Flaky layers of phyllo dough encase a gingerbread mincemeat and pear filling in this holiday dessert.
1. Heat oven to 375 degrees F.
2. In large bowl, mix together mincemeat and cornstarch until well blended. Then mix in pears, crystallized ginger and orange rind until evenly distributed.
3. Brush some butter over bottom and sides of 9-inch springform pan.
4. Work with 1 sheet of phyllo at a time, keeping remaining sheets covered with plastic wrap and damp kitchen towel to prevent drying out. In prepared pan, place 1 sheet of phyllo, off center and extending over one edge; press gently over bottom and up side. Brush with some melted butter. Arrange another pastry sheet at an angle over the first and extending over edge; brush with butter. Repeat with 10 more sheets of phyllo, arranging the sheets at an angle to each other so that the pan is completely lined with the phyllo and the overhanging phyllo goes completely around the outside of pan.
5. Pour spiced mincemeat and pear filling into pan; fold edges of phyllo over top of filling.
6. Lay remaining phyllo sheet on work surface; brush with butter. Using a pizza wheel or sharp knife, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-wide strips. Randomly place strips on top of torte. Place cake pan on rimmed baking sheet to catch any leaks from pan.
7. Bake in 375 degree F oven for 45 to 50 minutes or until golden. Transfer pan to wire rack; let cool 20 minutes. Remove side of pan. Let cool completely on wire rack, about 1 hour. Serve at room temperature or refrigerate. Use a serrated knife to cut. Serve with ice cream, if desired. Makes 12 servings.