Kirschstrudel / Cherry Strudel

Kirschstrudel / Cherry Strudel

Here in Cambridge it is still chilly. We had a few glimpses of spring, but it has not yet really arrived. Temperatures like this call for a cup of hot coffee and a slice of oven-warm strudel. This Viennese recipe is for a sour cherry strudel. Later in the year you can prepare it with fresh cherries, however, it is also delicious with cherries from a glass (available at Trader Joe’s for example).

My grandmother learned to cook and bake in Vienna. From her I received a cookbook called ‘Böhmische Küche’ (‘Bohemian Cuisine’) with a fancy cover and many useful recipes. Usually I consult this book for any Mehlspeise (Austrian for cooked dessert or pastry) I want to create…

However, last year I discovered a new book featuring Viennese cuisine. The author is Kurt Gutenbrunner, the chef of Café Sabarsky at the Neue Galerie in New York. The book is called ‘Neue Cuisine. The elegant tastes of Vienna’. It includes an interesting selection of recipes, including several Mehlspeisen. This recipe is a slightly adapted version of Gutenbrunner’s Cherry Strudel. (If you should ever find yourself in New York with some free time on your hands visit the Neue Galerie and take a look at its amazing art collection! It’s one of my absolutely favorite spots in New York.)

Cherry Strudel

1.) For the sweet bread crumbs:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 cup bread crumbs

2.) For the cherry filling:
2 pounds of sour cherries
1/2 cup bread crumbs
2 tablespoons toasted, sliced almonds
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

3.) For the dough:
5 frozen phyllo sheets, thawed
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
Confectioners’ sugar for dusting

Make the sweet bread crumbs:
In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the sugar and cook, stirring occasionally, until it dissolves. 2 to 3 minutes. Add the bread crumbs and cook, whisking constantly, until they are nicely coated and there are no clumps, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat.

2.) Heat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

3.) In a large bowl mix the cherries with the sweet bread crumbs, dry bread crumbs, almonds, cornstarch, vanilla, and softened butter until well combined.

4.) Spread 1 phyllo sheet on the baking sheet with the long side in front of you. Brush it lightly with butter and dust with confectioners’ sugar. Top with the remaining four sheets, brushing each with butter and dusting with confectioners’ sugar.

5.) Mound the cherry filling across the lower third of the phyllo stack, leaving about 3 inches of space at the bottom. Roll up the strudel tightly, tucking in the ends. Position seam side down on the baking tray and brush with butter. Dust with confectioners’ sugar.

6.) Bake the strudel in the center of the oven until golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and let the strudel cool for 5 to 7 minutes.

7.) Directly before serving: Dust the strudel with confectioners’ sugar. Serve warm if possible.

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