It’s been too long since I’ve written! I needed a little hiatus from baking; well, not needed, but had to take. Life has been busy in the new year, and I’m focused on my new diet…not a dessert-free diet of course! I couldn’t possibly go without that. However, I’m trying on a vegan diet for size to see how it feels. This doesn’t mean I’ll be baking any less of course. I’ll cover that more in a different post.
For now, let’s get to the yummies. I found this recipe in The Joy of Vegan Baking when I borrowed it from my friend Michelle. Everything in there just looked so delicious, and I’m amazed when something can turn out beautifully without eggs and butter so I decided to take a gander at the pages. This seemed easy and exquisite with the combination of fresh cherries, chocolate, and almonds wrapped up in a neat little flaky, buttery package. If you feel too unsure about using a butter replacement, then stick with unsalted butter. You’ll get the same browning effect either way, and the taste won’t change. It may just be slightly greasier than the vegan-friendly version.
Cherry Chocolate Almond Strudel
Stuff You’ll Need
Makes 2 strudel rolls, 6 small slices in each
- 12-16 sheets of filo dough
- 1/3 cup crushed graham cracker crumbs, honey or cinnamon flavored
- 1/2 cup slivered or ground almonds
- 1/2 cup nondairy semisweet chocolate chips
- 1 cup fresh cherries, rinsed, pitted, and sliced in half
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup Earth Balance buttery sticks, melted (or 1/2 cup unsalted butter for you dairy lovers)
- Granulated sugar, nutmeg, and cinnamon for sprinkling on top
- 2 cookie sheets
- Parchment paper
- Pastry brush
How to Do It
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F, and line cookie sheets with a single sheet of parchment paper.
- Mix the cherries, chocolate chips, almonds, sugar, and graham cracker crumbs in a small bowl until evenly blended. It’s better to use your hands than a spoon or whisk because the cherries are sticky and difficult to blend with the other ingredients.
- Place a sheet of filo dough directly on the parchment paper on the pan, and brush generously with the melted butter. Layer another sheet on top of this one, and brush again with melted butter. Continue to layer them until you’ve got 6-8 sheets (use 6 if you haven’t used much butter, use 8 if you have), and do not brush the top sheet. Repeat the process on the second cookie sheet.
- Split the blended ingredients in half, and spread each half across the a buttered filo dough. Start by placing the filling in the center of the dough, and leave at least two inches of space from the edges on all sides.
- Fold the bottom edge of the dough up so it partially covers the filling, and brush the edge with a little melted butter. Fold the top edge of the dough over the filling, and gently roll the dough until you have a compact log. Seal the edge you’ve folded over by brushing a little melted butter on it. Place the strudel seamside down on the pan, and brush the top with melted butter. Sprinkle generously with granulated sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
- Bake for 20 minutes, or until the strudel is golden brown. Remove, and cool on the pan before slicing.
Recipe adapted from The Joy of Vegan Baking by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau
Ingredient Tip: I never buy boxes of graham cracker crumbs because it seems like a waste. I always crush the graham crackers themselves, often while they’re still in the individual packages. One package in a standard-sized box yields about one cup of crumbs, and if you crush them while they’re still enclosed in the package, you can just pour them out all at once. The whole crackers seem to keep longer than the boxes of crumbs so they’re easier to keep in the cabinet. Oh, and you’ll have snacks while you’re baking.
Tip: Keep the sheets of dough you’re not using wrapped in a slightly damp cloth. It will keep them from drying out while you’re working.
Extra Tip: If you’re not able to serve the strudel immediately, keep it refrigerated, and nuke it for 30 seconds or so before enjoying. They’re delicious when the chocolate is all melty.