Spiced Pear & Pecan Fritters with Cinnamon-Maple Glaze

Fall is finally here and it feels so good! It’s that time of year when you pull out the cozy sweaters and fall baking spices to fully embrace the cooler weather. In my home, fall does not begin without diving headlong into true comfort baking by way of fried dough. Either doughnuts or, in this case, Spiced Pear & Pecan Fritters with Cinnamon-Maple Glaze. If you enjoy the classic apple fritter, you’ll love this pear-pecan version. A fall spiced fritter that features a pillow-soft interior studded with tender pieces of pear and lightly crunchy toasted pecans. Fried to golden perfection, their crispy exteriors are dipped into the cinnamon-maple glaze with it seeping into every nook and cranny.

An important note to remember while creating these fritters: Don’t stress about the dough cutting process. Fritters are rustic pastries that are meant to be messy to make, with each one looking a little different. That’s part of their charm! Even if you bungle the entire cutting and shaping process, you’re still going to end up with delicious fritters.

 

Makes 8 fritters

 

Fritter Dough

2 ¼ tsp  instant dry yeast 
½ cup  warm water
2 Tbsp  unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tsp  vanilla extract
1  large egg
2 cups  bread flour, plus more for sprinkling
¼ cup  sugar
¼ tsp  baking powder
½  tsp  cinnamon
1 tsp  kosher salt
Vegetable oil for frying


Spiced Pear-Pecan Filling

1 Tbsp  unsalted butter
2  Bartlett or Bosc pears, peeled, cored, and diced into 1/4″ – 1/2″ cubes
3 Tbsp  sugar
1 Tbsp  fresh lemon juice
1 tsp  ground cinnamon
¼ tsp  ground ginger
1/8 tsp  kosher salt
¼ cup  toasted pecans pieces

 

Cinnamon-Maple Glaze

2 ½ cups  powdered sugar
½ cup  maple syrup
2 Tbsp  whole milk
½ tsp  vanilla extract
1/8 tsp  kosher salt

 

 

For the Fritter Dough

In a stand mixer bowl, lightly whisk together the yeast and water. Set aside. In a separate bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.

Add the butter, vanilla, and egg to the yeast mixture, then add the dry ingredients. Using the dough hook attachment, on low speed, mix dough until it forms a soft ball and pulls away cleanly from the sides and bottom of the bowl. Increase to medium speed and mix dough for 8 minutes. Final dough should be smooth and slightly tacky, but not sticky. Transfer dough to a large clean bowl and cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Let rest for 2 hours or until doubled in size. While the dough rises, prepare the spiced pear-pecan filling.

 

For the Spiced Pear Pecan Filling

In a large sauté pan, over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the diced pears, sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon, ginger, and salt. Cook pears, stirring occasionally, until soft and most of the liquid has evaporated from pan. Remove from heat and gently stir in pecans. Transfer spiced pear-pecan mixture onto a clean baking pan, spread into a single layer, and set on a wire rack to cool completely. 

 

Fritter Assembly

Once the fritter dough has doubled in size, roll it out into an 11” x 11” square (about ½” thick) on a lightly floured surface. Spread the cooled spiced pear-pecan mixture onto half of the dough, then fold the other half of dough over the mixture to cover. Press down the dough edges lightly to seal.

Using a bench scraper, or a large knife, cut the dough into 1/2-inch strips vertically and then repeat the same process horizontally across the dough (creating a checkerboard pattern). With the bench scraper, lightly scoop up the pieces and rearrange them to separate the pieces. Repeat the cutting process once more. Pears should be well dispersed throughout small pieces of dough.

With floured hands, shape the dough into a 12-inch by 4-inch log. Generously sprinkle the surface of the log with flour and cut into 8 pieces, around 1” thick. With floured hands, scoop up and shape each piece into a small mound. Be sure the dough and pears sticks together or they will separate during frying. Place dough mounds onto a floured parchment lined baking sheet, spacing 2-inches apart. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and let rise for 45 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the cinnamon-maple glaze (recipe below).

Prepare a deep fryer with oil and heat to 350F for frying the fritters. Alternatively, fill a large heavy-bottomed pot with at least 2-inches of oil and attach a deep fry thermometer to the inside. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil and place a wire rack on top. Set aside.

With well-floured hands and a spatula, carefully remove the dough from the baking sheet and gently lower one or two fritters into the oil. Fry fritters for 1-2 minutes on one side until deeply golden, then gently flip over to cook for another 1-2 minutes. Remove fritters from oil and transfer to the prepared baking sheet to cool slightly. While still warm, dip the entire rounded side of each fritter into the cinnamon-maple glaze. Set back onto the wire rack to allow the glaze to set. Repeat the process with the remaining fritters. Serve and enjoy the fritters while they are still warm.

 

For the Maple Glaze

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together all the ingredients. Glaze should be slightly runny, but still thick enough to coat. Cover and set aside until ready to use.

 

You can also find this recipe in my Pantry Staple Sweet dessert column for Feast Magazine! Share your own creations of this recipe with me on Instagram by tagging @now_forager.

 

 

 

 

 

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