|Ricotta and Cherry Strudel
8 ounces whole-milk fresh ricotta cheese
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 ounces cherries, halved and pitted, reserve any juices
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon triple sec
6 tablespoons finely ground graham cracker crumbs
1 tablespoon sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
To make the ricotta filling:
Line a strainer with a double layer of cheesecloth and set over a deep bowl. Place the ricotta in the strainer and allow to drain overnight in the refrigerator. Squeeze the cheesecloth to drain as much liquid as possible from the mixture.
Using an electric mixer, beat the ricotta, sugar and lemon zest until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg until well incorporated. Refrigerate while preparing the cherries and stretching the dough.
To make the cherry filling:
In a medium bowl, mix together the cherries, any juices, the sugar, lemon juice and triple sec. Allow to sit for an hour or so for the flavors to come together.
Drain half of the cherry mixture and save the juices. Use the drained cherries in the strudel. Use the remaining cherries and juices to make a sauce. Place them in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook until the mixture has thickened, about 4-8 minutes.
To make the crumb filling:
Mix the crumbs and the sugar.
To assemble the strudel, brush the stretched out dough with some of the melted butter. Lay a thin layer of the crumbs in the center of the dough. Top with some of the ricotta mixture and then gently press the drained cherries into the ricotta. Roll the dough and brush the top with more melted butter. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Let the strudel sit for 30 minutes before cutting into it. Serve warm or at room temperature. - Adapted from Lidia Bastianich for Bon Appetit