Pear Strudel

Easy Pear STRUDEL was never this easy or delicious!

This Strudel is going to blow your mind!  Apples or pears are sauteed with brown sugar, lemon juice, nutmeg and cinnamon then wrapped in a store-bought phyllo dough that is flaky, buttery and fool proof!  This streamlined approach to making strudel is quick, easy, convenient and DELICIOUS!  It eliminates the fear of making strudel and the hours! 

up close of apple strudel made with phyllo doughEasy Strudel

I have a secret weapon that’s about to be not-so-secret anymore.

Another recipe to unleash when you want your partakers to sing your praises as the best baker around.  Another recipe that tastes gourmet, and looks gourmet but with premade phyllo dough, this Strudel couldn’t get any easier!

Is strudel German or Austrian?

Before we dive into this easy strudel recipe, let’s talk strudel.  Where does it come from?

Most people think that strudel is a German dish, however, it was created in Vienna, which is in Austria.  The Viennese are the ones who made this dish famous with their delicate and flaky, thin layers of dough and sweet, tart apple filling.

The German confusion could be from its name as strudel is a German word.  In Middle High German strudel means, “whirlpool” or “eddy” which describes the flaky layers of pastry surrounding the filling.

So, we know strudel was created in Vienna, but was it created in Vienna when it was controlled by Bavarians or the Germani tribes that Germany gets it name from?   We do know strudel gained popularity with the Habsburg Empire during the 18th century which was divided between 3 sons, so which son can we attribute strudel too? We may never know…

German, Bavarian, Austrian, or Habsburg all have some ties to Strudel depending on who was in power and what the boundary lines looked like at the time – which is a big question mark. I know the maps that hung in my elementary classroom have changed so much in Europe over the years.  And if you go back in time further it changes more and more.  One thing that doesn’t change and that we can all agree on – strudel’s classic layers of YUM!

Now for some trivia.  What do Texas and Vienna have in common?  They both officially love Strudel!  Apple strudel is the national dish of Austria, and also is the official state pastry of Texas.

easy apple strudel cu in half on a white plate

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PIE, STRUDEL, STRUESEL, TART, AND BAKLAVA ?

Strudel, pie, streusel, tarts and baklava are all yummy and can be made with the same basic list of ingredients but there are a few differences:

  • Strudel: a dessert in which the dough is wrapped entirely around the filling, most commonly sauteed apples, and baked on a sheet.  No crust here as it is an egg dough that is rolled paper-thin.
  • Pie:  this dessert is baked in a pan, can have topping/crust or not. The crust is very simple made with flour, fat and water and does NOT incase the filling on all sides like a strudel, but it can be on the top and bottom.
  • Streusel: although it sounds similar to strudel, it is completely different.  Streusel is a crumb topping, it is not a dish but an ingredient for a dish.
  • Baklava:  is the Mediterranean version of strudel with a flaky outer layer with delicious sweet insides.  Fillings are based on the region, so very heavy on nuts, dates, and is held together by a thick syrup.

a fork picking up easy apple strudel recipe

The Best Strudel Filling

This Strudel recipe can be served as a dessert or special occasion breakfast (thank you Pillsbury Toaster Strudel for making it acceptable to eat strudel for breakfast!)  and is stuffed with cinnamon, vanilla, brown sugar, butter sauteed pears.  Yes, they are as outrageously delicious as they sound.

To achieve such an addicting filling, I experimented with quite a few filling combinations – apples and cinnamon, peaches, adding berries, adding nuts, chocolate, etc., but I found in the end, simple cinnamon pears was my absolute favorite.  Its all this strudel needs to be deadly delicious!

That being said, feel free to customize this strudel recipe with YOUR favorite filling to make apple strudel, cherry strudel, nut filled strudel, apricot strudel, raisin strudel, etc.

Easy Strudel Dough

As equally impressive as the tantalizing strudel filling is how easy the dough is!  The tender pears are rolled in phyllo dough (premade!) which is then brushed with butter and baked until golden, flaky and crispy.

Ah, phyllo dough.  My best friend.  How did we not meet until recently?  What a shame!  I feel like so many years wasted!

