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Pear and Fig Strudel with Ginger Cream

I...love...this...dessert. When you want something a littke sexy and special, take the time to make this sweet treat.

3 ripe pears, cored, seeded, diced 
10-12 dried figs, soaked until soft, diced 
2 tablespoons arrowroot 
avocado oil 
coconut sugar

3 sheets thawed phyllo dough 

ginger cream 
2 cups unsweetened almond or soymilk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 
1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger 
2 tablespoons kuzu, dissolved in small amount cold water

candied ginger 
1/4 cup brown rice syrup 
20-24 thin slices fresh ginger, fine matchsticks

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment. Combine pears and figs in a mixing bowl. Add arrowroot, 2 tablespoons oil and 3 tablespoons coconut sugar to the mixture. Toss to coat the fruit. Set aside. Lay out one sheet of phyllo on a dry work surface. Brush lightly with oil and sprinkle with coconut sugar. Repeat with the remaining sheets of phyllo. On the long side, closest to you, mound the fruit mixture, going from one end to the other, leaving about an inch at each end. 

Roll, jelly-roll style, tucking in the outer edges, wrapping the fruit in phyllo. Place on the baking sheet, seam side down. Using a sharp knife, cut deep slits, marking slices and allowing steam to release. Bake until the dough is crispy and golden and the fruit is tender, about 45 minutes. 

While the strudel bakes, combine milk, vanilla and ginger in a sauce pan. Warm through over low heat. When warmed through, dissolve kuzu in a small amount of cold water. Stir into ginger mixture and stir until the cream thickens, about 4 minutes. Set aside. When the strudel is close to done, combine rice syrup and ginger in a small sauce pan and bring to a high boil over high heat. Cook for 1-2 minutes.

Remove strudel from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before slicing. Serve with a dollop of ginger cream and some candied ginger slices. Makes up to 12 servings. 

Note: The ginger cream can be made the day before or morning of the party and chilled. You'll just need to loosen it with a whisk for serving. The strudel filling can be made the afternoon of the party and chilled, but the strudel itself is best if you can put it in the oven as you sit down to dinner and served warm. The candied ginger is best made just before serving.  


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