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Sour Cherry Strudel made with Phyllo Dough

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:

a bowl with cherry juice and cornstarch, a pan cooking cherry juice and the finished cherry filling in a bowl
1. Combine the cherry juice with cornstarch. 2. Cook the juice until it’s thickened. 3. Fold the thickened juice into the cherries.
phyllo dough, cherry filing and melted butter on a clean kitchen towel
Gather the components for the strudel and lay out a clean kitchen towel. Keep the phyllo covered so it doesn’t dry out.
cherry in phyllo dough, folding phyllo dough over filling, using towel to flip strudel onto the pan
1. Line the bread crumbs and cherry filling onto the dough. 2. Use the towel to flip the dough over the filling and fold in the sides. 3. Use the towel to flip the strudel onto the sheet pan.
a strudel on a pan before and after baking
Brush the strudel with more butter and bake until golden brown.

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

Sour Cherry Strudel

Yield: 12 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Bake Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Cherry Strudel made with tart cherries and crisp phyllo dough. It's perfect for dessert or brunch.

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. (900 g) fresh sour cherries, pitted (or 1.5 lbs. pitted frozen or jarred cherries), save the juice
  • 1 cup (8 oz, 224g) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup (1.25 oz, 35g) corn starch
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 15 sheets Phyllo dough, defrosted
  • 1/2 cup (4 oz, 112g) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup (1.5oz, 40g) dry bread crumbs
  • Confectioner’s sugar for finishing

Instructions

  1. Toss the pitted cherries with the 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.
  2. Whisk a 1/2 cup of the cherry juice with the corn starch until smooth. Place the remaining juice and the 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.
  3. Remove the thickened juice from the heat and immediately pour it over the pitted cherries. Toss to combine. Set the cherries aside.
  4. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a half sheet baking pan with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Working horizontally, sprinkle the bread crumbs 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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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