Pear-and-chocolate doughnuts with fudge pieces

Make grown-up doughnuts with pears, Pear-and-chocolate fondants or Pear-and-Pecorino salad.

‘The recipe this week makes the lightest and fluffiest doughnuts that I have ever tasted. I’ve made use of my glut of pears and, coupled with the chocolate glaze, they are a rather grown-up doughnut, but they can easily be filled, in the same way, with strawberry jam, chocolate spread or flavoured custard’

Pear-and-chocolate doughnuts with fudge pieces (makes 10)

6 pears, peeled, cored and cut into pieces
50g brown sugar
½tspn vanilla-bean paste
200ml milk, gently warmed
14g dried yeast
75g caster sugar
325g plain flour
2 egg yolks
30g unsalted butter, at room temperature
1.5l sunflower oil for frying
150g icing sugar, sifted to remove lumps
50g cocoa powder
30ml hot water
65g fudge pieces

Gently simmer the pears, sugar and vanilla-bean paste in a saucepan until collapsed. Place in a bowl, cover with clingfilm and leave in the fridge until ready to use.

Pour the warm milk into a small bowl and scatter the yeast and a tablespoon of the caster sugar into it. Set aside for about 15 minutes, until the surface is foamy.

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Combine the remaining sugar, flour, egg yolks and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer with the dough hook attached and pour in the yeast mixture. Mix on a slow speed until the dough just comes together.

Take it out of the bowl and knead for a few minutes on a lightly floured surface until smooth. Place in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with clingfilm. Set aside somewhere warm until doubled in size.

It’s hard to put a time limit on this, but it will generally take about an hour. Knock it back, cover with clingfilm again and place in your fridge over night.

The next day, take the dough from the fridge and make 10 buns from it. Place them on a floured baking tray and cover loosely with clingfilm before setting aside until doubled in size about 4 hours should do it.

Using a heavy-based pan (or a deep-fat fryer), heat the sunflower oil to 180°C. Drop a few doughnuts in at a time and fry for about 2 minutes on each side. If they brown too quickly, reduce the temperature a little, but not too much or they will absorb the oil.

Once cooked, remove from the fryer to a plate covered with some kitchen roll. This would be the time to roll them in sugar (if you want to make a variation), but we are using a glaze, so the urgency isn’t as great. Repeat with the remaining doughnuts until they are all cooked.

In a small bowl, mix together the icing sugar, cocoa powder and hot water. Put the pear puree into a piping bag, then make a small cut in the side of each doughnut and squeeze the puree in. Dip the top surface of each doughnut into the glaze and then scatter over the fudge pieces before the glaze has set. Serve immediately.

More ways with pears

Pear-and-chocolate fondants
Brush metal pudding moulds with butter, dust with cocoa and set aside. Melt 250g dark chocolate with 200g butter in a saucepan. Whisk four eggs and 300g caster sugar in a bowl, then pour in the chocolate mixture. Mix well before folding in 150g plain flour. Fill the moulds a quarter of the way and then peel, core and cube four pears and add a few pieces per mould, before covering with a little more chocolate mixture to reach two-thirds full. Bake for 12 minutes. Invert onto plates and serve immediately with ice cream.

Easy pear-and-blackberry strudel with custard
Arrange four sheets of pre-rolled filo pastry so that they overlap in a square, brush with melted butter and scatter over a few tablespoons of sugar. Add another four sheets on top of those and repeat. Scatter over 200g blackberries and five peeled, cored and cubed pears. Scatter with more sugar, plus 50g ground almonds and 50g chopped walnuts. Loosely roll the whole thing up and then brush with melted butter and scatter more sugar over it. Place in a moderately hot oven for 30 minutes or until lightly browned and serve with cinnamon ice cream.

Pear-and-Pecorino salad

pear and pecornio salad
Serves 2. Cut two pears into matchsticks. Add 150g cubed Pecorino and mix well with a couple of handfuls of pea shoots. Scatter over a couple of tablespoons of mixed seeds, such as pumpkin, sunflower and sesame, followed by some rye-bread croutons (toasted rye bread that has then been brushed with olive oil and rubbed with garlic). Pour over a little olive oil, apple-cider vinegar and seasoning.

** Read more recipes from Country Life