This strudel-inspired confection is a total crowd pleaser. A custardy mix of cream cheese, ricotta, and egg—marbled with a swirl of tart cherry sauce—bakes up into a delicious filling. The bottom crust is made with store-bought puff pastry. It stays light and airy thanks to blind-baking, while scoring it gives the edges a rustic braided look. 

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Ingredients

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Unfold puff pastry onto a flour-dusted, parchment-lined baking sheet. (If necessary, roll out slightly to form a rectangle that is approximately 15 1/2-by-10 1/2-inches.)

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  • Cut out a 15-by-10-inch oval in dough. Fold oval in half crosswise from short ends, like a book; turn so folded side is facing you and dough resembles an arch. Working from folded side, and starting 1 inch in from either edge, cut along curve, leaving a 3/4 inch space of dough uncut at top of arch.

  • Unfold, then cross outer border sections over each other, lining up edges as best as possible, to create a pastry shell with a 1-inch border and twists at top and bottom. Dock center with a fork. Trace a scored line just inside border, into but not all the way through dough. (This will allow the sides to rise up straight.) Freeze 15 minutes. If desired, score border with a knife in a decorative pattern.

  • Brush crust with some of the beaten egg (reserving rest for filling); sprinkle with sugar. Bake, rotating sheet halfway through, until puffed, about 20 minutes. Carefully pierce center with knife tip to release steam. Continue baking until golden brown, about 10 minutes more.

  • Reduce oven temperature to 375°F; bake until crust is fully cooked in center (if top is browning too quickly, tent with foil), about 5 minutes more. Let cool 15 minutes. Carefully (it will still be hot) press center in with a metal spatula to make a well.

  • Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine frozen cherries with 1/4 cup sugar, 2 teaspoons flour, and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently, then cook until juices have thickened, 1 to 2 minutes. Let cool 15 minutes. In a food processor, pulse cream cheese and ricotta with remaining 1/4 cup sugar and 2 tablespoons flour, and orange zest, until smooth. Add reserved egg and pulse to combine.

  • Spread cream cheese mixture into well in crust. Top with cherry mixture, swirling juices in with a toothpick to create marbling. Bake until filling is set in center and puffed slightly around edges, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer sheet to a wire rack; let cool 10 minutes.

  • Using parchment, slide pie off sheet onto rack; let cool completely, about 1 hour. Serve immediately at room temperature, or refrigerate, covered with plastic wrap, up to 2 days.

Cook's Notes

If your puff pastry comes in two sheets, stack and roll them out together to the directed dimensions in step one. To simplify the crust prep, you can simply score a one-inch border around the oval and proceed.

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