If I were to put fall in a food, it would have to be these doughnuts. Cinnamon tossed pear encased in a slightly sweetened fried dough, then topped with a cream cheese glaze and then salted pistachios; they really are amazing. They reminded me somewhat of apple fritters, except they’re made with pear and in doughnut form.
I thought it about time I made something using pears. With the abundance of apples currently available here in Virginia, all I’ve been thinking about is baking something delicious with apples. Pear is not as popularly grown here as apples are, and sadly, the majority of pear growers in my area are not having a good harvest this year due to the spring frosts. So, I’m still waiting for them to come in so I can grab a few bushels of what they do have this season. I had to use supermarket pears for these doughnuts, but if you can get local ones, I highly recommend using them, especially if you’re making these doughnuts.
One of my favorite things to do is bake or cook with fresh, seasonal produce that is (preferably) grown locally. And so, almost all of my recipes include at least one local ingredient that fits the season it’s grown in, that is if it’s possible. It really adds so much more flavor, a flavor supermarket produce just can’t cut. Not to mention they look so much prettier, too! Supermarket produce, to me, always looks too perfect.
CINNAMON PEAR DOUGHNUTS WITH CREAM CHEESE AND PISTACHIO
for the dough
1 cup almond milk, heated to 110°F
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temp.
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 whole egg + 2 egg yolks, whisked slightly
3 to 3 1/2 cups bread flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
vegetable oil, for frying
for the pear
2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 Asian pear
for the glaze
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar
4 tablespoons almond milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of sea salt
1 cup coarsely chopped salted pistachios
vegetable oil, for frying
oil / candy thermometer
- In a small saucepan placed over medium-low heat, heat the almond milk till it reaches 110°F, then remove from heat. Take 1/4 cup of the hot milk and place it in a small bowl, sprinkle in the yeast, then a pinch of sugar, and let it sit for 10 minutes until it’s foamy. If it does not foam, restart with new yeast.
- In an electric mixer with dough hook attached, add the remaining 3/4 cups warmed almond milk, butter, maple syrup, whisked eggs, salt, nutmeg, 2 cups of the flour; and lastly, the yeast mixture. Mix on low till combined, then add the remaining amount of flour in batches till the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and cleans it. The dough should be soft and slightly sticky when touched.
- Remove dough from the mixing bowl and turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead till it has a light coat of flour on it. Shape dough into a ball and place in a lightly buttered bowl. Cover with a thin towel and let rise in a warm, dry place for 30 minutes or till doubled in size. Once the dough has risen, punch down and then tightly wrap the bowl in plastic wrap. Place in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours, or make the dough the night before and let it sit over-night in the refrigerator.
- Wash, peel, and core the pear and cut it into thin, small, square pieces. Place in a strainer over a bowl and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of sugar. Cover with a towel and let it sit to drain juices for at least 25 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare two large baking sheets by placing a non- terry towel on each one and lightly flour it, set them aside. Once the pear has drained, pat the fruit dry, add the cinnamon and the remaining sugar. Stir till each pieces is coated.
- Remove the dough from the refrigerator and punch down. Turn out onto a floured surface and roll into a large rectangle. Sprinkle on the pears and fold over twice till you have a rectangular packet, pinch the edges shut. Gently roll the dough out till it’s about 1/2 inch thick. Using a doughnut cutter of your preferred size, cut out as many doughnuts as you can and place them on the prepared baking sheets, spacing each doughnut 2-inches apart. Roll out the remaining dough scraps and doughnut hole centers and cut out more doughnuts. Repeat till there’s no more dough left to roll out. Cover the doughnuts and place in a warm, dry spot to rise for 30 minutes, or till doubled in size.
- In a large pot, wok, or deep fryer, add the vegetable oil till it’s about 4 inches deep. Heat the oil to 375°F and use an oil or candy thermometer to keep track of the temperature. Once heated, add doughnuts, two at a time (if possible, 3). Fry each side for 50-60 seconds till they’re a light golden color. Remove from oil with a slotted spoon or wire mesh ladle and place on a cooling rack. Repeat this process till all the doughnuts have been fried. You can drizzle the glaze on while the doughnuts are hot, or you can wait till they’re just warm to touch. If you want it to stay thick on the doughnut, dip the smooth top part of the doughnut in the glaze when they have completely cooled. Sprinkle on the chopped pistachios.
for the glaze:
With an electric hand mixer, beat the room temperature cream cheese till smooth, then add all other ingredients. It should be thick, but not so thick that it won’t run off a spoon.