Ever since I was a child I have loved strudel. There’s something about the delicate, flaky crust paired with the luscious fruit filling that makes strudel one of the world’s most versatile treats. Served warm with ice cream or enjoyed with coffee, tea or hot chocolate, strudel makes a fantastic dessert for any time of the day and for any occasion.
Strudel fillings are sensational. Apple…blueberry…cherry. This week I decided to make pear strudel so off to the orchard we went.
We’ve reached the peak of fall here in New England and there’s an abundance of orchard fruit ready for picking. How wonderful it is to fill a bag with fresh, juicy, ripe pears and bring them home to make mouthwatering pear strudel with toasted hazelnuts and local honey.
As soon as we returned home we began working on the dough.
I can’t tell you how wonderful it is to look outside the kitchen window while prepping dessert and see the glorious red, orange and yellow leaves against the blue sky.
I pull on my coziest socks, sit at the table with my husband and cut a slice.
Steam rises from the dough. Pulling the flaky crust apart, I take my first bite of the baby pear strudel. Heaven.
You’ve got to try this strudel.
Baby Pear Strudel with Hazelnuts and Honey
100 g. dried cherries, halved
2 tsp Kirschwasser
50 g hazelnuts, halved and toasted
750 g diced Bosc pears, peeled, diced and placed in bowl of water until ready to use
35g fresh breadcrumbs, finely ground
50 g light brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. coriander
1/8 tsp ginger
1/8 tsp. cardamom
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tbs. good quality honey
1 completed recipe puff pastry (I recommend the recipe in the book Baking with Julia, written by Dorie Greenspan)
a little flour
a little sugar
Preheat oven to 390 degrees.
Mix cherries with Kirschwasser and let marinate for at least one hour.
In separate bowl combine, bread crumbs, brown sugar, cinnamon, pepper, coriander, ginger, and cardamom.
Drain pears thoroughly, removing excess with paper towel. Mix with honey and vanilla. Mix in cherries, hazelnuts, and remaining dry ingredients.
Roll out the puff pastry on a bit of flour to about 1/8″ thickness. Cut into rectangles 8″ long and 6″ wide. Fold each rectangle lengthwise over a 1/2 dowel to prevent the crease from sticking. Pull dowel about an inch away from the crease toward the open ends. Use scissors to snip along the crease to make vents. Remove dowel. Open pastry lengthwise. Add a strip of filling along the center of the dough, lengthwise. Brush edges with egg wash. Fold bottom edges up just so it covers over the filling edge. Fold sides left to right over filling. Seal.
Using a spatula, flip the pastry over, being careful not to rip the vents in the dough. You should now have a fruit filled log with vents on the top.
Separate the vents slightly. Brush with egg wash. Sprinkle with sugar. Bake until puffed and golden, about 20-25 mnutes.
Place the fruit roll on a silpat lined baking sheet. Bake until golden, about 30 minutes.
Note: If you wish to freeze the strudel before baking, place it on a cookie sheet and freeze. Then wrap the strudel in freezer safe paper and a freezer bag. When ready to serve, defrost the strudel 30-45 minutes and bake as instructed above.