I'm not sure why but this year I'm obsessed with ginger desserts. I know there are lots of people who dislike ginger but I strongly believe that with the correct amounts, it can be quite delightful. Take these gingerbread pear donuts for example. There's a good amount of ground ginger in the batter but pair it with other warm spices, fresh pears, and pear cider and you get one outstanding treat. These donuts are baked but still incredibly light and fluffy. Coat them with powdered sugar and try not to eat them all!
Gingerbread Pear Donuts
- 1 cup pear cider (250 ml)
- 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour (185 grams)
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- ¼ cup brown sugar (50 grams)
- ¼ cup molasses (70 grams)
- 1 large egg
- ½ cup buttermilk (125 ml)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup pears, peeled and finely chopped (85 grams)
- 2 cups powdered sugar (260 grams)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a mini donut pan with cooking spray.
- Heat 1 cup pear cider in a small saucepot over high heat. Bring to a boil and continue to boil until reduced to ¼ cup, about 8-10 minutes. Let cool completely.
- Combine the flour with cinnamon, ground ginger, salt, baking powder, baking soda, ground nutmeg, and ground cloves in a medium bowl.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together olive oil with brown sugar until well combined. Add the molasses, egg, buttermilk, vanilla, and 2 tablespoon of the reduced cider, whisking until well combined. Add the flour mixture, mixing just until combined. Stir in the chopped pears and transfer the donut batter to a piping bag.
- Fill the prepared donut pan with the batter. Bake the donuts for 7-8 minutes or until puffed and golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool for 2 minutes.
- Pour the powdered sugar into a large mixing bowl or paperbag. Working with a couple donuts at a time, toss the donuts in the powdered sugar, coating all sides. Repeat with the remaining donuts. Serve warm.
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
Last year I tried to make a baked donut recipe and gave up after several tries. No matter what I tried, the texture just couldn't compare to fried ones. What can I say? I love my fried donuts. For some reason, I decided to give them another try this year, attempting to create light fluffy donuts. Most baked donuts I've tried are like a dense cake - I wanted the complete opposite. Many, many tries later and here we are! These gingerbread pear donuts taste exactly how I imagined them, fluffy, light, and not overly sweet.
Luckily, these donuts are pretty easy to make. We first have to start by reducing pear cider. To infuse the donuts with a touch more sweetness and pear flavor, we're going to boil pear cider until thickened. Keep an eye on the cider because it can burn if you reduce it too much.
If you can't find pear cider, you can use apple cider instead. It'll taste slightly different than the original recipe but not by much.
Next, combine all of the dry ingredients for the donut batter including all of the spices, flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Whisk together the oil with brown sugar, add the wet ingredients, then stir in the dry mix.
Peel and finely chop enough fresh pear to get ½ cup. Make sure to chop the pear into very small pieces if you're making mini-donuts. If you're making regular-sized donuts, you can cut them a bit bigger.
I used a Bosc pear for my gingerbread pear donuts but you can also use Anjou or Bartlett pears as well.
To make life easier, transfer the donut batter to a piping bag and pipe the batter into your donut pan. It just makes it cleaner than trying to spoon the batter into the pan.
Bake the mini-donuts for 7-8 minutes or until puffed and browned. For regular donuts, you want to bake them longer, about 13-15 minutes.
Let the gingerbread pear donuts cool for a couple of minutes before tossing them in the powdered sugar. If you toss them in the sugar right out of the oven, the sugar will just melt away. If you wait until they've cooled completely, the sugar might not stick to the donuts.
Serve these donuts warm for the best-tasting experience. Since these treats are moist, they are best eaten the day of. If you happen to have any leftovers the next day, pop them in the microwave for a couple of seconds and toss them in a fresh coat of powdered sugar. They'll be sweeter but still delicious!
For more holiday baking inspiration check out these ginger thumbprint cookies with pomegranate kumquat jam!