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Pear Cardamom Buns

With a mesmerizing yet easy-to-execute shape, these buns are spiced with bold, complex cardamom—the ideal companion for the subtly flavored pear. Slathered in every twist and curve of the golden dough, the homemade Pear Butter is a great way to make use of overripe pears and melts in your mouth with every bite. The best news of all? You’ll have leftover butter to enjoy the rest of the season.
Pear Cardamom Buns
Yield 16 buns


  • 1 cup (240g) warm whole milk, divided (105°F/41°C to 110°F/43°C)
  • 1 (0.25oz) package (7g) or 2 1/4 teaspoons Red Star Active Dry Yeast
  • 1/3 cup (67g) plus 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar, divided
  • 1/3 cup (76g) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • 1/4 cup (60g) sour cream (room temperature)
  • 1 large egg (50 grams, room temperature)
  • 2 teaspoons (8g) vanilla extract
  • 4 1/2 to 4 3/4 cups (563 to 594g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons (6g) kosher salt
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons (2.5g) ground cardamom, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon (1g) ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/4 cups (360g) Pear Butter (recipe follows)
  • 1 large egg white (30 grams)
  • 1 tablespoon (15g) whole milk, room temperature

Pear Butter

  • 4 pounds (1,814g) Bartlett pears, peeled, cored, and roughly chopped into ½-inch cubes (about 8 pears)
  • 1 cup (240 grams) water
  • 1 tablespoon (3g) lemon zest (about 1 lemon)
  • 1/2 cup (120g) fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon (5g) grated fresh ginger
  • 1 whole star anise
  • 1 cup (220g) firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon (18g) vanilla bean paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon (1g) ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon (1g) ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon (1g) ground nutmeg


  • In a medium bowl, stir together 3/4 cup (180g) warm milk and yeast. Let stand until mixture is foamy, about 10 minutes.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, stir together 1/3 cup (67g) sugar, melted butter, sour cream, egg, vanilla, and remaining 1/4 cup (60g) warm milk until combined.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together flour, salt, 3/4 teaspoon (1.5g) cardamom, and cinnamon. Stir 4 cups (500g) flour mixture into sugar mixture. With mixer on low speed, add yeast mixture, beating just until combined. Beat in remaining ½ to 3/4 cup (63 to 94g) flour mixture. (Dough should be slightly sticky.) Switch to the dough hook attachment. Beat at low speed until dough is smooth and elastic, 4 to 5 minutes.
  • Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface, and shape into a smooth round. Spray a large bowl with cooking spray. Place dough in bowl, turning to grease top. Loosely cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place (75°F/24°C) until doubled in size, 1 to 1½ hours.
  • Punch down dough. Refrigerate for 15 to 30 minutes.
  • Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface, and roll into a 20x16-inch rectangle. Spread Pear Butter (see instructions below) onto dough, leaving a ½-inch border on short sides. In a small bowl, whisk together egg white and room temperature milk. Brush one border with egg wash. Fold dough in half crosswise, trimming if needed to create a 16x10-inch rectangle. Gently roll over dough to ensure filling is even. Cut dough into 16 (1-inch-wide) strips. Twist each strip, spiral dough, and tuck end under. Place on prepared pans. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place (75°F/24°C) until puffed, about 30 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).
  • Brush buns with egg wash. In a small bowl, stir together remaining 1/4 cup (50g) sugar and remaining 1/2 teaspoon (1g) cardamom. Top buns with cardamom sugar.
  • Bake, one batch at a time, until golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted in center registers 190°F (88°C), 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool on pans for 10 minutes. Serve warm, or let cool completely on wire racks. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Pear Butter

  • Makes about 3 cups
  • In a large stainless steel stockpot, bring pears, 1 cup (240g) water, lemon zest and juice, ginger, and star anise to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium; boil gently, stirring occasionally, until tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Discard star anise.
  • Working in batches, transfer mixture to the work bowl of a food processor; purée just until a uniform texture is achieved and no large chunks remain. (Do not liquefy. It should look like applesauce.)
  • Return mixture to pot; add sugars, vanilla bean paste, cardamom, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until sugars are dissolved. Reduce heat to medium; boil gently, stirring frequently, until mixture thickens and holds its shape with a spoon and liquid does not separate, 45 to 55 minutes. Refrigerate for up to 1 month, or freeze for up to 1 year.