You’ll love this Cherry Strudel made with tart cherries and crisp phyllo dough. It’s perfect for dessert or brunch.
For my first job out of pastry school I worked for a very well-known Austrian pastry chef. I learned to make strudel from him and we always used phyllo dough. I’ve been making strudel with phyllo ever since.
This strudel is filled with sour cherries. The sweet and tart fruit is the perfect filling for the crisp dough.
I’m lucky to have a sour cherry tree. I preserve and freeze the cherries and use them all year to make pies, cobblers and cakes.
If you don’t have access to fresh sour cherries the best substitute would be frozen or jarred sour cherries packed in their own juice. In a pinch, you could use cherry pie filling for this strudel.
Scroll through the process photos to see how to make Cherry Strudel with phyllo dough:
Tips for making strudel using phyllo dough:
- Keep a moist paper towel or plastic wrap over the stack of dough sheets while you’re working. Phyllo dough is super thin and dries out almost immediately when exposed to the air.
- I find that brushing the dough can cause it to tear and the dough often sticks to the brush. I dip the brush into the melted butter than drizzle it all over the dough.
- Build the strudel on a clean kitchen towel and use the towel to roll the strudel. If you try to use your hands to pick up the dough it will probably tear. Let the towel do the work for you.
- Use a serrated knife and a sawing motion to slice the strudel. The top will probably crackle a bit. I like the rustic look of the cracked top sprinkled with powdered sugar.
- The baked strudel keeps for 2-3 days at room temperature.
If you love this recipe as much as I do, I’d really appreciate a 5-star review.
Sour Cherry Strudel
- 2 lbs sour cherries (pitted (1½ lbs frozen or jarred cherries w/juice))
- 8 oz granulated sugar (1 cup)
- 1 ¼ oz corn starch (¼ cup)
- ¼ teaspoon table salt
- 15 sheets Phyllo dough (defrosted)
- 4 oz unsalted butter (melted)
- 1 ½ oz dry bread crumbs (½ cup)
- Confectioner’s sugar for finishing
- Toss 2 lbs sour cherries (pitted) with 8 oz granulated sugar and allow to macerate for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes drain the cherries, reserving the juice. Transfer the cherries to a large bowl and set aside.
- Whisk a 1/2 cup of the cherry juice with 1 ¼ oz corn starch until smooth. Place the remaining juice and ¼ teaspoon table salt in a small saucepan. Bring the juice to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low. Whisk the cornstarch mixture into the boiling juice in a steady stream. Cook the mixture, stirring constantly, until it returns to a boil and thickens to a pudding-like texture.
- Remove the thickened juice from the heat and immediately pour it over the pitted cherries. Toss to combine. Set the cherries aside.
- Preheat the oven to 375 °F. Line a half sheet baking pan with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
- Unroll the Phyllo sheets and cover them with a damp paper towel so they don't dry out. Lay a clean kitchen towel that is larger than the baking sheet on your work surface. Lay a sheet of Phyllo on the towel with the short side facing you. Use a pastry brush to drizzle the dough with butter then overlap two more sheets of phyllo so that you form an 18” square of dough. Drizzle each layer of pastry with more butter as you overlap the sheet.
- Lay another 3 sheets of phyllo in the opposite direction, drizzle each sheet with butter as you build the layer. Repeat building alternating layers until all the sheets are used.
- Working horizontally, sprinkle 4 oz unsalted butter in a 6” wide strip down the center of the pastry. Leave a 2” border on either end. Pour the cherry filling over the bread crumbs in an even layer.
- Starting from the side closest to you, use the kitchen towel to fold the dough over the cherries. Fold in the two ends then continue rolling the strudel like a burrito. Use the opposite side of the towel to flip the strudel so the seam side is up.
- Use the towel to lift the strudel and flip the strudel off the towel onto the baking sheet, seam side down. Use your hands to tuck in the ends and straighten out the strudel. Brush the top of the strudel with more melted butter.
- Bake until deeply golden brown. Cool on the baking pan for at least 30 minutes then transfer the strudel to a cutting board. Use a serrated knife with a sawing motion and, working on a slight angle, slice off the ragged the ends of the strudel. These can be discarded or eaten. Slice 12 equal portions. You can remove any broken bits of phyllo to make a smoother top. Sprinkle generously with confectioner’s sugar and transfer to a serving tray.
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