Am I entitled to eat six beignets after a bike ride to the Farmer’s Market where I picked up bunches of healthy greens and fruits for the week? How about slathered with chocolate almond butter (a variation of the homemade Nutella I posted the other day) and sprinkled with loads of powdered sugar? Oh yeah, that version was outta this world crazy scrumptious! I only thought of the chocolate spread because the last vestiges of it was hanging out in a jar which was sitting on the counter which was right next to where I was deep frying these delectably delicious beignets.
Ever had true New Orleans beignets at Cafe du Monde in downtown Orleans? An experience, for sure. Those delights are light and airy and they literally dump buckets of powdered sugar on top rather than a heavy sprinkling. Oh-so-yummy! Best after you’ve hit the New Orleans night scene and need a snack in the wee hours. Or early in the morning before heading off to see the sights. Works either way. If ever you get the pleasure of experiencing New Orleans, though, make beignets at Cafe du Monde a must. I traveled there well over 10 years ago and still have memories of these deep-fried delights.
As for making your own, way easier than I thought, especially this particular recipe. No big mixer with a dough hook needed. No milk. No evaporated milk. No buttermilk. (Saw those in numerous other recipes.) No overnight stint in the fridge. Just mix it up in a bowl, cover and refrigerate for an hour, then you are ready to roll, cut, and fry.
Beware, the dough is definitely of the wet variety, meaning it’s quite sticky. Nonetheless, with lots of flour sprinkled all over your rolling surface and roller and on top of the dough, it’s easily workable. A rubber spatula makes getting the sticky dough from bowl to board a breeze, and a pizza cutter makes quick and easy cutting of the dough once it’s all rolled out.
Now for frying, a thermometer is needed. That’s what held me back for so long from making these despite that I’ve had recipes bookmarked for months and months and months. Yes, I have two thermometers (a Thermaworks and a cheapo candy thermometer from the grocery store), but neither is conducive to measuring and regulating the temperature of hot oil in a pan or Dutch oven. Well, yesterday as I wandered the aisles of Frye’s, I stumbled upon the cutest little deep fryer by Cuisinart. So darn irresistible due to its miniature size. Perfect for just us two. Not so perfect if you want to fry up goodies for a large crowd, though.
I really bought it because we’ve been frying the crappie (nice name for a fish, huh?) that hubby caught ages ago on an outdoorsman trip, and he has fond memories of the deep-fried method used to cook the crappie at the ranch where he hunted and fished. So I splurged. Well, at $40 it didn’t seem like a big splurge, so I did it.
And once I did, I knew the beignets were on tap for the following morning!
Beignets are best eaten warm, so fry ‘em up right as you are ready to eat them. The recipe below makes 2 dozen, so I halved it. I think I could also fry up a few and keep the dough in the fridge for later, although for how much longer I’m not sure. I did test out microwaving one for about 20 seconds and it tasted all warm and delish again. Like I said, much better warm than at room temp.
So glad I finally got around to trying these. They are much easier than I thought, so now when I want a weekend treat, these will fit the bill very nicely!
Yield: 2 dozen
- 1 cup water, heated to 110 degrees F (I used hot tap water, which measured about 120 degrees F)
- 3 tbsp. granulated sugar
- 1 tbsp. instant or rapid-rise yeast
- 3 cups (15 ounces) all-purpose flour
- 3/4 tsp. salt
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tbsp. vegetable oil plus 2 quarts for frying
- confectioner’s sugar
- Place 1 tbsp. granulated sugar and yeast in a large bowl; add water and allow to sit until it gets foamy, about 5 minutes.
- In another bowl, medium sized, combine the flour, salt, and remaining 2 tbsp. granulated sugar. Set aside.
- Add eggs and 2 tbsp. oil to the yeast mixture; whisk.
- Add flour mixture to wet ingredients; stir vigorously with a rubber spatula until dough forms a cohesive but rough ball. Cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate until nearly doubled in size, about 1 hour.
- Before rolling out dough, set a wire rack inside a rimmed baking sheet. This is where you will place fried beignets to keep them crisp and airy until ready to eat. Now, liberally flour the surface of your counter or rolling surface.
- Use a rubber spatula to help ease the half the dough from the bowl to the floured surface. Using floured hands, pat the dough into a rough rectangle; flip it to coat with flour (very sticky later if you omit this step). Using a floured rolling pin, roll the dough into a 1/4-inch thick 12”x9” rectangle. Use a pizza wheel to cut the dough into twelve 3-inch squares. Repeat with remaining dough.
- Add the two quarts of oil to a large Dutch oven, aiming for about 1 1/2 inches of depth. Heat over medium-high heat to 350 degrees F (or, heat oil in a deep fryer). Place beignets in oil so they aren’t too close together, fitting in as many as your frying unit will allow. Fry until golden brown, about 3 minutes total, flipping halfway through frying. Adjust burner to maintain oil temperature between 325-350 degrees F.
- Use a slotted spoon or spider to transfer golden brown beignets to the wire rack. Immediately and liberally sprinkle beignets with powdered sugar, then promptly eat as these are best served warm. Repeat with remaining dough.
SOURCE: Cook’s Country (from the America’s Test Kitchen folks)