I don't get why it is so hard to find sour cherries in the U.S. This is the season when you would expect to find them in stores or farmers' markets, but no sour cherries, only sweet... Obviously, sour taste is not popular in this part of the world. To be honest, eating fresh sour cherries is not interesting at all, but when you use them in baking magic happens.
I was so desperate I wanted to plant a sour cherry tree in my backyard, but then I found out it could take five years to start producing fruits which it is a pretty long time and I am a very impatient person. However, there are some options on the market. In some international stores you can find them frozen, or in kompot in jars; even in regular supermarkets there are tart cherries in cans, usually in water, or, if you are lucky, in cherry syrup.
This recipe was inspired by one found in food magazine Mezze (page 95-98), with some adjustments.
1 package of phyllo dough, left at room temperature for 2 hours
2 lbs pitted sour cherries, fresh, frozen or in can, thawed and drained
1/3 cup vegetable oil
12 tablespoons of sugar
4 tablespoons of semolina
Powdered sugar for serving
Baking pan dimension of 15x10 inches
Preheat the oven to 395F (200C).
Drain the liquid from pitted sour cherries using sieve. Open the package of phyllo dough, unroll the phyllo sheets and cover them with dampened kitchen towel, otherwise they will dry out.
Count the sheets and divide total number by 4... because you will make 4 rolls. Please don't be stressed out if you don't have the same number of sheets for each roll.
Arrange first phyllo sheet on work surface and brush it with oil using pastry brush, or you can use oil spray. Evenly sprinkle it with one tablespoon of sugar and then place another phyllo sheet over it. Do the same as you did with the first one. Third sheet brush with oil, sprinkle with one tablespoon of semolina, add 1/4 of total amount of sour cherries and then sprinkle one tablespoon of sugar over it. Leave 1/4 of sheet not covered with cherries, as it is on picture below. Start to fold phyllo layers into roll, finishing on the side of sheet not covered with cherries.
Place the roll on the baking pan. Repeat this with the rest of phyllo dough and cherries.
Brush the top of rolls with oil and put the baking pan into the oven. Bake the strudel for 25-30 minutes until golden brown. When it is done, let it rest for 15 minutes covered with kitchen towel.
Serve cut pieces with powdered sugar sprinkled on the top.