I first saw a rendition of this recipe in Martha Stewart Baby several years ago, I mean it was like 6 or so years ago. I remember wanting to try it out but never really getting around to it. It was a delicious looking recipe with apples and cinnamon and supposed to be a healthier alternative to the fried versions . Back then, I really wasn't much of a baker and hadn't really got the knack for all things yeast so I was a little intimidated. I wish I had known back then how easy and unintimidating yeast really was because I would have had that much more time to enjoy this delicious treat.
The original recipe called for an apple, but today I had pears lying around so that is what I used and I went with butter in place of the oil. I mean, if I am going for fat, I would much rather have butter than oil any day. I also used cake flour hoping that the lower amount of gluten would result in a softer, lighter dough. You could use all-purpose flour you'll probably just need a little less. Another measure I took to ensure a soft delicate doughnut was to use buttermilk in place of the milk. I love buttermilk. My fridge would feel bare without the stuff and inevitably when I run out I am scrambling back to the store to get some more.
To top the doughnuts off, I used some leftover caramel that I thinned with some heavy cream and then walnuts. I could not live without walnuts either although the rest of my family would disagree with that one. I left some nut free for them but also dipped half the batch in some melted butter and then into powdered sugar, another favorite.
These doughnuts were delicious and were best eaten hot. I am hoping that they will still be good for breakfast tomorrow, that is if there are any left.
Baked Pear and Cinnamon Doughnuts
1 cup warm buttermilk
1 TBS SAF instant yeast
1/4 cup sugar
3 TBS butter, melted
1 large pear, peeled and grated
1 TBS. Cinnamon
2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup wheat germ
1 tsp. salt
4 1/2 cups cake flour, sifted
melted butter for dipping
1. In the bowl of a mixer, combine the buttermilk, yeast and sugar. Let sit for about 10 or until foamy. Add the butter, pear, egg, cinnamon, vanilla and wheat germ and mix to combine.
2. Add a cup or two of the flour and the salt and mix to combine. Continue adding the flour in batches with the mixer running until the dough starts to clean the sides of the bowl but is still a little sticky. With greased hands, remove dough from mixing bowl and into a clean greased bowl. Cover and let rise for about 45 minutes or until doubled and puffy.
3. Dump the dough onto a well floured surface. Knead a few times to make a little less sticky and to make a smooth dough. Roll out the dough to about 1/2 inch thick. Cut out into doughnuts and place onto a greased baking sheet.
4. Cover the doughnuts and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Let the doughnuts raise for about 45 minutes or until puffy and well risen. Bake the doughnuts for 7-9 minutes or until just cooked. You do not want to overbake these.
5. Remove the doughnuts from the oven and either brush or dip into the butter and then into the powdered sugar. Alternatively, dip into the caramel and then into the chopped walnuts (you do not need to dip the caramel ones in butter). Eat while warm!