So easy to make and seriously delicious, everyone will want a slice of this puff pastry cherry strudel. Plump juicy cherries, cooked and softened in juice then stuffed into pastry and baked to crispy golden perfection.

If you love pastries, try these custard danish or lemon curd danish. You could even try your hand at danish pastry and use it for this strudel.

Top down view of cherry strudel with half of it cut.

Why you’ll love it

Fruit filled desserts are always a crowd pleaser and when I say this is easy, I mean it. The cherries shown here are cooked from fresh – don’t worry it’s very simple and takes no time at all – but you can use canned cherries too (see my variations section).

If you can get fresh cherries though, I encourage you to try them. Tart and sweet all at once, soft and plump, the cooked cherries are actually adapted from my fresh cherry sauce and one of my favourite ways to use them.

What is strudel?

A strudel is a dessert made of thin pastry stuffed with fruit and baked. Most well known is the apple strudel but just about any fruit can be turned into a strudel.

While the traditional strudel dough is a very thin and wrapped around in layers (a little like filo sheets / phyllo), I’ve chosen to go super simple with this one and use store-bought puff pastry (because life’s to short to make puff pastry).

Tools you’ll need

Ingredients in cherry strudel

Ingredients for cherry strudel on a marble surface.

Detailed instructions in the recipe card below.

  • Cherries: I use fresh cherries in this as they just have the best flavour but you can use frozen or tinned cherries too. You’ll still need to cook them down and thicken the sauce but it only takes 10 minutes.
  • Lemon: Both the juice and zest of a lemon are used in the cherry sauce. It adds an extra tartness and lemon and cherries just go together so beautifully.
  • Sugar: Just regular white granulated sugar is perfect here. It just sweetens without adding other flavours.
  • Cornflour / cornstarch: A little cornflour (cornstarch) will thicken the juice up so you don’t need to leave anything behind.
  • Puff pastry: I use store-bought ready made puff pastry sheets. I can only get a couple of types where I am but any can be adapted to suit this. I tend to use the 25cm / 10″ square ones and I use 1 + ⅔ of these and join them together to get a length of roughly 40cm / 16″.
  • Breadcrumbs: Some simple breadcrumbs will stop the base of your strudel from becoming soggy.
  • Cinnamon: A little ground cinnamon adds a lovely flavour to this strudel.
  • Egg and cream: I mix an egg yolk and cream together to create a lovely egg wash. You can use whole milk in place of the cream if you like.
  • Demerara sugar: Very similar to turbinado sugar, demerara sugar is large golden sugar crystals that keep their shape when baking to add a lovely crunch to the outside of the cherry strudel.

How to make strudel

This really is a simplified strudel. Even pitting the cherries yourself and cooking them only takes around 20 minutes. After that it’s wrapped up and baked.

A collage of 4 images showing how to cook the cherries.

Detailed instructions in the recipe card below.

  1. Start by pitting the cherries: Pull out and discard the stems, then sit the cherry on a chopping board, stem end pointing up. Slice into the top with a small sharp knife, then gently roll it with one hand with the knife in the other hand cutting as it rolls. You’ll have cut it perfectly in half. Twist the halves apart remove the stone and place the fruit straight into a saucepan.
  2. Cook the cherries: Add the sugar, lemon juice and zest to the cherries, then cook them over medium heat for about 7-10 minutes until the juice has increased and is right to the top of the cherries. Add a slurry of cornflour and water and let it bubble for another 30 seconds or so until really thick. Let it cool to room temperature.
A collage of 4 images showing how to fill and roll the strudel.
  1. Prep the pastry: The total pastry size you’ll need is roughly 25cm x 40cm / 10″x16″. If you can’t get one sheet the right size, just cut a second piece and join them together.
  2. Assemble: With the long end closest to you, imagine the pastry in quarters and place the cherries in the middle two quarters, leaving about 1 inch clear at either end. Top with bread crumbs and cinnamon. Now fold the sides in (where you left the inch gap). Now fold the other 2 sides over the top.
  3. Bake: Very carefully lift and flip the strudel onto a lined baking tray. Brush all over the top and sides with egg wash, then sprinkle over demerara sugar. Now use a sharp knife to carefully slice just in the very top just over an inch apart all along the length. Bake for 40 minutes or so until golden.

Variations

While I always would prefer you to make the recipe exactly as written for the best flavour, sometimes fresh ingredient aren’t available or maybe you want to speed things up more. Recipes need to fit with your life, so here’s some variations that might help you.

  • Frozen cherries: If you use frozen cherries, you won’t need to pit them but prepare them otherwise exactly the same way as the fresh cherries.
  • Tinned cherries: If you use tinned cherries, you’ll need two 400g / 14oz tins. Reserve about ⅓ cup of the juice and discard the rest, then prepare the same way as the fresh cherries.
A slice of cherry strudel on a small plate.

