Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Cherry Strudel

Using Filo pastry makes this favorite fruit-filled dessert easy and fuss-free to prepare. Recipe makes 2 strudels.


12 sheets ready-made filo pastry
2 1/2 ounces (75 g) unsalted butter, melted
2 1/2 ounces (75 g) crushed Madeira cake crumbs or trifle sponge
Icing sugar, to dust
1 1/2 pound (720 g) jar or tin pitted cherries in syrup
8 teaspoons cornflour or arrowroot
1 teaspoon vanilla flavoring essence
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon


1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Lightly grease 2 large baking trays with melted butter.
2. For the filling, drain the cherries and reserve the syrup. Blend the cornflour, smoothly and gradually with 1 cup syrup in a saucepan. Bring to boil over a medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened. Simmer gently for 1 minute. Remove from the heat. Stir in the cherries, vanilla and cinnamon. Allow to cool.
3. Unfold the sheets of filo pastry, but cover with clear plastic wrap and a damp tea towel. Layer 2 sheets together and brush with melted butter. Layer 2 more sheets on top and brush with more butter. Repeat once more.
4. Spoon half the filling along one long edge of the pastry. Sprinkle with half the cake crumbs. Brush the short edges with a little cold water, then roll up the strudel from the long edge, enclosing the cherry filling.
5. Press the edges together to seal. Lift onto a baking tray, seam-side down, and brush with more butter. Make another strudel as directed and place onto the second baking tray.
6. Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Transfer the baking trays to wire cooling racks to cool for 15 minutes, then lift the strudels onto the wire racks to cool. Dust with icing sugar, slice diagonally, and serve.

Tip: Madeira cake may be bought in most supermarkets. Trifle sponges are sold from some cake shops. You can also use crumbs from suitable leftover homemade cakes.

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