Thursday, February 25, 2010

Pear Strudel with Puff Pastry

Pears seem to be the fruit underdog when so many of us think about fruit desserts. As a little girl, I remember picking pears off of Grandpa's pear tree and the fruit would be so juicy. The first BIG bite would have pear juice running down my chin on my shirt and down my arm. I would end up sticky but happy; unless there were bees close by.

When baking with any fruit, one problem coming to mind is the fruit juice making the bottom crust soggy. To remedy this problem, sprinkle a dusting of cookie, cake or bread crumbs under the filling, keeping the dough from getting soggy.

Bosc pears are the best choice for this pastry. The pear holds its' shape when baked and does not give off as much juice as other varieties, such as Comice or Anjou.

Generally, strudel is made with a thin pastry, but using puff pastry is also a fast and delicious alternative; unless you make the puff pastry from scratch. I bought puff pastry premade =)

This recipe makes 6 to 8 servings and is delicious! The Pear Strudel with Puff Pastry is an adaptation from the Kaffehaus cookbook by Rick Rodgers.

3 firm-ripe Bosc pears, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 T. golden rum (I used Bacardi golden rum)
1 T. fresh lemon juice
Grated zest of 1/2 lemon
1/3 c. sugar
optional: 1/3 c. raisins (I did not add)
1 t. ground cinnamon
1 sheet of puff pastry
1/2 c. cookie, cake, or dried bread crumbs
1 large egg, beaten, for brushing
1/3 c. sliced almonds for sprinkling over the top

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 375 degrees F. Line a large sheet with parchment paper.

Toss the pears, rum, lemon juice, and zest in a medium bowl. Mix in the sugar, (optional) raisins, and cinnamon.

Roll out the dough to a 16 x 10-inch rectangle on a lightly floured surface, with the long side facing you. Sprinkle the crumbs in a lengthwise, 3-inch-wide strip down the center of the dough. Heap the pear mixture over the crumbs, leaving a 3/4-inch border at the short ends. Fold the top and bottom of the pastry over to cover the pears with a 1/2-inch overlap, brushing the area under the overlap with beaten egg, and pressing the edges of the dough together to seal. Transfer the roll to the baking sheet, seam side down, curving the roll into a gentle horseshoe shape. Fold the ends under the roll. Freeze for 15 minutes.

Brush the top of the toll with the egg and sprinkle with sliced almonds. Bake until crisp and golden brown, about 40 minutes. Serve warm or cook to room temperature.

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