Baked Pistachio Pudding Donuts
I am coming to you for help. I need a donut intervention, and I am willing to cooperate—as long as our first session includes Baked Pistachio Pudding Donuts.
My donut problem began a few weeks ago. I’m not wild about calling it a “problem,” because I feel morally uncomfortable listing the words “donut” and “problem” directly beside one another. My donut addiction? (too clinical. My donut fetish? (ew.) My donut dependency? Sounds about right.
One of my girlfriends works at a donut shop on Sunday mornings, so I decided to swing by for a casual visit. Before we continue with my fried dough saga, you must know: this is not any donut shop. This is THE donut shop. Greenbush Bakery is universally hailed as the donut Mecca of Madison, and I would proclaim it the donut Mecca of the free world. Forget hiding beneath tacky toppings—Greenbush dishes up the classics, perfected. Toddler-sized apple fritter oozing cinnamon nectar? Done. Blueberry old fashioned that cracks just so, allowing me to pick the tasty little edges off one by one? No question. Ethereally fluffy maple bar that springs back with every bite? What else were you expecting.
I ordered three donuts from my friend, with the hope that she’d sneak in the extra coconut cake one I’d been eyeing in what I hoped was an obvious manner. I did not, however, anticipate this, which inevitably lead to this. All damage completed by Ben and me, in less than 20 minutes. While watching figure skating. I’m sure Ben appreciates my sharing that detail.
An ordinary person would enjoy her 4.5 donuts, then decide to lay off for a few weeks. What happened very next week? This. (Not pictured: the three donuts that wouldn’t fit on the plate.)
The third Sunday, Ben forbade me from returning to Greenbush, but I could not kick my donut craving. I tried to fight it with a handful of chocolate chips (maybe I just needed sugar?) No luck. Peanut butter? Not happening. Graham cracker dipped in leftover bourbon cream cheese filling? Close, but still not the same. I learned a deep and lasting life lesson that morning: the only remedy for a profound donut hankering is…donuts. Baked Pistachio Pudding Donuts to be precise.
Though I love me some deep-fried dough, when making donuts at home, I stick to baked. Baked donuts are easier to make and clean up, less guilt-inducing, and leave my apartment smelling like a heavenly bakery instead of a Long John Silver’s.
My inspiration for Baked Pistachio Pudding Donuts originated with a pistachio cake donut I tried at Doughnut Plant in New York City. This donut had big, bold pistachio flavor and was so moist, it practically melted on my tongue. Though I adore baked donuts, I often find them lacking the indulgent sensation that comes with a perfectly fried cake donut. My sneaky solution: instant pudding mix.
Not only does instant pudding mix give these Baked Pistachio Pudding Donuts a lovely green hue and primo pistachio flavor, it also makes them insanely moist and decadent. To create an even more tender donut, I also used buttermilk, which balances the pudding’s sweetness and adds a little extra density. It took me three rounds of playing with the ratio of flour-to pudding-to buttermilk to produce a baked donut that gave me the texture I was seeking: super soft and moist, without being wet; tender and fluffy, but neither as dense as a banana bread, nor airy as a cake.
We ate a lot of green baked goods that day.
I’ll also be springing for the preshelled pistachios the next time. If shelling an entire bag of pistachios in a single day builds character, I’m fine living up to a lower moral standard.
Another lesson: Do not be tempted to add food coloring to the batter for extra green oomph. Your Baked Pistachio Pudding Donuts will appear radioactive. Not that I would know. The pudding mix will give you all the color you need. (I do recommend using the Jell-o brand. It produces a brighter green than the store brand.)
OK, let’s finish this! For true pistachio panache, fold chopped pistachios into the batter for crunch, dunk the donuts in honey glaze, then shower oodles of chopped pistachios all over the top. Salty pistachios + sweet honey = tasty math.
If you don’t have a donut pan, I highly recommend that you treat yourself to this $8 Wilton donut pan for St. Patrick’s Day. It’s worth every penny, and then some! Once you own it, you will find yourself finding many an excuse to bake up a tasty pan of donuts.
- Excuse #1: St. Patrick’s Day is approaching, and what could be more festive than green and glorious than Baked Pistachio Pudding Donuts?
- Excuse #2: It’s Friday. You deserve it.
- Excuse #3: Donuts need no justification.
Sunday donuts every week for life! Donut “problem” solved.
Baked Pistachio Pudding Donuts
For the Donuts:
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 package instant pistachio pudding mix - (3.4 ounces – 4 serving size) do not use sugar-free
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup buttermilk - plus 2 tablespoons
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
- 1/4 cup finely chopped pistachios
For the Honey Glaze:
- 1 cup powder sugar, - sifted
- 1 tablespoon honey - plus 1 teaspoon
- 1 tablespoon milk - plus 1-2 teaspoons additional as needed
- 3/4 cup roughly chopped pistachios - for garnish
- Place rack in upper third of oven and preheat oven to 350°F. Spray doughnut pan with non-stick cooking spray.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, pudding mix, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a small separate bowl, combine buttermilk, egg, canola oil and almond extract. Pour over dry ingredients and mix just until combined, being careful not to over mix. The batter will be thick and stiff. Toss pistachios with 1 teaspoon flour, then gently fold into batter.
- With a small spoon, scoop batter into prepared doughnut pan until each “well” is 3/4 full, then smooth out surface. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean and doughnut springs back lightly when touched. Let cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then removing from pan to cool completely.
More donut (doughnut?) delights:
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