If you have never used phyllo dough before, please don’t wait!  These  paper-thin sheets of dough stacked on top of each other create the most perfect buttery, flaky, melt-in-your-mouth forkfuls of pastry that you’ll think you’re dining at an countryside cafe in Austria (the birthplace of strudel).   

top view of German apple strudel recipe

Glaze for Strudel

Beyond the warm cinnamon pears and buttery flaky phyllo,  this strudel recipe gets better…again.  

The entire strudel is bathed in a silky vanilla glaze.  Heaven I tell you.  Pure heaven AND its heavenly easy!  To make the vanilla glaze, simply whisk together powdered sugar, milk and vanilla extract – how easy was that?  

The Vanilla Glaze can also be made ahead of time and refrigerated until ready to use.

How To make Strudel

And just when you didn’t think this strudel recipe could get any better, it gets better, again

This Cinnamon Pear Strudel has to be one of the simplest desserts to prepare!  Yes, easier than my Layered Caramel Pecan Toffee Ice Cream Crumb Cake and just as easy as my 5 Ingredient Chocolate Lava Cakes!

To make strudel, simply saute the pears or apples until tender, wrap them in phyllo dough, brush with butter and bake!  Top with a 3 ingredient glaze  – and you  and your partakers can be downing your strudel before anyone has time to witness any evidence!

apple strudel recipe made with filo dough with apple filling

TIPS FOR MAKING STRUDEL

  • Saute the apples or pears until very tender.  Most of the liquid should be evaporated at this point, but if not, remove the filling with a slotted spoon so you don’t get any extra moisture.
  • Take time to chill the filling otherwise it can melt through the phyllo dough.
  • Be sure the phyllo dough is completely thawed. Do this in the refrigerator overnight. Take the dough out of the fridge about 30 minutes to 1 hour before use.  This will help it to not tear or be brittle when working with it.
  • When assembling the phyllo dough, you can work on parchment paper directly on the pan you’ll bake the strudel on. This prevents from having to move the pastry once assembled, and risk breaking the dough.  It also helps with clean up!
  • Work fast so that the phyllo does not dry out and begin to break. Only work with one phyllo sheet at a time. Cover the rest of the sheets in a kitchen towel as you work, to help with drying out.
  • Roll the filling up tightly in the dough so you don’t have any air pockets.
  • Use a rimmed baking sheet in case the filling leaks.
  • Place the seam is down as indicated in the recipe to help it from bursting open.
  • Score the dough into 1-inch portions using a serrated knife, so the steam won’t build up and explode.  Take care not to completely cut through the strudel.

showing how to make apple strudel by adding vanilla glaze

CAN STRUDEL BE MADE AHEAD OF TIME?

Strudel tastes the best hot right out of the oven, when the filling is warm and the dough is crispy.  If you make the strudel ahead of time, the dough can get soggy.  So, instead of making strudel entirely ahead of time, I suggest preparing the filling for a quick-assemble strudel that will taste the very best!

You can prepare the filling completely in advance and store it in the fridge for 3 to 4 days in an airtight container and then assemble and bake the day of.

Another option is to make completely and bake to 70 percent doneness.  Cool completely and store in the fridge then in 2 to 3 days remove from the airtight container in the fridge and finish cooking.

CAN I FREEZE MY STRUDEL?

Yes, freeze away!  The dough will not be quite as flaky, but will still be delicious.

To freeze strudel, make, bake and completely cool before freezing.  Wrap well with plastic wrap and store in the freezer for up to 2 weeks. You do not have to thaw before baking.  Pull the strudel straight from the freezer and bake from frozen until completely warmed through.

How long does apple strudel last?

Strudel can be be kept in an airtight container or covered in plastic wrap on the counter for up to two days and after that it should be refrigerated.  It  will last an additional 3 days in the refrigerator.

a fork of easy apple strudel on a plate

Cinnamon Pear Apple Strudel.  Your very own deadly delicious secret weapon guaranteed to rescue you from even the toughest critic.

Eat with caution because once you start, I KNOW you won’t be able to stop!

Guten Appetit!

