Vegan Curd Strudel with Cherries
All beginnings are difficult, and so it was with this vegan Curd Strudel. I think I test cooked it at least five times before I finally took pictures of it - and that, although the curd strudel was tasty from the start and is actually very quickly prepared. But let's start from the beginning.
A curd strudel, or quark strudel, is a puff pastry or strudel pastry and a classic of the Austrian cuisine. The filling consists of a special curd called "Topfen", usually mixed with eggs, semolina, sugar, butter, sour cream, raisins, and vanilla spice. Topfen, by the way, is basically a slightly firmer curd cheese. You rarely get it in the supermarket in Germany, but since we bake only the vegan variant anyway, it doesn't matter to us. After the curd filling is mixed, it's spread on the strudel dough and rolled up. Then it can go off to the oven. With cherry filling and served warm with vanilla sauce, it tastes best to us!
The recipe sounds quite simple, doesn't it? Well, actually, but now we come to the learnings of my test cookings, which hopefully also help you if something shouldn't work.
The 1st attempt: The very first curd strudel I baked came along with a too-liquid filling and a homemade dough. The result was a flat curd strudel without any filling because it has simply run out and spread over the entire baking sheet. A very sad sight, I can tell you! On top of that, I spread the cherry filling directly on top of the vegan curd filling, which caused the two fillings to mix and become a pinkish mess. Of course, this doesn't matter for the taste, but I aimed for a better look. But well - you learn from your mistakes, don't you? The second attempt was much more successful.
The 2nd attempt: The second time, I rolled out the dough not as thin as the first time to prevent the dough from tearing. Additionally, I thickened the filling with more starch, semolina, and some vegan cream cheese. I omitted the cherries to concentrate on the curd filling fully, and I baked the strudel in an oblong bread pan so the strudel kept its shape better. As a result, the filling stayed in the strudel this time, and everything looked much better overall - until I cut the strudel. Due to the thicker dough and the juicy filling, the inner layers of dough hadn't baked through, and the filling had sagged to the bottom, leaving no curd at all in the top half of the strudel. In addition, the filling was hardly distinguishable from the dough in terms of color, which would, of course, be an advantage for nicer photos. Isa was asked for advice, and on I went.
The 3rd attempt: In test cooking number three, I added vanilla pudding powder, as it thickens the mass even more and brings a great taste. I also added baking powder to the filling so the latter would rise slightly instead of just sagging to the bottom. I also pureed the cherries and simmered them with starch until the mixture thickened. And the dough? Well, I replaced it with a ready-prepared strudel dough to save time and nerves. Of course, the ambitious among you can prepare their own dough, though. The result of this test was delicious, but the curd filling was a bit too firm, and the quark layer was again not visible between the cherry and dough layers. What a difficult recipe...
The 4th attempt: A few days later, I tried it again. By adding vegan beaten egg whites to the filling, I wanted to get it airier. Instead of strudel dough, I wanted to try it with puff pastry this time, just to see what I liked better. I also had a special folding technique in mind for the dough, which I wanted to use to separate the cherry layer from the curd layer. No sooner said than done. I liked the look of the strudel, but somehow the ratio of curd to cherries wasn't right this time, and I didn't notice the vegan beaten egg whites at all. As for the dough, I found the puff pastry actually tastes and looks a bit better, but I think that's just personal preference, and you can use both doughs, depending on which one you find in the supermarket.
The 5th attempt: After attempt number four, I went directly again to the kitchen. The vegan egg white substitute was banned again, the quark-cherry ratio adjusted, and the amount of starch in the recipe optimized one last time. Done!
That was the story behind this recipe. As you can see, even though we bake and cook a lot at Zucker&Jagdwurst, not everything always works out right away. Behind every recipe is a lot of work - but the result is always worth it! With this in mind: Have fun baking!
Vegan Curd Strudel with Cherries
- 1 vegan puff pastry
- 120 g (4.25 oz) vegan curd
- 120 g (4.25 oz) vegan cream cheese
- 70 g (0.33 cup) sugar
- 8 g (1.5 tsp) vanilla sugar
- 3 tbsp soft wheat semolina
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- 40 g (1.33 oz) vanilla pudding powder
- 1 tsp ground vanilla
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 0.25 lemon (grated)
- 1 pinch of salt
- 250 g (9 oz) fresh cherries
For the curd filling, mix vegan curd, vegan cream cheese, sugar, vanilla sugar, soft wheat semolina, two tablespoons of cornstarch, vanilla pudding powder, ground vanilla, baking powder, lemon zest, and a pinch of salt in a bowl.
For the cherry filling, remove the stones from the cherries, transfer the cherries to a saucepan, and puree. Then mix the remaining two tablespoons of cornstarch with the pureed cherries and heat the mixture until it thickens. Remove from the heat and allow to cool briefly.
Tip: You can easily pit the cherries by pushing a glass or metal straw through each one.
- Roll out the vegan puff pastry on baking paper and spread the filling on it. To do this, place the puff pastry with the short side facing you and start spreading the vegan cherry filling as a narrow strip parallel to the short side on the puff pastry. Leave 2 cm space to the edges of the pastry. Then fold in the side edges of the pastry once and roll up the cherry filling so that it is completely enclosed by the pastry and no longer visible. Then take the vegan curd filling and spread a strip of the same size on the dough, again leaving 2 cm space to the edge. Then fold the side edge in a bit as well and continue to roll up the strudel until the curd filling is no longer visible. Continue filling the strudel with the vegan curd filling this way until there is no more dough left. Finally, turn the strudel over once, so the dough seam and the cherry filling are at the bottom. Feel free to look at the preparation photos to understand the folding process better.
Tip: You can bake the curd strudel on a baking sheet lined with baking paper or in a bread pan lined with baking paper. However, the latter is more suitable because the strudel keeps its shape better and doesn't "come apart" so much in width.
- Bake the vegan strudel at 200°C/390°F (convection oven) for about 30 minutes until lightly browned. Allow to cool completely before cutting. The strudel will keep for several days in the refrigerator.