Sour cherry and walnut strudel is one of my favourite bakes for Christmas and any other special occasion. This is a dry type of strudel, with its origins in Jewish cuisine. Because of its texture it could be kept at room temperature for a long time to get only better in taste with time. This is a convenient feature of this product, as it allows to bake it for personal consumption, or as a present, ahead of the event.
The first recipe for gluten free cherry and walnut strudel was published some time ago, where I used a different recipe for the dough. That recipe was based on a OrgraN gluten free plain flour and rice flour. At first, the recipe was very reliable, and I have never encountered any difficulties in making the dough, rolling it and baking strudels. With time there were changes in the ingredient list of the plain flour mix, and that occasionally caused the effect of the pastry going soft and nearly liquid. This effect was more frequent when replacement of dairy milk with non-dairy milk and sugar replacement with honey were used. To eliminate all these difficulties, I have decided to create a reliable, full-proof recipe for the dough without using any commercial gluten flour mixes, to avoid chemical interactions between different minor ingredients causing dramatic changes in the texture of the dough. I have chosen the equal mix of white rice and buckwheat flour, to keep the pastry in light colours. As the result, the pastry can be characterised as wholegrain, with no added starches. To make the dough structurally sound to be able to withstand rolling with fillings, and not to split during baking, xanthan gum had to be used as a binding ingredient. As the result the pastry can be rolled very thin if desired, bend and rolled in biscuits, strudels, and allows to bake various pastry cases to make tartlets, horns and cannoli.
Baked pastry is dry and crunchy, it can be stored indefinitely in air tight container (the longest in my experience was 2 months) without losing its characteristics. The pastry is not overly sweet, cutting the sugar quantity further, allows to bake this dough for savoury dishes. This dough can be also used for many other baking products. Jam mini-tartlets, cake layers, rustic galettes, rolled biscuits with fillings, even different type of moist apple strudel, are among these bakes.
for two strudels, 30-35 cm in length, 30-40 horns, 50-60 mini tartlet cases, quantity depends on their actual size and pastry thickness
- 80g sugar
- 100g cold unsalted butter
- 200g white rice flour (I used CeresOrganics and MacKenzie’s)
- 200g buckwheat flour (I used Lotus Organic)
- 1 egg
- 6g xanthan gum (I used Well and Good)
- 150g cold full fat milk (I used Coles UHT milk)
extras, if needed
- egg wash for brushing the dough before baking in strudels, rolled biscuits, horns (1 egg with 1-2 table spoons of water)
To make sour cherry paste for the filling you can use both canned Morello cherries (recipe here)
or frozen sour cherries (I buy them from our greengrocer).
To prepare cherry filling from frozen sour cherries use
- 500g frozen sour cherries
- 150-170g sugar
- 150g water
- cut butter in 1-2 cm cubes and place them in the freezer for 15-20 min
- sift both flours into a wide bowl, add sugar and xanthan gum, combine all dry ingredients
- place 1/2 of dry ingredients mix into food processor and add cold butter, while the processor is running
- mix both portions of dry ingredients, with butter and without it, together
- alternatively you can incorporate all butter pieces into dry ingredients mix on a chopping board manually using the knife, to achieve small crumbs texture
- add an egg and cold milk to dry ingredients mix with butter
- mix wet and dry ingredients with a knife until wet crumbs texture appears
- join all the mixture together
- knead the dough on a lightly dusted surface (any gluten free flour mix will be fine for dusting)
- to make strudel, shape the dough into rectangular disc and cover with plastic wrap if refrigerated
- the dough can be used instantly or rested in refrigerator for 30-60 minutes, the dough can be kept refrigerated for up to a week (I tried that) or frozen for longer storage
The above recipe was used to bake sour cherry and walnut strudel presented in photos below. For the fillings I used frozen sour cherries and homemade lemon and orange peel.
I would advice to use this dough for the first time for simple and straight forward projects and only if you are happy with the taste and texture of the pastry and confident working with this dough, go for the strudel. Baking strudel involves a lot of preparation and demands a lot of attention to detail in fillings consistency to avoid leakage of runny pastes from the bake. Overall it is one of my favourite pastries with reduced sugar and butter content, but excellent nevertheless in gluten free baking, giving the opportunity to make wonderfully thin crust for delicate pastries.