Filled with pears, figs and nuts, this flaky pastry is delightful with a cup of tea at breakfast or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream after dinner. It's so pretty and not too sweet.—Cheryl Perry, Hertford, North Carolina
- 2 medium pears, peeled and chopped
- 1/4 cup pear nectar
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1-1/2 teaspoons butter
- 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel
- 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
- Dash salt
- 1-1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1-1/2 teaspoons water
- 1/2 cup chopped dried figs
- 1/2 cup Mascarpone cheese
- 1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 16 sheets frozen phyllo dough, thawed (14-inch x 9-inch sheet size)
- 1 cup butter, melted
- 1 cup finely chopped black walnuts, divided
- 2 tablespoons coarse sugar
- In a large saucepan, bring the pears, pear nectar, brown sugar, butter, lemon peel, allspice and salt to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer, uncovered, for 8-10 minutes. Combine cornstarch and water until smooth. Gradually stir into pear mixture. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from the heat; stir in figs. Cover and let stand for 10 minutes.
- In a small bowl, combine the cheese, cream and vanilla. Place one sheet of phyllo dough on a work surface; brush with butter. (Keep remaining phyllo covered with plastic wrap and a damp towel to prevent it from drying out.) Repeat with two more sheets of phyllo, brushing each layer with butter. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup walnuts. Repeat. Top with two sheets of phyllo, brushing each layer with butter.
- Spread half of cheese mixture over phyllo to within 1/4 in. of edges. Spread half of pear mixture widthwise over half of cheese mixture. Roll up jelly-roll style, starting with the short side spread with pear mixture.
- Place seam side down on a greased 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan. Using a sharp knife, cut slits in top. Brush with butter and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Repeat with remaining phyllo, melted butter, walnuts, cheese mixture and pear mixture. Bake at 350° for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown. Cool to room temperature. Cut into slices. Yield: 2 strudels (4 slices each).
Originally published as Fig Pear Strudels in Taste of Home's Holiday & Celebrations Cookbook Annual 2010, p144
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