Courtesy of Chef Dino Lubbat, Dinotto Ristorante, Chicago
- 2 pounds fresh ricotta cheese, drained overnight
- 24 sheets Athens® Phyllo Dough (9″ x 14″), thawed
- 1 3/4 cups sugar
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 tablespoon lemon peel, finely grated
- 2 teaspoons orange peel, finely grated
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs
- 24 ounces frozen dark sweet pitted cherries (about 3 cups), thawed, drained, juices reserved (or 2-1/2 pounds fresh cherries, pitted, drained, juice reserved)
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons Cointreau (orange-flavored liqueur) or cherry (maraschino) liqueur
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- Cooking spray
- Powdered sugar, for garnish
Line large strainer with double layer of cheesecloth; set over deep bowl. Place ricotta cheese in the strainer to drain excess liquid. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight, or at least 8 hours. Squeeze out as much liquid as possible, discarding liquid.
Thaw two rolls of phyllo, following thawing instructions on package. Preheat oven to 375°F.
Using an electric mixer, in a medium bowl, mix drained ricotta, sugar, butter, lemon peel, orange peel and vanilla. Mix about 4 minutes until smooth. Slowly add eggs, one at a time. Then, increase speed of mixer and beat about 4 minutes until light and foamy. Refrigerate to thicken. Divide into eight equal portions.
In a medium bowl, mix drained cherries, 1 cup sugar, liqueur and lemon juice. Marinate for at least one hour. Drain the cherry mixture, reserving liquid. Spread out two cups of cherries on layers of paper towels to dry for filling; reserve remaining cup of cherries for sauce.
Unroll and cover phyllo with plastic wrap and then a slightly damp towel to prevent drying out. On a sheet of parchment or wax paper, layer 6 sheets of phyllo lightly spraying each sheet with cooking spray. Starting with long side closest to you, about 2 inches from edge of dough, spoon 1 portion of the thickened ricotta mixture lengthwise in a 3-inch-wide log, leaving a 3-inch plain border on short sides. Press 1/4 of the drained cherries lightly into top of ricotta mixture, spacing evenly. Add a another portion of ricotta cheese mixture on top. Roll the phyllo starting at long side closest to you, fold up dough over filling. Gradually roll up strudel, enclosing filling completely. Pinch ends to seal. Spray the outside of the strudel with cooking spray for a golden brown strudel.
Using the parchment paper, transfer strudel to baking sheet, seam side down. Repeat this process three more times to make four strudels. Cut several 1-inch long scores along top. Bake strudels 30 minutes or until they are firm and golden brown (strudel may crack and juices may spill onto sheet). Run thin knife under strudel to loosen. Cool on sheet.
In a small saucepan, over low heat, bring reserved cherry liquid to boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Boil until slightly thickened, about 4 minutes. Stir in reserved cup of cherries. Cool sauce completely.
Cut strudel into serving portions. Pour Cherry Sauce over the strudel just before serving and garnish with powdered sugar.
Serving size: 1 slice (90g), Amount per serving: Calories 200, Total Fat – 5g, Saturated fat – 3g, Trans Fat – 0g, Cholesterol – 40mg, Sodium – 90 mg, Dietary Fiber – 1g, Total Carbohydrate – 33g, Sugars – 27g, Protein – 4g, Vitamin D –0%, Potassium – 6%, Calcium 25%, Iron 6%
- It is very important that the ricotta drains for at least 8 hours, otherwise the filling will be too watery.
- If using fresh cherries, purchase cherry juice and add to the drained juices to measure 1-1/2 cups total — the fresh cherries won’t release as much juice as frozen ones.
- Instead of cooking spray, brush with 1/2 cup melted butter.
- Use butter-flavored cooking spray, if desired.