Make Ahead

An Old Favorite: Classic Cherry Strudel

December 16, 2014
5 Ratings
  • Makes 3 Strudels
Author Notes

My aunt Klara was famous for her scrumptious strudels. I remember her coming over to our home carrying a tray or a couple shoe boxes covered with parchment paper full of apple, cheese, or sour cherry strudels any day of the week. Our relatives and friends always remarked that Klara’s were the best strudels they had ever tasted.

My dear aunt is long gone, but her delectable strudels are still fresh in my memory. It's these old favorite desserts from the Classic Cafés of Vienna, Budapest and Prague made by our mothers, grandmothers or aunts, that we always treasure the most.
Although Apple is the fruit which is mostly used in Strudels, Sour cherries have always been my favorite filling for strudels. Unfortunately their season is very short and I most of the time use frozen; then defrost them and drain before using.


What You'll Need
  • For the Strudel dough
  • • 3 cups of unbleached all-purpose flour + about 1/4 to 1/2 cup for dusting and rolling
  • • 1 extra-large egg, room temperature
  • • 3 tablespoons any neutral oil (I used Sunflower seed oil), divided
  • • 1/2 cup or a little more (if needed) lukewarm water
  • • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter or more (if needed), melted
  • • Confectioners' sugar for dusting
  • For the Sour Cherry filling
  • • 4 heaping cups sour or sweet cherries (pitted). If you cannot find them fresh, frozen will work well too or add some lemon juice to sweet cherries. Defrost and drain them before using
  • • Zest of one lemon
  • • 1/2 cup of confectioners' sugar +1/2 teaspoon cinnamon + 1/2 cup ground walnuts, mixed together in a small bowl
  1. In a mixing bowl combine the egg, 1 tablespoon of oil, water and vinegar. Add the flour and mix until soft dough forms. Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes until it doesn’t stick to your hands and the working surface, adding as little extra flour as possible.
  2. Divide the dough into three equal parts, roll into balls; brush each ball with the remaining oil and place in a large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes to one hour.
  3. Prepare the cherry filling by combining the cherries, lemon zest and confectioners' sugar, cinnamon and ground walnuts mixture in a large bowl. Set aside. (If you use sweet cherries, add some fresh lemon juice to your taste).
  4. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper. Melt the butter.
  5. Cover a table or a large wooden board with a cotton tablecloth and coat with flour. Place one ball of the dough and roll it into a rectangle 1/8-inch thick.
  6. Very gently pull the dough with your hands in all directions to a very thin, transparent layer; then cut away the thicker dough around the edges with scissors.
  7. Brush the dough liberally with melted butter. Place 1/3 of the cherry filling along one long edge in a 2-inches-wide strip and about 2- inches from the edges.
  8. Use the tablecloth to roll the strudel away from you, like a jellyroll, until it is completely rolled; then tuck in ends of the strudel and place on the cookie sheet seam-side down.
  9. Repeat the same process with the remaining two balls of dough and the cherry filling. Arrange all three strudels on the prepared cookie sheet. Brush the top with butter and bake for 45 to 60 minutes or until the strudels are golden brown and shiny on top.
  10. Remove from oven, and brush the strudels with more melted butter. Cool slightly and then cut on an angle into slices. Dust with confectioners' sugar. Serve as is or with a dollop of whipped cream or scoop of ice cream.

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6 Reviews

Tom July 16, 2015
Thanks, I made these yesterday and they came off without a hitch. I baked one and froze the other two for baking at a later date. The filling was very clean-tasting, with nothing to mask the fresh cherry flavor. I was a bit concerned when it came time to stretch the dough by hand but in the end I wound up with a nice thin sheet of pastry that held the filling without any problem. So nice to find an option for using fresh sour cherries other than cherry pie (not that I don't love cherry pie).
Kukla July 16, 2015
I am very happy Tom that you baked the strudel and enjoyed it!!! Hope you'll use this dough to bake many more strudels with sweet and savory fillings.
Thanks for the warm comment!!!
Tom July 14, 2015
Kukla, this looks like a great recipe. I just bought a couple of pounds of fresh tart cherries and would like to make strudel tomorrow. Two questions:
1) How long should each strudel be? I know the dough should be stretched thin but am unsure about what the finished length should be.
2)Should I discard the cherry juice that results from pitting the cherries, or is it okay to incorporate into the filling?
Kukla July 15, 2015
I always collect the juice and cook it with a little sugar until it gets thicker but pourable and like to drizzle on the finish strudel. The length should be depending on the size of your baking sheets. Do not forget to let the dough rest and and the strudels will come out beautifully.
anka May 3, 2015
Hi Kukla
Your strudel looks absolutely delicious.
The funny thing is, I have sour cherry in my freezer, waiting to be put in use for strudel.
My absolute fever is apple strudel but cherry is right there. My ante us to make carrot and resins or strudel with fresh farmer cheese but sweet version in our house we prefer salty with or without shredded young green pumpkin or this days zucchini.
Our recipe for dough is the same, we just don't use egg.
Kukla May 3, 2015
Thank you anka! I would like very much to hear your opinion if you decide to bake the strudel.