Thursday, March 13, 2014

Anna Sultana’s Cheese Strudel l How to Use Phyllo Sheets

Without a doubt, pastizzi is the ultimate Maltese dessert.
But, sometimes, one just wants a little variety.
And Ma was always open to learning a new recipe from her friends.
Especially if it was quick and easy.

Ma's Pastizzi is a nice basic cheese dessert recipe.
But, after living in College Point and making friends with a few German moms, Ma learned there was more than one way to make a nice basic cheese dessert.
The German dessert, strudel, soon became a family favourite.
And it could become one of yours.


You can find boxes of phyllo pastry sheets in the freezer section.
A one pound box has about 21 sheets, more or less.
That’s enough for 3 strudels.
If you have a sheet more or less, adjust for the third strudel.
Let the sheets, rolled and wrapped in the box, reach room temperature before starting.

                Anna Sultana’s Cheese Strudel

Makes 3 strudels

Grease a large baking sheet

Have on hand (do not combine)
2 Cups sultana raisins
1 Cup fine dry bread crumbs

In a large mixer bowl place
500 g ricotta
500 g cream cheese, cut into cubes
Beat until smooth.
4 large eggs
300 g (1 1/2 Cups) sugar
1 Tablespoon vanilla
Beat until smooth.

In a small pot melt
1/2 Cup margarine
Keep the margarine warm enough to spread.

Place a damp dish towel on the table.
Open the box of phyllo sheets and gently unroll them.
Place 2 sheets on the damp dish towel.
Place a second damp dish towel over the sheets you aren’t using.

Lightly brush the top of the 2 phyllo sheets with melted margarine.
Sprinkle fine dry bread crumbs over the margarine.
Place 2 more sheets on the bread crumb covered first pair of sheets.
Lightly brush the top of the 2 phyllo sheets with melted margarine.
Sprinkle fine dry bread crumbs over the margarine.
Place 3 more phyllo sheets on the bread crumb covered phyllo sheets.

Cover the top sheet, leaving about an inch border clear, with
1/3 of the ricotta/cream cheese mixture
Sprinkle over the cheese
1/3 of the sultanas
Turn up the shorter ends of the sheets to cover the edge of the cheese.
At a longer end, start rolling up the cheese covered sheets.
When almost at the end, stop, and cover the rolled sheets with the unrolled end.
Place the strudel on the prepared pan.

Repeat the procedure with the remaining phyllo sheets to make 2 more strudels. 

Preheat oven to 375º
Brush the remaining melted margarine over the 3 strudels.
Bake 40 minutes or until lightly golden.
Let cool 10 minutes.

The only thing I miss from pastizzi is the crusty baked egg on top.
Well, nothing’s perfect.

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