Ever since we received a copy of the new Dalmatia: Recipes from Croatia’s Mediterranean Coast cookbook by Ino Kuvacic, we’ve had a hard time putting it down. Everything in it sounds amazing, the photography is gorgeous, and we love the embossed tile cover. We think that this Croatian pear strudel sounds perfect for the holiday season, and plan to serve it with vanilla bean ice cream as Kuvacic suggests!
According to Kuvacic, “Strudel is a Central European dessert with Hungarian origins. Since Croatia was once a part of the Habsburg Empire, it’s a favourite national dish for us as well. There are many versions and techniques in making strudel. One classic filling is apple and sour (morello) cherry, but you can also use savoury flavours, such as goat’s cheese, spinach or ricotta. Most people in Croatia make their own pastry, but you can also use pre-made puff pastry. Pear strudel is a favourite of mine, and it goes very well with chocolate, so I recommend serving it with a chocolate sauce (see below).”
If you’re looking for additional Croatian recipes, try his Apple Cake and Pasta Fazol. Pick up a copy of Dalmatia for even morel Croatian inspiration!
- 115 g (4 oz/ ½ cup) caster (superfine) sugar
- 1 kg (2 lb 3 oz) pears, peeled, cored and diced into 1 cm (½ in) cubes
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 40 ml kruškovac (Croatian pear liqueur), dark rum or calvados
- 95 g (3 ¼ oz/ ½ cup) brown sugar
- 200 g (7 oz) butter, melted
- 100 g (3 ½ oz) sponge fingers (savoiardi/ lady fingers) or any other similar biscuit, roughly crushed
- 100 g (3 ½ oz) walnuts, crushed
- 95 g (¼ oz/ ½ cup) chopped dried figs
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 60 g (2 oz/ ½ cup) sultanas (golden raisins)
- 12 sheets filo pastry
- 50 g (1 ¾ oz/ ½ cup) dry breadcrumbs
- olive oil spray
- icing (confectioners’) sugar, for dusting
- chocolate sauce, to serve (optional)
- ice cream, to serve (optional)
- Preheat a large frying pan over high heat and, when it is very hot, add the sugar and allow it to melt and caramelise for 2–3 minutes or until it turns a deep golden brown. Add the diced pears and lemon juice. Sauté quickly and stir with a metal spoon for about 5 minutes, then add the kruškovac. Remove the pan from the stove.
- In a food processor, place one-third of the sautéed pears, all of the brown sugar and half the melted butter. Purée until smooth. Stir this mixture back into the remaining pears. Add the crushed sponge fingers, crushed walnuts, dried figs, cinnamon, nutmeg and sultanas. Mix until well combined then set aside to cool.
- Place a sheet of filo pastry on a work surface and brush with the remaining melted butter. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of the breadcrumbs. Top with another sheet of filo pastry and continue to layer with filo and breadcrumbs until you have six layers.
- Spoon half the pear mixture along the length of the filo, leaving a 3 cm (1¼ in) border at the short ends. Fold the ends in and roll the strudel up, lifting it carefully onto a baking tray. Repeat with the remaining sheets of filo and the rest of the fruit. Spray with olive oil and bake for 25 minutes, or until the pastry is golden. Allow to stand for 10 minutes. Slice and dust with icing sugar. Serve the strudel with chocolate sauce and ice cream, if desired.
- 200 ml (7 fl oz) thick (heavy/double) cream
- 50 ml (1 ¾ fl oz) milk
- 200 g (7 oz) dark chocolate, chopped
- 20 g ( ¾ oz) unsweetened (Dutch) cocoa powder
- Combine the cream and milk in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to just below boiling point.
- Remove the pan from the heat and gently whisk in the chocolate and cocoa until smooth.
- Set aside to cool. (Extra sauce will keep refrigerated for up to 5 days.)
Excerpt and photo printed with permission from Dalmatia: Recipes from Croatia’s Mediterranean Coast by Ino Kuvačić, published by Hardie Grant Books May 2017.