Enjoy - It's From Europe

Pear and marzipan strudels

  • Prep: 20m
  • Cook: 15m
  • Serves: 10

Sometimes at Christmas you want a sweet treat but not a full-blown dessert. These little cigar-shaped strudels are like a sweet spring roll, filled with fragrant pear, rosemary and marzipan. Perfect with coffee or a sweet wine after dinner, or mid-afternoon - it is Christmas after all.

Method

  1. The pears need to be cooked before they go in the filling, so start by poaching them. Dissolve the sugar in 200ml water over a low heat. Add the pears and rosemary and bring to a simmer. Lay a sheet of baking paper on the top of the liquid to keep the pears submerged (otherwise they go brown) and simmer for 20 minutes. Once the pears are soft, lift them out of the syrup and roughly chop them. Keep the leftover cooking syrup for later in the recipe. It’s also great in cocktails!
  2. For the marzipan, mix the almonds, icing sugar and caster sugar together in a bowl. Add the egg and mix to form a dough. It will seem dry but keep working it and it will come together. Tip onto a floured work surface and knead until smooth, about 2 minutes. There will be more marzipan than necessary for this recipe, so freeze any leftovers or refrigerate and use within a week.
  3. Now to make the filling. Dice 150g of the marzipan and put it in a saucepan with the chopped pears, one tablespoon of the pear cooking liquid, a few leaves of rosemary from the pear liquid, and the mixed peel. Cook over a low heat for 2 minutes until everything melts together. Set aside to cool.
  4. To assemble the strudels, pre-heat the oven to 205°C / 195°C fan / gas mark 6 ½. Cut the filo sheets into 12cm square pieces. Brush each piece with melted butter. Lay three sheets on top of each other. This is the wrapper for your first strudel.
  5. Turn the wrapper so one corner is pointing towards you to make a diamond shape. Spoon a tablespoon of pear mixture onto the wrapper in a horizontal line a couple of centimetres from the bottom point. Lift the bottom point over the filling and roll it up. Stop when you reach the mid-way corners to tuck them in then keep rolling until you get to the top point. Brush the strudel with more melted butter. Repeat until all the filling and filo are used up. Resist the temptation to over-fill or roll too tight as the result will be split strudels.
  6. Arrange the rolls on a lined baking sheet and bake in the oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Removed from the oven, brush with a little more of the pear cooking liquid then scatter over the pistachios and a little mixed peel. Dust with icing sugar and serve.

Ingredients

All to be sourced organic where possible

  • For the pears:
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 2 pears, peeled, cored and halved
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary
  • For the marzipan:
  • 250g ground almonds
  • 125g icing sugar
  • 135g golden caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • Flour, for dusting
  • For the strudel:
  • 2 tbsp mixed peel, plus extra to serve
  • 25g butter, melted
  • 6 sheets filo pastry
  • 1 tbsp pistachios, chopped
  • Icing sugar, to serve
Kathy Slack

Kathy Slack

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