarkets with a different brand, and could be labeled, as PHYLLO, and not Fillo...same thing!

You have to work with the pastry sheets quickly, because they dry out fast. Any unused sheets, as you're working with them should be covered with  wet sheets of paper towel, or damp dish towel.
Take your firs 6 sheets of the pastry dough, and layer them one at a time.
First, take a fine brush, and dip into the melted butter that you have prepared in a small bowl. Don't over saturate the dough layers, just dab them a little here, and there, sprinkle with about a tablespoon of the mixed bread crumbs, sugar, and ground walnuts combination, not too much just scatter them around.

Do this same method, on every sheet, layering them as shown. (some sheets may tear, break, but it's OK, still use them).

When you get to the 6th layer, do the same by drizzling, with butter, and the combo of the crumbs, and almonds, and sugar.
Spoon half the portion of the cherries, not quite to the end of the roll...the long end, leaving at least a 2 inch border on each end. Carefully roll up in jelly roll style, tuck the ends in. Lastly, drizzle the last portion of the butter, and crumb mixture.

On a parchment lined baking sheet, (actually you have to be layering all this on the parchment lined baking sheet, so you don't have to transfer the dough)

In a preheated 400 degrees F. oven, bake for 25- 35 minutes, depending how hot your oven is. Remove...DO NOT slice immediately, wait for it to cool a little and for the filling to set, Carefully slice about 2 to 3 inches, with a sharp serrated knife. You can repeat the second portion, or save for another time (use within 2 days) I made 2 portions, one with, and one without powder (icing sugar) on the top.
Note: you have to work fast with the Phyllo, and also carefully, because the dough is very delicate.
Also, you can use different fillings, and make several different sweet, or savory things with this amazing Fillo!
This particular brand is a GREEK brand, and I will be making my favorite SPANAKOPITA...spinach pie, the next time!
Points value: 8 per serving
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