Monday, October 22, 2007

Tropical Treasure Meets Austrian Pleasure

Yes, I know the title of this post sounds like the synopsis of a porn movie. Maybe I'll get more readers lol! Anyways...

Awesome news from the grocery store front today! Cruising the aisles, I saw one of my all-time favourite fruits (yeah, I have a few: Honeycrisp and Jonagold apples, blood oranges and in-season peaches, for example)! Anyways, I saw one of the first signs of Winter's coming for us Canucks, Asian Pears! These are crazy-crisp pears that are shaped like and have a crunch similar to apples. The flavour, though, is all pear, like an Anjou probably in terms of closest comparison. I love them because they're crispy, portable, don't bruise very easily and they're a nice change of pace after all the peaches of summer and apples of fall.

Oddly enough I have a baked recipe featuring these crisp delights, as well as another tropical gem in the form of lychees, since neither of them tend to factor in baked desserts (though there is a lychee wine! Didn't know that!). They are paired with candied ginger and coconut and wrapped in flaky phyllo layers to form a tropical version of Austrian strudel. I haven't made this but I plan to do so soon, maybe for a certain lychee lover who's coming home in December! Meanwhile, enjoy the recipe, and if you want more information on Asian pears, Perdue University's horticulture department has a very thorough study here. Lychees can be tricky things to peel, but lucky for us About.com has help for us in that area too! If you still can't get the hang of it, you can get them canned in grocery stores.

Asian Fruit Pastry
8 Servings
2 cups lychees, peeled, seeded and halved
¼ cup raisins, soaked in grape juice overnight
3 tbsp candied ginger
2 cups peeled, diced Asian pears
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp lime juice
1 tsp five spice powder
1 tbsp grape juice
3 phyllo dough sheets
¼ cup butter, melted
1/3 cup coconut, toasted, shredded
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Combine all ingredients but phyllo sheets, butter and coconut, set aside.
  3. Spread sheets of phyllo dough out on your work surface, one on top of the other.
  4. Brush top layer of dough with some melted better.
  5. Spread a thin layer of coconut over the entire pastry.
  6. Spoon filling along the long edge of the phyllo dough, and roll the dough up as tightly as possible.
  7. Remember to fold in the ends as you roll so the ends are "sealed"!
  8. Place on a non-stick baking sheet.
  9. Paint the top of the roll with melted butter and bake until the dough is golden brown, about 20 minutes.
  10. Let cool completely on a rack.

1 comment :

Valli said...

Sounds incredible and decadent Sarah!!! I usually offer Asiian pears with my chocolate fondue at Christmas time.