(1) 14½ oz. can red tart pie cherries packed in water
¾ cup granulated sugar (divided)
2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon corn starch
pinch of salt
¼ teaspoon almond extract
2 drops red food coloring (optional)
Drain the cherries (but save the juice). Mix ½ cup of the juice from the cherries, with half of the sugar and all of the cornstarch and a pinch of salt.
Cook (constantly stirring) the juice mixture on medium heat for 3 or 4 minutes or until it gets ULTRA thick. Remove from heat and stir in the rest of the sugar, the drained cherries and almond extract. Mix well and lay some plastic wrap on the surface of the hot mixture and chill for an hour (or until really cold).
You can either let one sheet of puff pastry (a box comes with 2 sheets) thaw in the refrigerator overnight (thats the best) or you can speed thaw on the kitchen counter (I wrap it in plastic wrap) for about an hour. The box says 40 minutes, but it really is a lot easier to work with if you let it sit for an hour.
Dust your counter with a little flour and roll out the dough to a 12" x 16" rectangle. Spread the cherry filling on one half (keep it about an inch away from the sides) like this:
Bake in preheated 375 oven for 35 minutes, or until golden brown. Makes one 12" strudel. Enjoy!!
NOTE: For those who aren't familiar with it, Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry is found in the freezer section of your grocery store, near the Cool Whip etc., it comes in a 17.3 ounce package that contains 2 sheets.