When the springtime is gently turning into the first real hot days of summer (hot in all-day-barefoot way), and the trees decide to change their enchanting flowers into the first voluptuous fruits, everyone knows that’s the time for a first true treat made from the fresh sour cherries. At least it was the case (still is) in my entire life, and I guess in the lives of many Europeans – especially in Hungary and Austria, where bakeries and coffee shops are famous for this kind of delicacy. Its name is the sour cherry strudel. Germans call it Weichselstrudel, and Hungarians Meggyes Rétes. Many cooks that I know make it with similar, sometimes identical ingredients, and yet, each strudel has slightly diverse taste. I especially love traditional sour cherry strudels which our aunts or grandmas bake at Sunday, but those are made with homemade paper-thin dough and their preparation requires special skills and plenty of time. So, as many other admirers of a sour cherry strudel, I decided to create a version of recipe that will satisfy our modern view on food and fast life tempo as well. So, this strudel is a vegan sour cherry strudel that needs just a few ingredients, it’s quite easy to make and your youngest family members could prepare it in a matter of minutes. And what’s most important, it will always taste great, surprising your taste buds with a rich, perfectly balanced sour-sweet flavor which will be remembered as a true pastry delicacy. After you try it, I am sure you’ll wait impatiently every year for the first days of summer to have a slice or two of this vegan strudel.
2 damp towels
small cooking pot
1 kg / 35 ounces or 3 ½ cup pitted sour cherries*
12 sheets phyllo dough
2 packages (86 grams / 3 ounces) instant vanilla pudding powder
120 to 150 grams / 4 ½ to 5 ounces sugar
½ vanilla bean
3 tablespoons almonds
6 tablespoons vegan butter
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
Vegan Sour Cherry Strudel Recipe
For this recipe you should use only fresh or frozen sour cherries – the canned ones are not suitable for this kind of strudel.
And if you plan to use fresh cherries, it is important to make this cherry pie immediately after you have pitted your cherries. This way you’ll not let cherries release all their juices and spoil fine sheets of phyllo pastry. For the same reason, you should use just partly defrosted frozen cherries.
And if you can choose which cherries to use, do not use the Montmorency cherry types – they are not so tasty when baked. This vegan strudel tastes great with North Star cherries, or even better the Morello sour cherry types.
As for the sugar goes, its amount depends on the type of sugar you plan to use. So far I have used the regular white sugar, coconut sugar, and for this occasion I added 150 grams / 5 ounces of fancy demerara sugar, which has nice caramel-like flavor and it added a special note to this strudel.
Preheat the oven to 180ºC / 350ºF.
Sprinkle the baking tray with a few drops of water, then line bottom with the parchment paper.
Pit / half-defrost your cherries and combine it in a larger bowl with vanilla pudding, sugar, vanilla bean paste and finely chopped almonds.
Lay one towel onto your working surface.
Take the phyllo dough, unroll it and cover with the second damp towel.
Divide phyllo sheets into 3 stacks – we’ll make three vegan cherry strudels.
Lightly melt vegan butter (or use some neutral vegetable oil).
Spread the first phyllo sheet and brush it lightly with melted butter. Top it with the next phyllo sheet, brush it with butter and repeat that with third sheet. Brush just the edges of the last phyllo sheet with butter. Now spread one third of sour cherries mixture evenly on the last sheet, avoiding buttery borders.
Fold both edges first, then roll loosely dough to make strudel. Using towel underneath, place the sour cherry strudel seam-side down onto the baking tray.
Repeat the procedure two more times with the rest of material.
Bake for approximately 30 min or until lightly golden. After 15 minutes of baking, take the strudels out of the oven, and brush them with butter.
Let it cool underneath the towel for at least 20 minutes before slicing.
Sprinkle each sour cherry strudel slice with powdered sugar and enjoy its impeccable taste!
Guten Appetit & Jó étvágyat!
*For 1 kg / 35 ounces you will need approximately 1 ½ kg / 48 ounces unpitted sour cherries.