Tips and tricks

  • Test the cherry flavour: When you’ve cooked the cherries, give them a taste test. You may want them more tart or more sweet depending on how tart the cherries were to start with. For more tartness add a little more lemon (not so much to water down the sauce). For more sweetness, just stir in a little extra sugar to taste. You can also add a pinch of salt if you feel it needs it.
  • Cool the cherries: Once cooked the cherry sauce needs to be completely cooled to room temperature at least before adding it to the pastry. You can speed this up by chilling in the fridge.
  • When assembling the cherry strudel, do it on a sheet of baking paper. When you want to transfer it to the baking tray, simply fold the far edge of paper, underneath the strudel, use two hands to gently lift it onto one side of your baking tray, then use the closest edge of the paper to roll the strudel off onto the baking tray.

Can cherry strudel be made ahead?

While this puff pastry cherry strudel is best baked fresh, you can make the cherry sauce ahead of time and store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2-3 days before using.

You should assemble as close to baking time as possible but it will sit in the fridge fine for a few hours on the baking tray.

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Closeup of a slice of cherry strudel on a small dessert plate.

If you try this recipe for cherry strudel, please take a moment to leave a rating and comment below. I love hearing from you and it helps other readers too! You can also take a photo and tag @sugarsaltmagic on Instagram.

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Top down view of a cherry strudel cut into slices.

Puff Pastry Cherry Strudel

4.3 from 3 votes – Rate this recipe!
Flaky puff pastry stuffed with a fresh, tart cherries – what could be better than this easy puff pastry cherry strudel for a fruity dessert. A slice of this cherry pastry, still warm from the oven, with a scoop of ice cream is irresistible.

Ingredients

  • 550 g fresh cherries, halved and pitted (1.2 pounds)
  • ¼ cup white granulated sugar (50g / 1.8oz)
  • Zest of 1 medium lemon
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (note 1)
  • 2 teaspoons cornflour (cornstarch) mixed with 3 teaspoons water
  • 1 ⅔ sheets 25cm square puff pastry (or one sheet 40cm x 25cm / 16" x 10")
  • cup breadcrumbs
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 egg yolk, from a large egg
  • 2 teaspoons heavy cream (or milk)
  • 1 tablespoon demerara (turbinado) sugar

Equipment

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 200C / 180C fan / 395F. Line a large baking tray with baking paper.
  • Place the cherries, white sugar, lemon zest and juice in a heavy based saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and let it bubble (not too furiously) for about 7-10 minutes, stirring from time to time, until the liquid has increased to the top of the cherries and the cherries are soft.
  • Add the combined cornflour and water, while stirring, then let it bubble for another 30 seconds or so until quite thick. Let it cool to room temperature before using – you can speed it up in the fridge.
  • Lay out your pastry on a long sheet of baking paper, with the long side toward you. If you need to join two sheets, use a fork to press the seam together, then roll over it gently with a rolling pin.
  • Imagine the pastry in 4 long quarters and place the cherry sauce in the middle two quarters spreading it only to 1 inch from either end at the sides (see my video or photos in post if you’re unsure).
  • Mix together the breadcrumbs and cinnamon then sprinkle it over the top (this will stop the sauce from making the pastry soggy).
  • Mix together the egg yolk and cream and brush a little on both of the short ends. Fold the short ends up and over the ends of the cherry filling.
  • Now fold the long side closest to you, over the top of the cherry filling. Brush the edge of the far side with a little egg wash, then pull that over the top, pressing the seam together at the ends a little.
  • Fold the far side of the baking paper under the strudel. With two hands, carefully lift the strudel and sit it on one side of your baking tray, then use the side of the baking paper closest to you to roll it off and onto the tray, seam side down.
  • Brush the top and sides all over with egg wash, then sprinkle over the demerara sugar.
  • Use a sharp knife to cut slits in just the top (don’t go down the sides) just over an inch apart.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 35-45 minutes or until it’s golden brown and flaky.
  • Let it cool for 10-15 minutes to make it easier to cut and so the filling isn’t like molten lava. Serve with ice cream, runny custard or cream.

Notes

  1. I use a standard Australian 20ml tablespoon (equal to 4 teaspoons).
  2. The cooked cherry sauce is roughly 2 cups.
  3. Frozen cherries: If you use frozen cherries, you won’t need to pit them but prepare them otherwise exactly the same way as the cherries.
  4. Tinned cherries: If you use tinned cherries, you’ll need two 400g / 14oz tins. Reserve about cup of the juice and discard the rest, then prepare the same way as the fresh cherries.
  5. Test the cherry flavour: When you’ve cooked the cherries, give them a taste test. You may want them more tart or more sweet depending on how tart the cherries were to start with. For more tartness add a little more lemon (not so much to water down the sauce). For more sweetness, just stir in a little extra sugar to taste. You can also add a pinch of salt if you feel it needs it.
  6. Cool the cherries: Once cooked the cherry sauce needs to be completely cooled to room temperature at least before adding it to the pastry. You can speed this up by chilling in the fridge.
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