Inspired by a recent visit to Austria, I thought I would make a strudel… with some spring / early summer flavors to boot. I was actually a little concerned that the tart cherries and rhubarb — which is tart as well — would be a little much, but it turned out quite nice. Perfect for an afternoon cuppa.
for the pastry
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/3 cup chilled solid vegetable shortening, diced
6 tablespoons (or more) ice water
for the filling
2 pounds tart cherries, pitted and cut in half or quarters
1 pound young rhubarb, diced to 1/2 inch pieces
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons butter, melted
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup granulated
2 tablespoons corn starch mixed with 3 tablespoons cold water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg, with a tablespoon of water for egg wash
Granulated raw sugar, for sprinkling
Blend flour, sugar and salt in processor. Add butter and shortening and cut in using on/off turns until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add 6 tablespoons ice water and process until moist clumps form, adding more water by teaspoonfuls if dough is dry. Gather into ball, and flatten into a rectangular disk. Wrap in plastic and chill 2 hours.
While the dough is chilling, make your filling. In a medium sauté pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the rhubarb first and sauté for a few minutes until it becomes tender. Then add the cherries and sauté for a few more minutes.
Add the sugar, spices and salt and continue to sauté until the sugar has dissolved. If it is very liquidy, pour off a bit of the liquid. Then, add the corn starch slurry, bring back up to a rolling boil to thicken. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.
Preheat oven to 425F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
Cut off about 1/3 of the pastry and set aside. Roll the remaining pastry sheet into a 16×12-inch rectangle. Move to the baking sheet, laying it on one side (one part should be lying off the sheet; you will roll the filing to the middle so the seam is on the bottom). Spoon the cherry-rhubarb mixture lengthwise down the center of the pastry. Fold over the other side and seal by pinching together the two edges and the end. Gently roll the pastry to the middle of the baking sheet.
Taking the remaining third of the dough, divide into three balls, make three long snakes and braid together. Divide the braids to three (these will be used to “wrap” the strudel for decoration). Brush the pastry with the egg mixture and then “glue” the braids to the strudel. Brush the braids with egg wash as well and then sprinkle with the raw sugar.
Bake for 25 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown. Let the pastry cool on the baking sheet on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Dust with confectioner’s sugar before serving (optional). Serve as is or with whipped cream, vanilla sauce or ice cream.