Saturday, April 14, 2012

Strawberry Thyme Cheese Strudel


I know, you're probably getting tired of strawberry recipes - but this one can be made with any filling you like. You can just use the cheese filling and it would be similar to the cheese rolls at my favorite bakery Portos Bakery (although I'm convinced they can never be identically duplicated. They are AMAZING!) Or you could use any combination of fruit filling: lemon, blueberry, raspberry, huckleberry, peach, apricot, mango . . . you get the idea.
   So, I was breaking down some strawberries in my food processor, so I could freeze some strawberry puree available in the non-berry months and an idea came to me. "You could boil this down to almost a jam-like consistency and use it for a strudel." So, I immediately grabbed a pot, dumped the entire batch of puree in and put it on the stove.
   I then thought I should taste it, to see if it needed sugar, and it did. Then, another brilliant thought came to me from up above and I grabbed my jar of dry thyme and added some to the strawberries. I saw the lemons on the counter and thought that would be nice too, so the juice of 1/2 lemon went in. I boiled it for about 30 minutes until it reduced by 1/2 and now I had my strawberry jam-like filling.
   I apologize for not having pictures of any of this, but it was all so spontaneous, I didn't think to go unhook my camera from the computer (I was uploading photos for my Slow-Cooker Chili). I was just going where inspiration took me.
   I think I have the amounts figured out, so I'll post the recipe at the end.

This strudel is a cinch because of one glorious invention - store bought puff pastry.
With the puff pastry and Strawberry Thyme "jam" ready, all that's left to prepare is the cheese filling and it couldn't be simpler (or it could, but it wouldn't be as tasty). This will only take a couple of minutes to whip together. This is based on a recipe on Allrecipes, called Cheese Filling (very appropriately named, right?).
It makes A LOT of filling. You could half the recipe and still have some left over, after making two strudels - if you made the fruit and cheese version. If you only do a cheese strudel you won't have as much leftover. Don't worry, though. It is a nice filling for cupcakes (just put a dollop in each cupcake before baking. Or you could spread it on top of brownie batter (and swirl with a knife) before baking to make cream cheese brownies. There are many possibilities.

Here's the full recipe - remember feel free to half this.
16 oz of cream cheese, softened.
1/2 cup powdered sugar.
 1 tsp vanilla extract.
 Separate one egg.
Add the yolk to the filling, and reserve the white for later. (Even if you half the recipe, use the whole egg yolk.)
 A dash of salt - maybe 1/8 tsp if that.
 Whisk it until smooth, and it's done.
Now get the puff pastry ready (that has already defrosted overnight in the fridge).  Gently unfold it. Go slowly.
 Put it on a work surface dusted with powdered sugar, and dust a little powdered sugar on top.
Roll it out so that the long side is longer (as long as my rolling pin) - about a foot long.
 Now cut slits, about 1 inch apart, on each side. You only want the strips to be about 2 inches long. The placement doesn't matter, you just need the same number of strips on each side.
 Now spread on the cheese filling.  I used about 1/4 cup, but if I was making an only cheese strudel I would do 1/2 cup. Make sure it's spread evenly from one end to the other - not covering the slits.
 Now it's time for the "jam." I put about 3 Tbsp. (This can be used like any other jam. There are lots of ways to use up the leftovers if you make a whole batch like I did.)
 Spread it evenly down the middle of the cheese filling.
 Now it's time to wrap. Start on the left side. Take the first strip and take it down and across the pastry and press it onto the right side.
 Repeat with the right side. And continue down the pastry until it's all wrapped.
 Transfer it to a lined baking sheet. (I used a silpat, but parchment paper works well too.)
 Now, take the egg white you have reserved from the cheese filling and add a splash of water. Mix it with a fork and then brush it onto the top of the pastry.
 Now you can sprinkle it with sugar, or I really like these large sugar sprinkles. I bought these one year for my Princess. She wanted a sparkly princess castle cake for her birthday. I still have a ton left over. They look really pretty on top of the strudel. (Sorry the picture is sideways. I can't figure out how to rotate it. Just tilt your head to the right side. Now it's upright.)
 Just cover the top with the sugar crystals.
 You can bake it right away, but it will rise better if you put it in the freezer for 15 minutes, or in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
Now, to quote miss Ree "Meanwhile, look at the mess you’ve made and cry a really good cry."
- See how much cheese filling and "jam" I have left over. It's a lot, but like I said before, there are many tasty ways to use them up.
 This is the one I baked right away, and took out on time.
And this is the second one that I put in the freezer for 15 minutes, but took out 1 minute late. . . It's a little darker, but puffed up prettier. It would have been perfect if I took it out on time.
Now cut and enjoy one . . . or three pieces. 

