Continuing on our path of delightfully Christmas-y baked goods, today I’m bringing you these pear streusel buns. They’re the ultimate treat to have freshly baked on Christmas morning as you open gifts. Not the type of thing I would advocate every day of the year, but on Christmas, it’s worth the sugar high.
They’re relatively simple to make (particularly if you have little elves on hand to peel and chop the pears) and don’t take too long to bake. Balance the sweetness with your favorite coffee and you’re ready to tackle a day full of indulgent eating.
Remember, the key to any crumb topping is cutting in cold butter. If you haven’t yet made the tiny investment into a pastry cutter, now is the time. It makes the process so much easier than using forks or knives, and it’s such a small price to pay to have perfect streusel.
Pear Streusel Breakfast Buns
Yield: 18 buns
Recipe adapted from Magnolia Bakery
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 4 tablespoons butter, slightly chilled and cubed
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 eggs, at room temperature
- 6 tablespoons milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups peeled and chopped pears
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Grease and lightly flour 18 muffin cups.
To make the topping, whisk together the brown sugar and cinnamon. Using a pastry blender, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
To make the buns, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer on medium speed, cream the butter and sugar until smooth and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Add half of the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and beat until well incorporated. Add in the milk and vanilla, followed by the remaining dry ingredients, beating well after each addition. Gently stir in the pears.
Spoon the batter into the muffin cups (about 2/3 full) and sprinkle the topping over the buns. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out with just moist crumbs.
Refine Baking Tips
- 1 cup of walnuts or pecans would make a great addition to the streusel topping, if you’re into nuts.
- Bosc pears are always best for baking since they’re firmer and hold their shape better than Bartletts.
- To yield 1 1/2 cups of chopped pears, plan to use 2-3 whole pears, depending on their size.
- Apples (I like Honeycrisps) or chopped cranberries would also make for a great substitute if you don’t have pears on hand.