Saturday, September 5, 2009

Cheese Strudel

What comes to your mind when you hear "Cheese Strudel" ?



For some people it may seem like something rather scary as this pastry needs those paper thin layers, but it can also be fun if you decide to give it a try and let your fears aside. That is - if you have never baked this delicacy at home.
Imagine layers upon layers of phyllo dough with butter in between them and with layers of cheese nested by the phyllo pastry.
I will post a few pictures so you can see how I make it.
Trust me, the recipes out there are endless and I have mastered mine over time and made it so it does not dry out, but gives you a smooth velvety cheese pastry. Yum.
Even though I chose to use store bough phyllo dough, you can always make your own, at home.

Ingredients:
15 oz ricotta cheese which is 426 gr (or farmer's cheese if you can find it)
1/2 teaspoon orange zest (or lemon or lime)
2-4 TBSP sugar (add a little at a time and taste it as you add to make sure it suits your taste)
1 egg, beaten
pinch of salt (1/8 teaspoon)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 to 1/4 almond extract (do not increase or it will become bitter)
1/2 to 3/4 cup milk
3-4 TBSP butter, melted
1/2 package phyllo dough
1 toothpick to poke holes for the pastry to vent

Directions:
Start by choosing your pan. Mine was a 6.5 X 8.5 inches.
Spray or butter your pan and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 375 F.
Make sure your frozen phyllo dough is thawed.
Choose a medium size bowl and place the ricotta cheese in it, along with the egg, zest, salt, vanilla and almond extracts and a bit of the sugar.


Use your whisk of an electric mixer to combine until a smooth paste forms.
Taste it and add more sugar if you wish.


One good thing to have in mind is to count all your phyllo sheets and decide how many layers of cheese you want.
Like for example my strudel had 4 layers of cheese, therefore I needed 5 layers of phyllo sheets.
So after you decide all that and you counted your phyllo sheets, divide the number of sheets by the number of layers of cheese plus 1. Cause you will need to have phyllo at the base as well as on top. Yes? Of course. Or you can choose to be a rebel and just eyeball it, like I do.
Now that you have figured all that out, take those layers and lay them at the bottom of the pan.
Spread some of the melted butter and using a wide spoon, make sure you coat the dough evenly. (You can very well use Pam spray or any other butter flavored spray instead of butter.)
Spread some cheese.
Repeat with the phyllo, butter, cheese and so on until all the layers are finished.
At some point you may run out of butter, in which case you need to use milk. It's ok, nobody will know. And I won't tell.
Now you need to take your toothpick and poke holes in random spots so the pastry can vent during the baking process.
After poking holes, pour the milk and place the pan in the oven (and be proud of yourself).
If it looks wet and you think you have a pool of milk in there, don't worry !
That's how it's supposed to be !

And let it bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until golden on top.


You did it !
Taste it while still warm and be sure to grab a glass of milk with it !

11 comments:

  1. If I could order this cheese strudel I would, instantly

    ReplyDelete
  2. bun, bun....nu am mancat demult asa o bunatate si am opoftaaa

    ReplyDelete
  3. This looks awesome! I'm going to buy phyllo TODAY!!! I have farmers cheese in the fridge, would that do, or I should better use ricotta?

    ReplyDelete
  4. I'd go for farmer's cheese, I think it's even better than ricotta.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I see my comment from last night doesn't show...
    Just wanted to say Thank You for the recipe! It was soooo good! I used farmers and ricotta mixed, cause my pan was bigger. It didn't rise as high as yours but the taste is definitely a keeper. So glad I made it!
    Next comes the apple challah! :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. I'm really happy about that Judith !
    Now on the Challah do not use any other means of mixing or kneading the dough, other than your own 2 hands.
    If you use a bread machine, for example, the dough will be soooooooooo wet that you will HAVE TO keep adding more flour and the original recipe will be altered.
    Also, I made half of the recipe, increased the yeast by 1 gram and used instant yeast instead of active dry and used 2 apples instead of almost 1 apple, like I should have.All in all, do follow the recipe to the letter and you will get a wonderful honey apple challah.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hello Catalina,

    Yesterday I was browsing some cheese strudel photos on google. I found your strudel the most attractive and yummiest! So made it yesterday and it`s all gone. Me and my boyfriend ate all of it!
    So yummy!!

    Look at my photos here http://cookandbakeup.blogspot.com/

    Thanks again for the recipe.

    ReplyDelete
  8. simple and delicious

    ReplyDelete
  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I just finished making this recipe and am waiting anxiously for it to come out of the oven. I made my own farmer's cheese before hand, and it was really easy and delicious. Here's the link: http://easteuropeanfood.about.com/od/cheeses/ss/Step-By-Step-Instructions-For-Making-Farmers-Cheese.htm

    Next time I will only add 1 tsp of salt (to the cheese). Thanks for the great recipe

    ReplyDelete