This recipe for Croatian Sour Cherry Strudel — Štrudlu s Višnjama — is made with dark, tart Morello (preferred) or bright red tart Montmorency cherries to earn its "sour cherry" name. This is just one variation of a classic Croatian strudel.
While homemade strudel dough is the best, #7 (thicker than #4 which is used for baklava) filo dough can be used. Here's a larger photo of Croatian sour cherry strudel.
Makes 12 to 15 servings of Croatian Sour Cherry Strudel
- For the Strudel Dough:
- 1/2 cup lukewarm water
- 1/2 teaspoon vinegar
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon cold butter
- For the Cherry Strudel Filling:
- 8 cups sour cherries (washed, stemmed and pitted)
- 2 teaspoons lemon (grated)
- Optional: zest
- 1 1/2 to 2 cups sugar or to taste
- Melted butter
- 3/4 cup walnuts (ground)
- Garnish: confectioners' sugar for dusting
- Flour for sprinkling on the tablecloth
Make the Strudel Dough
In a small bowl, mix 1/2 cup lukewarm water, 1/2 teaspoon vinegar and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Place 2 cups all-purpose flour in a large bowl and cut in 1 tablespoon cold butter in as for pie dough. Add water mixture and stir by hand for about 5 minutes or until dough becomes smooth.
Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes, adding as little extra flour as possible. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest 30 minutes.
Make the Sour Cherry Filling
Meanwhile, prepare the cherry filling by combining 8 cups washed, stemmed and pitted sour cherries, 2 teaspoons lemon zest, if using, and 1 1/2 to 2 cups sugar in a large bowl. Set aside.
Stretch the Dough
Cover a large table with a clean cotton tablecloth (it will become stained from the fat in the dough, so use an old tablecloth). Sprinkle the cloth generously with flour. Place the dough in the center of the cloth and brush it with melted butter. Roll the dough to a 1/8-inch thickness.
Begin stretching the dough either over the backs of your hands or palm-side up, whichever works best for you. Work quickly, continually lifting the dough and stretching it by pulling your hands apart until it is almost paper thin and drapes over the sides of the table. See our recipe for making Serbian Cheese Strudel to get the idea. Using kitchen shears, trim off the thicker outer edges of the strudel dough.
Fill and Bake the Strudel
Place rack in the middle of oven and heat to 400 F. Brush the stretched dough liberally with melted butter. Place the cherry filling along one long edge in a 3-inch-wide strip, 2 inches from the edges. Sprinkle ground walnuts over the filling.
Use the tablecloth to roll the strudel away from you, jellyroll fashion, until it is completely rolled. Brush the top of the strudel with melted butter. Cut into sections that will fit your baking sheets and tuck in ends of strudel.
Place parchment on baking sheets and transfer strudel sections to them, seam-side down. Bake 10 minutes, reduce heat to 375 F and bake 20 to 25 minutes more or until strudel is crisp and golden.
Remove from oven, cool slightly and then cut on an angle into slices. Dust with confectioners' sugar. You may also cool completely to make the slicing easier and then rewarm in a microwave. Dust with confectioners' sugar and serve as is or with a dollop of whipped cream or scoop of ice cream.