Here are the recipes:

Strawberry Thyme "Jam"

4 cups of pureed strawberries
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tsp dry thyme
3/4 cup sugar (depends on how sweet the berries are)

Put all ingredients in a sauce pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and reduce mixture by half - it will be thick and syrupy. Cool. Store in refrigerator.


Cream Cheese Filling

16 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt
1 egg yolk

Whisk cheese, vanilla, sugar and salt until smooth. Taste to see if you want any more sugar. Add egg yolk and whisk to combine thoroughly.


Strawberry Thyme Cheese Strudel

2 puff pastry sheets
1/2 cup Cream Cheese Filling, divided
6 Tbsp Strawberry Thyme "Jam", divided
egg wash (1 egg white with a splash of water)

Preheat oven to 400F. Place thawed pastry sheets on a work surface dusted with powdered sugar. Roll out lengthwise until the long end is about 12 inches long. Cut 2 inch long slits down each side, about 1 inch apart. Spread 1/4 cup Cream Cheese Filling down the middle of each pastry sheet. Spread 3 Tbsp of Strawberry Thyme "Jam" down the middle of the Cream Cheese Filling. Wrap of the pastry starting at the top. Take the first strip from the left and pull it down and across, attaching it to the base of the strips on the right (where the cheese filling meets the beginning of the strips). Now take the first strip on the right side and pull it down and across (over the strip you already placed) and attach it on the left. Repeat these steps, alternating sides until the pastry is all wrapped up - Man I love pictures at times like these.- Place on a lined baking sheet and put in the freezer for 15 minutes. Bake @ 400F for 20 minutes, until golden brown. Cool on the baking sheet. Cut and serve.

8 comments:

  1. We are sharing the love of berry season- I was planning on trying this same basic idea, only with raspberries or blueberries for an upcoming shower I'm in charge of food for. So glad that you showed me it can and will work! One less thing I need to test run. Actually, it looks pretty awesome, maybe I will do a test run ;)

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    1. I bet a raspberry and/or blueberry strudel would be heavenly! I'm glad I could help and show you how easy it is to do at home. Let me know how it goes. :)

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  2. So, I am hoping you don't mind but I pinned this recipe to my Pinterest account. I'm hoping sharing some of your ideas on there will get you a little more exposure. <3

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    1. I don't mind at all. Thanks so much! <3

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  3. Thanks for this recipe and how clearly you explained it. Strawberry cream cheese strudel is my favorite treat and the bakery that I bought them from discontinued them! I'm thrilled at the idea of making them at home, especially since homemade is usually so much better than store bought anyway.

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    1. I'm so glad you liked the post. Definitely let me know how it turns out for you! My husband brings this recipe up at least once a week and begs me to make it again and again. :) I hope you enjoy it!

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  4. Looks lovely,i will try this! i never tried those cheese rolls you mentioned, but have you ever tried "sweet dough" flavouring added to sweet breads? I know king arthur sells it, i think the brand is lorann and it does amp up danishes and similer rolls.

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    1. Thanks for commenting! I'll have to look into the "sweet dough" flavouring your mentioned, and work up some new recipes! :)

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