Easy Strudel with Vanilla Glaze

Strudel was never this easy or delicious! This Strudel recipe is going to blow your mind!  Pears or apples are sauteed with brown sugar, lemon juice, nutmeg and cinnamon then wrapped in a store-bought phyllo dough that is flaky, buttery and fool proof!  This streamlined approach to making strudel is quick, easy, convenient and DELICIOUS!  It eliminates the fear of making strudel and the hours!  Most importantly, this strudel recipe is irresistibly delicious!
Servings: 4
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

Pear Strudel

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 3 large D'Anjou pears, peeled, and diced may substitute apples
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 8 sheets phyllo dough

Vanilla Glaze

  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  • Melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat in a large skillet. Add pears, brown sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon, nutmeg and cook 8 to 10 minutes or until pears are very tender and almost all liquid is evaporated, stirring occasionally. Spread mixture on small rimmed baking pan or large plate and refrigerate for 15 minutes to cool (this can be done up to 2 days in advance).
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line your counter with parchment paper to create a work surface for the phyllo. Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter in the microwave.
  • To create one large surface of phyllo, place a stack of 4 phyllo sheets on the parchment paper. Make a second stack of 4 more phyllo sheets and place it next to the long edge of the first stack, overlapping the the first stack by about an inch.
  • Mound the cooled pear filling along one of the long sides of phyllo dough. Roll up like a jelly roll and transfer the parchment with strudel to a rimmed baking pan.
  • Brush strudel with melted butter. Score the dough into 1-inch portions using a serrated knife, but do not cut completely through the strudel. Bake 20 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Meanwhile, make the vanilla glaze by whisking the Vanilla Glaze ingredients together in a medium bowl.
  • Slice strudel and serve warm with glaze drizzled on top.

Notes

*Phyllo dough can be found in the freezer section of the grocery store

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Adapted from Foxes Love Lemons

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24 Comments

  1. Melissa Smith says

    Oh my goodness! This looks sinfully delicious in a “stay in bed all day Sunday” kind of way. Pinning for later. 🙂

    • Jen says

      Definitely a “stay in bed all day Sunday” kind of breakfast! Maybe some can bring it to you next sunday 🙂

  2. Jessica P says

    Everything you create looks amazing, and this is just another example – yum!

  3. Meg @ The Housewife in Training FIles says

    My mouth is watering! This looks so tasty and not to mention, easy to throw together! It reminds me of my grandma’s apple strudel so now you have me craving so delicious strudel! Pinned 🙂

    • Jen says

      Thanks Meg! How fun t have a grandma who made homemade strudel! I think you will love this one, definitely crave worthy!

  4. Patty Haxton Anderson says

    I definitely would not be able to stop at one piece! What a great, yet simple and elegant dessert idea or as you said for breakfast!

  5. Geanine says

    You had me at cinnamon! Looks delicious, thanks for sharing!

  6. Noa says

    This looks AMAZING! Besides the fact that you make some delicious looking recipes, you are quite the photographer! I love that it only takes 25 minutes from beginning to end, just the right amount of time.

    • Jen says

      Thanks so much Rach! You won’t be disappointied!

  7. Heidy McCallum says

    This sounds amazing! I love how versatile this streusel is! I can’t wait to try it!!

  8. dawn says

    Can you substitute apples for pears? If so can the rest of the ingredients stay the same?

    • Jen says

      You can definitely substitute apples and yes, all the rest ingredients can stay the same. Enjoy Dawn!

      • dawn says

        Thanks! Can’t wait to make it!

  9. Parker Lindner says

    Love this recipe! Used it for the great pear harvest this year. Note:there’s lemon juice in ingredient list but not recipe text. I glazed them but served later. Only need about half the glaze amount. Thanks! This ones a keeper!

    • Jen says

      YAY! SO happy you enjoyed this recipe Parker and awesome to use pears from your pear harvest! Thanks for the note on the lemon juice – I will edit that right now 🙂

  10. Liza says

    Oh my goodness!!!! This is so delicious, and so super easy to make. I’m already excited to make it again!

    • Jen says

      YAY! This is an oldie but goodie – it has always been a favorite of mine so I’m so pleased you loved it so much! Thanks Liza!