Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Daring Bakers: Strudel

Ricotta and Cherry Strudel

Can we say down to the wire? Normally when I learn what the DB challenge is, I have it completed within a week or two. This one was done just a few hours ago! Oh yes, the required lines:

The May Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Linda of make life sweeter! and Courtney of Coco Cooks. They chose Apple Strudel from the recipe book Kaffeehaus: Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Caf├ęs of Vienna, Budapest, and Prague by Rick Rodgers.

I have managed to keep myself surprisingly busy lately, which is part of the reason why I just completed my challenge today. I knew I wanted to make something a little more seasonal. Originally I had planned on doing a strawberry strudel, but lately cherries have been all over the farmers market. I saw a recipe for ricotta and cherry strudel and I knew that was what I would be making. It was especially lucky that I already had ricotta left from my Daring Cooks challenge a few weeks ago. I used the dough from the challenge and then played around with the filling.

Ricotta Strudel

The dough came together very easily in the stand mixer, but it can also be done by hand. While the dough was resting, I went to work on my filling. I ended up making two small strudels because I wanted to test the stretching of the dough without having to make a double batch. One strudel had cherries baked inside as well as a cherry sauce on top and the other was only filled with the remaining ricotta and topped with the cherry sauce. I think I preferred the plain ricotta strudel topped with the sauce which gave some flavor to the bland dough. Rolling and stretching turned out to be easier than I thought. I probably could have gotten the dough thinner, but with time not on my side, I went with what I had.

I would love to try this again and make a savory filling instead. People got very creative with their fillings, be sure to check the other Daring Bakers' sites to see how they did. The dough recipe and tips can be found here or here. Recipe for the filling is below.

Ricotta and Cherry Strudel
(Adapted from Lidia Bastianich for Bon Appetit, May 2007)

Ricotta filling:
8 ounces whole-milk fresh ricotta cheese
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg

Cherry filling:
8 ounces cherries, halved and pitted, reserve any juices
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon triple sec

Crumb filling:
6 tablespoons finely ground graham cracker crumbs
1 tablespoon sugar

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

To make the ricotta filling:
Line a strainer with a double layer of cheesecloth and set over a deep bowl. Place the ricotta in the strainer and allow to drain overnight in the refrigerator. Squeeze the cheesecloth to drain as much liquid as possible from the mixture.

Using an electric mixture, beat the ricotta, sugar and lemon zest until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg until well incorporated. Refrigerate while preparing the cherries and stretching the dough.

To make the cherry filling:
In a medium bowl, mix together the cherries, any juices, the sugar, lemon juice and triple sec. Allow to sit for an hour or so for the flavors to come together.

Drain half of the cherry mixture and save the juices. Use the drained cherries in the strudel. Use the remaining cherries and juices to make a sauce. Place them in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook until the mixture has thickened, about 4-8 minutes.

To make the crumb filling:
Mix the crumbs and the sugar.

To assemble the strudel, brush the stretched out dough with some of the melted butter. Lay a thin layer of the crumbs in the center of the dough. Top with some of the ricotta mixture and then gently press the drained cherries into the ricotta. Roll the dough and brush the top with more melted butter. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Let the strudel sit for 30 minutes before cutting into it. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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Michelle said...

WOW...this looks incredible! The layers are so light and crispy!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Very well done! I love your choice of filling!



Anonymous said...

Not only does your strudel sound delicious, but your photos are spectacular! Gorgeous everything! Perfect layers, plating et al. :)

Unknown said... un placer ver tu foto, dan ganas de comerse el ordenador

Kathleen said...

Great photography! I think cherry/ricotta will be my next flavor, now that I know strudels are so easy!

Zita said...

Aww... so pretty and colourfull... sweet :)

Erica said...

Looks great and I'm sure it would make a wonderful weekend breakfast. I haven't had any cherries yet but cannot wait to get my hands on some!

Angry Asian said...

your choice of filling looks wonderful and decadent!

Jo said...

Great job on your challenge and love the layers of the strudel. The pairing of fruits and colours are fantastic.

vanillasugarblog said...

At first I thought there were grapes in there and I was like oh wonderful. I didn't know they were cherries! Either one is fabulous. You have to have a lightbox for all these very clear photos.

Mary Bergfeld said...

This really does look incredible. I'll bet it tastes as good as it looks.

Hayley said...

Awesome job Esi! I love any dessert that includes ricotta. Thanks for sharing!

Evan said...

Great job! That looks super yummy. I don't think I'm a daring baker anymore. This makes the 3rd challenge in a row that I have not even attempted, and I completely forgot to post that on the website. Big fat OOPS!!! Oh well. Fabulous job Esi!

Reeni said...

Ricotta and cherry is the perfect flavor combo! These look like such delicious treats!

Anonymous said...

Love how flaky your dough is, and ricotta and cherries sound so great!

Jen Yu said...

Oh hon, I hear ya. I am busier than ever while "unemployed" ;) Makes me wonder about this whole job thing *snort*. Your strudel looks awesome and I too was a down to the wire this month. Kudos to you!

Diana said...

Way to get it in under the wire! You'd never know it from the pictures! This makes me extremely hungry for cherries. May need to make a special trip to the Farmer's Market for some this weekend! Yum! I love summer fruits! :)

Unknown said...

ricotta and cherries? lovely!

Kate said...

I might have to get over my strudel fear (they lost me at "counter space") because I have a boatload of cherries to use up and this looks amazing. I do have some phyllo in my fridge too -- maybe an adaptation!

unconfidentialcook said...

I just can't wait for the cherries...and with ricotta--yum! The whole thing looks beautiful.

Heather said...

wow - that is so flaky and beautiful! and the cherries add such nice color! love it!

Engineer Baker said...

Ricotta and cherry sounds fabulous! Looks great too :)

Donna-FFW said...

Your filling sounds brilliant! Love the idea of that pairing. And your photo is unbelievable!

Chef Fresco said...

What a beautiful pic!

Unknown said...

Fresh cherries ARE the best! Looks great.

angela@spinachtiger said...

That is beautiful. Cherries make the world a better place!

Esi said...

Hey everyone, thanks for visiting! I am slowly making back to all of your pages.

Dawn, I use a light that I love.

Ev, hope you make it back into the DB circle :)

Jen, unemployment/shmoyment. I have been so busy but apparently will be even more busy soon *sigh*

Diana, the cherries are looking better and better each week. Hope you get some soon.

Kate, my counters are small so I used my dining room table for the stretching.

Olga said...

Beautiful! And so creative :)

Totally agree with you on trying a savory filling. Not sure when I'll find the time though.

kellypea said...

I was tempted to use the ricotta I had left from the Gnocchi, but decided to save it for something else. I'm drooling over your pick for it here, of course. Nice flaky pastry...very nice!

jillian said...

I was also down to the wire. Yours looks delicious!

Andrea said...

Glad you're staying buys! Also, this is the best filling idea ever. Seriously, it looks delicious and your photos are great!

Lauren said...

Yum!! Your strudel looks amazing!! I love what you did with the cherries and ricotta =D.

linda said...

Love your filling, delicious!

Marta said...

I went around checking out the strudel recipes and I love your version, very simple and Italian-inclined: that's perfection for me! Plus, showcasing cherries against the mild, creamy ricotta backdrop is a great idea :)

Angelica said...

wow, this strudel was baked to perfection! I love the layers, especially the airiness of the ricotta.