Almond cream doughnuts with spiced pear jam recipe

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Pears and almonds are a classic combination in French cooking. This doughnut takes that traditional pairing (yes, pun intended) and raises the bar by developing additional layers of flavor in a couple of ways: toasting the almonds, and adding wine and mulling spices to the pear jam. All the effort pays off in an elegant dessert that’s perfect for fall and winter entertaining.

  • Yield: 2 dozen doughnuts recipe


  • Basic Berliner dough
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • Toasted Almond Sugar
  • Almond Pastry Cream
  • Spiced Pear Jam
Spiced Pear Jam
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 cup plus 1½ teaspoons sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 cardamom pods
  • ½ vanilla bean, seeds scraped out
  • 2 star anise pods
  • 3 black peppercorns
  • 3 allspice berries
  • 5 whole cloves
  • ⅛ whole nutmeg
  • 3 cups peeled and chopped ripe Bartlett pears (3 to 4 pears)
  • 2 tablespoons Ball RealFruit Classic Pectin
How to Make It
  1. Prepare the Berliner dough as directed.
  2. Heat at least 2 inches of oil in a heavy-bottomed pot fitted with a deep-fry thermometer until the oil reaches 350°F. Prepare two baking sheets: one lined with paper towels, and the other dusted with flour.
  3. Using a floured biscuit or doughnut cutter, cut the dough into 2½- to 3-inch rounds and put them on the floured baking sheet.
  4. Fry the doughnuts in batches, taking care not to crowd the pot, until golden brown all over, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Drain on the paper-towel-lined baking sheet.
  5. While the doughnuts still feel almost too hot to handle, pierce each one with a pastry tip, paring knife, or other sharp object to create a point of entry for your doughnut filling. Roll the warm doughnuts one at a time in the toasted almond sugar and put them on a wire rack to cool.
  6. The best time to fill your doughnuts is no more than 1 hour before serving. Spoon room-temperature (or slightly warmer) almond pastry cream into a pastry bag fitted with a #2 star tip. Pipe the pastry cream into the doughnut’s cavity until the pastry puffs slightly.
  7. Serve immediately alongside the pear jam for dipping and spreading, or store at room temperature for up to 6 hours.
  8. Spiced Pear Jam
  9. Choose a heavy-bottomed saucepan that’s big enough to fit all of the ingredients. Cut out a circular piece of parchment paper just small enough to fit inside the pan, and cut a nickel-size hole in its center (this will serve as a steam-permeable “lid” on top of your pears as they poach). Set aside.
  10. In the saucepan set over medium-high heat, combine 1 cup water, the wine, and 1 cup of the sugar and bring to a boil. Put the cinnamon stick, cardamom pods, vanilla bean and seeds, star anise pods, black peppercorns, allspice berries, and nutmeg in a piece of cheesecloth and tie it closed with butcher’s twine. Crush the sachet with the flat side of a knife a few times to open the flavors of the spices and release some of the oils. Put the spice sachet into the pan. Lower the heat to medium low to bring the mixture to a simmer. Add the pears. Put the round piece of parchment paper on top of the simmering mixture and let cook until the fruit is tender enough to be easily pierced by a knife—anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes depending on the ripeness of your pears.
  11. Once the pears are tender, remove the pan from the heat and transfer the mixture to a bowl. Put the bowl in the refrigerator and let sit for at least 3 hours, or overnight, to allow the pears to absorb as much flavor as possible.
  12. Strain the pears, reserving the poaching liquid. Put the pears and ½ cup of the poaching liquid in the bowl of a food processer or blender and puree, adding in more poaching liquid as necessary (it should be about the consistency of apple sauce, or a bit looser). Fill a large bowl with ice water and set aside.
  13. Transfer the pear puree to a medium saucepan set over low heat. In a separate bowl, combine the pectin and remaining 1½ teaspoons of sugar, and then gradually whisk it into the hot puree. Bring the puree to a hard boil and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, whisking constantly to avoid scorching. Remove the pan from the heat and set it in the ice bath to cool. Once the pear jam is no longer hot, transfer it to a bowl or jars and put it in the refrigerator to finish setting. Once set, the jam can be used immediately or stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

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