Wash and sift through your raisins, especially if they come from the bulk bin or outdoors market.
In a large bowl, soak your raisins in brandy, vanilla extract and lemon juice (include optional lemon zest). Let raisins soak for at least 30 minutes while preparing the pears, or longer, if desired.
Wash the pears well. Peel, halve and remove the core and seeds. Cut the pears into small cubes, slightly larger than the raisins (don’t fret about the size too much, they’ll shrink when cooking). Add to the raisins only when ready to assembly the strudel.
Chop your vegan chocolate into small chunks, each about the size of a raisin, or even smaller.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Melt the margarine in the microwave, about 30 seconds in short bursts. Add one tablespoon of water, and mix well.
Prepare your phyllo dough: cover your working space with parchment paper, and place one sheet of phyllo on it with the long edge towards you, keeping the remainder covered with a damp towel. Brush the sheet thoroughly with melted margarine-water combination, taking care to cover the whole surface, but not to soak it. Layer with two more phyllo sheets, brushing each gently with butter.
Add the chocolate to the bowl of pears and raisins. Mix well.
Taking care to leave about 2 inches of space along the edges of your sheet, spread about 2 tablespoons of filling along the long side (the side facing towards you). Fold in the short edges of the sheet. Then, starting at the edge with the filling, begin to roll up your strudel.
Place, seam side down, on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush the top with more melted margarine, taking care not to soak the strudel. Pre-cut your strudel into slices, but don’t separate them.
Repeat until you run out of filling, or phyllo sheets.
Bake strudel rolls in the oven for 25-30 minutes.
If desired, dust top of strudel with a sugar-cinnamon combination (one tablespoon of sugar to 2 teaspoons of cinnamon).
Eat strudel warm, with or without lactose-free ice cream on the side, at room temperature, or even cold. If reheating, warm up the strudel in an oven (microwaving it will make it soggy). I have yet to find a way in which it doesn’t taste good.
Pear-chocolate strudel https://immigrantstable.com/pear-chocolate-strudel/ December 5, 2013