2000s Recipes + Menus

Sour Cherry Strudels

Serves 6
  • Active time:30 min
  • Start to finish:1 1/2 hr
July 2002
It’s cherry season, and those sweet-tart little fruits are so alluring. But if the notion of baking a pie seems like too much work, consider these simple strudels, which offer the pleasure of pie with a lot less effort. The dough comes straight from the freezer and there’s no sticky pie plate to clean up since the crumbled phyllo absorbs any excess juices. And if time is really of the essence, you can even eat these little morsels with your fingers.
  • 5 cups fresh or frozen (not thawed) pitted sour cherries (1 1/2 lb.)
  • 3/4 cup plus 1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 15 (17- by 12-inch) phyllo sheets, thawed if frozen
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted
  • Garnish:

    confectioners sugar
  • Accompaniment:

    vanilla ice cream or lightly sweetened whipped cream
  • Bring cherries (with any juices), 3/4 cup sugar, and cornstarch to a boil in a 2 1/2- to 3-quart heavy saucepan, stirring occasionally, then simmer 2 minutes. Transfer filling to a bowl and cool completely.
  • While cherry filling cools, arrange 3 phyllo sheets in 1 layer on a work surface and let dry 15 minutes. Keeping 12 remaining sheets stacked, halve crosswise, then stack halves. Cover stack with a piece of plastic wrap and a dampened kitchen towel. Finely crumble 3 dried phyllo sheets into a bowl.
  • Preheat oven to 400°F.
  • Arrange 1 piece of phyllo on work surface with a short side nearest you (keep remaining sheets covered) and brush with some butter. Top with 3 more phyllo pieces, brushing each with butter.
  • Sprinkle 2 tablespoons crumbled phyllo over lower third of buttered phyllo, leaving a 2-inch border along bottom and sides, then top with a rounded 1/3 cup filling. Fold bottom edge of phyllo up over filling and fold in sides to enclose filling completely, then roll up phyllo to form a strudel, about 4 1/2 by 2 1/2 inches. Transfer, seam side down, to a butered baking sheet. Brush top with some butter, then sprinkle lightly with 1/4 teaspoon sugar. Cut 2 (1-inch) vents diagonally across top of strudel, about 1 1/2 inches apart, with a paring knife. Make 5 more strudels in same manner.
  • Bake strudels in middle of oven until golden brown and crisp, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer to a rack and cool 30 minutes.
Cooks’ notes: 
  • Strudels can be baked 2 hours ahead and kept on rack at room temperature.
  • Cherry filling can be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered.
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