Mini Cheese & Pear Savoury Strudels


I was on a mission to make some amuse-bouche items for dinner last night, and settled on two recipes, one of which was this strudel. My mother makes a very yummy apple strudel, but savoury (particularly sweet-and-savoury) strudel is something I’ve been experimenting with for some time. The recipe I followed in my book (Antipasti, by Simon and Schuster- yes, that makes me think of Glee (great book, by the way, I highly reccommend it for sophisticated appetizers)) called for pancetta… but as I don’t eat red meat and I did plan on having some of this one, I substituted for turkey in half of the strudels and no meat in the other half.

The process is quite simple: Prepare your ingredients before you deal with the phyllo dough (the ingredients could be just about anything) because it will dry quickly and tear and make you cry because it’s ripping and- you get the idea. I went with the following for this iteration (and did not use exact quantites, I apologize): chopped pear pieces, crushed cashews, mesquite deli turkey, shredded mozzarella, grated domestic parmesan, salt, pepper, olive oil, and freshly-grated gruyere. The original recipe suggested fennel seeds and butter for the top, both of which I decided to forgo. Once you’ve assembled your ingredients (aka tossed them haphazardly onto the phyllo (just pretend you’re Italian, making pizza, and know what you’d doing (gesticulating wildly and muttering melodically about your cousin Mario should do the trick))), roll your phyllo, and place it on a cookie sheet.

You can, at this point, do a number of things. Brush it with olive oil, butter (choose soy butter!), or egg (as I did for this strudel, then top with cheese and salt if savoury (I sprinkled on parm, grated on some gruyere, added large sea salt, cracked pepper, and some honey (that’s what burned/caramelized, but it tastes great, worry not)) or, if sweet, sugar. Bake them at 365 degrees for about 15 minutes and then eat them hot out of the oven or refrigerate overnight for a more dense, consistent strudel. If sweet, eat it hot with a scoop of vanilla ice cream- you can never go wrong with that combination.

It’s a yummy thing to make for dinner parties as you could make these even smaller than I did- I was too lethargic to attempt cutting the phyllo, but you can easily cut it to make tiny strudel rolls or square for strudel packages! A pizza cutter is the easiest way to cut the phyllo, but be careful- depending on the brand (or if you’re brave and made it yourself), you’ll have to be quick and efficient to avoid drying and tears.

Try it and see what ingredients you like filling your strudels with! Sweet, savoury, or a bit of both, these delectable treats can be eaten as a small appetizer or sliced thickly for a main course.

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