Croatian Cherry Puff Pastry

(Mediterranean 2020 Pairing) A delicate puff pastry filled with red tart cherries and a creamy ricotta custard, finished with a drizzle of honey and toasted walnuts.

Photo of Croatian Cherry Puff Pastry


1/2 cup whole milk
1-1/2 cups lukewarm water
5-1/8 cups unsalted butter divided
5 strips fresh lemon peel
1/2 cup finely ground semolina flour
1/4 cup ricotta cheese
2 each whole eggs
3-1/4 cups granulated sugar divided
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon limoncello liqueur
60 each sheets phyllo defrosted
2-1/2 cups ricotta semolina custard sub-recipe
10 cups Frozen DOLE Red Tart Cherries thawed
1-1/4 cups honey
3/4 cup hot water 115F
2-1/2 cups toasted walnuts
3/4 cup powdered sugar


  1. To Prepare Ricotta Semolina Custard:

    1. Combine milk, lukewarm water, 2 Tablespoons butter and lemon peels in large saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer over low flame.

    2. Remove lemon peels with a strainer and slowly drizzle in semolina flour, stirring constantly, continuing to cook 1-2 minutes more. Once all flour is added, remove from heat.

    3. Separately, combine ricotta, eggs, 3/4 cup granulated sugar, cinnamon, lemon zest, vanilla extract and limoncello in stand mixer with paddle attachment, combining at low speed until well incorporated.

    4. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold together the semolina mixture into the ricotta mixture in three equal parts and combine until few clumps remain.

    5. Cool custard and transfer to a piping bag. Reserve for later use.

  2. To Prepare Croatian Cherry Puff Pastry:

    1. Thaw phyllo pastry until completely slacked. Melt remaining 5 cups of unsalted butter. 

    2. Cover thawed red tart cherries with 1-¼ cups of granulated sugar and let stand at room temp while building the pastry.

    3. Layer by layer, brush each sheet of phyllo with melted butter and a sprinkle of granulated sugar. Repeat until you have stacked 6 sheets of phyllo.

    4. Once sheets of pastry are assembled, pipe out ¼ cup of the ricotta and semolina custard in a long strip about 2" from the edge.

    5. Press 1 cup of macerated cherries into the custard and roll the puff pastry around its filling several times until you’ve used the entire stack of puff pastry dough.

    6. Combine hot water with 1 cup of honey and use a pastry brush to brush the pastry with this mixture and more melted butter.

    7. Bake at 350° F for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown and crispy.

  3. To Serve:

    1. While still warm, brush the baked pastry with remaining honey and sprinkle with ¼ cup toasted walnuts. Finish with powdered sugar and a drizzle of honey.

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