Cherry Cheesecake Strudel

Ingredients

25g softened cream cheese
200 g ricotta
⅓ cup caster sugar
1 large egg
1 tbsp lemon zest
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract or paste
600g cherries drained and patted dry with paper towel (I can’t stress this enough)
12- 18 sheets of filo pastry
100g melted butter for brushing pastry
½ cup crushed walnuts or almond meal
½ cup Almond Flakes
12 sheets of filo or if you love pastry go the whole 18 sheets you normally get in the packet!

Lemon Cream

300ml thickened cream
zest of one lemon
½ tsp Vanilla bean paste or extract
Beat until you have a soft pillow of whipped cream for serving!

Method

Heat oven to 180degrees.

Line a baking tray with baking paper.

Drain cherries in a colander, then grab some paper towels and gently press to squeeze out excess liquid.

Leave paper towel in the colander to soak up remaining liquid while you work on the cream cheese mix.

NOTE: I can’t stress this step enough. You don’t want cherry liquid through your strudel.. trust me I have done it before!

Place cream cheese, ricotta, sugar, egg, lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla extract into a stand mixer and beat until completely mixed and creamy.

Leave aside while you work on your pastry. If you’re not getting started on the pastry straight away, just pop your cream cheese mix in the fridge.

When layering the filo pastry I’m working towards the goal of making a larger sheet of pastry than the normal single sheet size.

Lay the first sheet of filo on the bench, orientated the same way as when you turn your phone sideways to watch videos, and brush with butter.

Stagger the second sheet to cover only the bottom half of the first sheet.

You should now have a large squarish filo, which you will continue to build upon.

Place the third sheet the same as the first one so that it covers the top half of the second sheet

Place the fourth in the same position as the second.

Continue alternating top and bottom until you have around 6-8 layers, then place a sheet (still orientated sideways) in the very centre to “lock” all the sheets in place, scattering the walnuts over the layers every now and then.

Go back to alternating top and bottom, placing a central piece every 6-8 layers until you have either used all the pastry or used enough for what you like.

Now pop your cream cheese mix into the centre of the pastry (landscape orientation) and pop your cherries in the middle.

Roll your filo around the filling, nice and firmly. Brush with butter as you roll.

Fold in the ends of the pastry towards the centre of the roll, and brush the outside of your strudel with butter.

If you have any remaining melted butter, mix your almonds through to give them a cheeky coating, then scatter on top of the strudel.

Place your strudel on a lined baking tray on the middle oven shelf for 45-50 mins until golden brown.

Allow to cool completely before dusting with icing sugar.

Slice and serve with your gorgeous lemon cream.

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