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Swiss Cherry Strudel: A Delicate Fusion of Sweetness and Flakiness

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Swiss cherry strudel, known locally as “Kirschstrudel,” is a beloved dessert that embodies the essence of Swiss baking traditions. This delightful pastry combines tart cherries with a flaky, buttery crust, resulting in a treat that is both comforting and indulgent. In this article, we’ll explore the cultural significance of Swiss cherry strudel, highlight the key ingredients that give it its distinctive flavor, and provide you with a step-by-step recipe to create this exquisite dessert at home.

Cultural Significance and Usage

Cherries have a special place in Swiss cuisine, particularly in the regions where they are grown abundantly. Swiss cherry strudel is often enjoyed during the cherry season in late spring and early summer, when these fruits are at their peak freshness. It is a popular dessert served at family gatherings, festivals, and special occasions, reflecting the Swiss love for simple yet flavorful pastries.

Key Ingredients for Swiss Cherry Strudel

To make a delicious Swiss cherry strudel, gather the following ingredients:

For the Cherry Filling:

  • Cherries: 4 cups (about 600g), pitted and halved (fresh or frozen)
  • Granulated Sugar: ¾ cup (150g)
  • Cornstarch: 2 tablespoons
  • Lemon Juice: 1 tablespoon
  • Vanilla Extract: 1 teaspoon
  • Ground Cinnamon: ¼ teaspoon (optional)

For the Strudel Dough:

  • Phyllo Dough: 10-12 sheets, thawed if frozen
  • Unsalted Butter: ½ cup (115g), melted
  • Fine Breadcrumbs: ½ cup (50g), for sprinkling (optional)
  • Powdered Sugar: For dusting

Recipe for Swiss Cherry Strudel

Step 1: Prepare the Cherry Filling

  1. Preheat Oven: Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Prepare Cherries: In a large bowl, toss together the pitted and halved cherries, granulated sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, vanilla extract, and ground cinnamon (if using). Mix well until the cherries are evenly coated.
  3. Cook Cherry Mixture: Transfer the cherry mixture to a saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the cherries release their juices and the mixture thickens slightly, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool completely.

Step 2: Assemble the Strudel

  1. Prepare Phyllo Dough: Lay out one sheet of phyllo dough on a clean kitchen towel. Brush it lightly with melted butter. Place another sheet on top and repeat until you have 5-6 layers of phyllo dough.
  2. Add Cherry Filling: Spread about half of the cherry filling along the length of the phyllo dough, leaving a border of about 2 inches on each side.
  3. Fold and Roll: Fold the short edges of the phyllo dough over the cherry filling to enclose it. Starting from one long edge, carefully roll up the phyllo dough and cherry filling into a log shape.
  4. Seal Ends: Tuck the ends of the strudel under to seal, and place the seam side down on the prepared baking sheet.
  5. Repeat: Repeat the process with the remaining phyllo dough and cherry filling to make a second strudel.

Step 3: Bake the Strudel

  1. Brush with Butter: Brush the tops of the strudels with the remaining melted butter. If desired, sprinkle fine breadcrumbs over the tops for added texture.
  2. Bake: Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until the phyllo dough is golden brown and crisp.
  3. Cool and Serve: Remove from the oven and let the strudels cool on the baking sheet for 10-15 minutes. Dust with powdered sugar before serving.

Serving Suggestions

  • Slice and Serve: Slice the Swiss cherry strudel into portions and serve warm or at room temperature.
  • Accompaniments: Enjoy with a dollop of whipped cream, a scoop of vanilla ice cream, or a drizzle of cherry sauce.

Tips for Perfect Swiss Cherry Strudel

  • Phyllo Dough Handling: Phyllo dough is delicate, so work quickly and cover unused sheets with a damp towel to prevent drying out.
  • Cherry Consistency: Ensure the cherry filling is cooled completely before assembling the strudel to prevent the dough from becoming soggy.
  • Storage: Store any leftover strudel in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in a low oven before serving to restore crispiness.

Conclusion

Swiss cherry strudel is a delightful dessert that captures the essence of Swiss baking with its crisp, flaky layers and sweet-tart cherry filling. Whether enjoyed as a comforting treat with coffee or tea, or served as a stunning dessert at a gathering, Swiss cherry strudel is sure to impress with its simplicity and deliciousness. By following this recipe, you can bring a taste of Swiss tradition into your own kitchen and delight your family and friends with this exquisite pastry.

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Written by Robert Zelesky

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