Spiced Pear & Pecan Fritters with Cinnamon-Maple Glaze

Spiced pear and pecan fritters with cinnamon-maple glaze.

If you crave classic apple fritters this time of year, you’ll really go nuts for this pear-pecan version. Full of fall flavors, these fritters feature a pillowy interior studded with tender pieces of pear and toasted pecans for a slight crunch. Fried to golden perfection, dip them in the cinnamon-maple glaze to allow it to seep into every nook and cranny of their crispy exteriors.

Note: 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. So even if you bungle the entire cutting and shaping process, you’re still going to end up with a delicious treat!

Spiced Pear & Pecan Fritters with Cinnamon-Maple Glaze

Yields | 8 fritters |

Fritter Dough

  • 2¼ tsp instant dry yeast (two ¼-oz packets)
  • ½ cup warm water
  • 2 cups bread flour, plus more for sprinkling
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • vegetable oil, for frying

Spiced Pear-Pecan Filling

  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 Bartlett or Bosc pears, peeled, cored and diced into ¼- to ½-inch cubes
  • 3 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • ⅛ tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ cup toasted pecan pieces

Cinnamon-Maple Glaze

  • 2½ cups powdered sugar
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp whole milk
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ⅛ tsp kosher salt

| Preparation – Fritter Dough | In the bowl of a stand mixer, lightly whisk yeast and water together; set aside. In a separate bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Add butter, vanilla and egg to yeast mixture and then add 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 speed to medium; mix dough, 8 minutes. (Final dough should be smooth and slightly tacky but not sticky.) Transfer dough to a large clean bowl; cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let dough rise, 2 hours or until doubled in size. While dough rises, prepare spiced pear-pecan filling (recipe follows).

| Preparation – Spiced Pear-Pecan Filling | In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, melt butter. Add diced pears, sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon, ginger and salt; stirring occasionally, cook until pears are soft and most of the liquid has evaporated from the pan. Remove from heat and gently stir in pecans. Transfer spiced pear-pecan filling to a clean baking sheet and spread into a single layer; set on a wire rack to cool completely.

| Assembly | Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; lightly flour parchment paper. Set aside.

Once doubled in size, transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface; roll out into an 11-by-11-inch square (approximately ½-inch thick). Spread cooled spiced pear-pecan filling onto half of the dough square; fold the other half over the mixture to cover. Lightly press down on edges to seal. Using a bench scraper or a large knife, cut dough into ½-inch strips vertically and then horizontally, creating a checkered pattern. With the bench scraper, lightly scoop up pieces and rearrange them in a random fashion to help separate pieces and redistribute pears. Repeat the cutting process once more. (Pears should be well-dispersed throughout small pieces of dough.)

With floured hands, shape the dough pieces and pears into a 12-by-4-inch log. Generously sprinkle the surface of the log with flour; cut into 8 pieces, approximately 1 inch thick. With floured hands, scoop up and shape each piece into a small mound. (Make sure dough and pears are stuck together, or they will separate during frying.) Place dough mounds on prepared baking sheet, 2 inches apart; cover lightly with plastic wrap and let rise, 45 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare cinnamon-maple glaze (recipe follows).

Prepare a deep fryer with oil and heat to 350°F. 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.

With well-floured hands and a spatula, carefully remove one mound from baking sheet and gently lower into oil; fry one or two fritters at a time, 1 to 2 minutes on each side until deeply golden. Remove fritters from oil and transfer to wire rack to cool slightly. Repeat process with remaining mounds. While still warm, dip the entire rounded side of each fritter into the cinnamon-maple glaze. Set back onto wire rack and allow glaze to set. Serve warm.

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

Teresa Floyd is a Kansas City-based food writer, editor for the online food publication feedfeed and contributing monthly columnist for Feast Magazine’s Sugar Rush. Find her current creations on Now, Forager, a pastry blog featuring seasonal desserts.

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