When my husband first had a beignet we were at Cafe Du Monde in New Orleans and he said “It’s just fried dough with sugar”.
I am no dum dum though, instead of launching into a discussion about whether this marriage was going to work or not I went ahead and finished them heh heh heh
Somehow the idea of making them seemed a little intimidating, but when my little girl watched the Princess and the Frog and asked me what a Beignet was then I knew I had to get cracking. The dough recipe is pretty straightforward. I just halved the usual amount and found it still made several dozen. The dough that I fried up on day one was airier than the more flavourful dough of day two. Either way it is a win. I rolled mine thinner than most recipes suggested because doughy is not a word I am keen on and I must say it worked very well. These petite beignets were slightly chewy on the outside and light on the inside. Yum.
Confectioners’ sugar and I aren’t best buds so I decided to create a citrus sugar for my beignets and folks, there is no turning back. My taste testers tried them with regular powdered sugar as well as cinnamon sugar, but the citrus sugar was the clear winner.
Makes 3 dozen
1 ⅛ tsp active dry yeast
¾ cup warm water (110 degrees F)
¼ cup sugar
½ tsp salt
½ cup evaporated milk
3 ½ cup all purpose flour
2 tbsp shortening
Vegetable Oil for Frying
1 cup caster sugar
Zest of ½ an orange
Zest of ½ a lemon
Combine the three ingredients into a grinder and grind until the bits of zested rind disappear into the sugar. The caster sugar will become quite fine, but not dissolve like powdered sugar will. Store airtight in a dry place until you need it.
If it clumps up then no worries gently mashing it with a fork works. As you can see my sugar needed a little loosening 🙂
Take out a large bowl, dissolve the sugar in warm water, sprinkle the yeast on top and wait for it to proof i.e look like it is simultaneously dissolving and slightly bubbling. Then add the salt, egg, and evaporate milk and blend well. Add in two cups of flour, mix well, then work in the rest.
This dough is not firm and smooth like a tart dough. If anything it is in the middle of a pizza dough and a tart dough so don’t worry if it does not seem sturdy, just leave it to rest in a warm place if you will use it soon or for up to 24 hours in the fridge. Either way the dough will almost double.
Before you start rolling the dough out you ought to bring out a saucepan and start heating your oil. You want it around 350 degrees so that your beignets fry up crisp and non greasy.
Generously flour your workspace/board and place the dough on the board. Roll out the dough to about ⅛ of an inch and then cut into 1.5 inch squares (or larger). This was very easy to do with a pizza cutter. Use a small bit of dough to test your oil, if the dough fries up quickly then start placing the squares in the oil. They only need about two minutes on each side.
just look at that golden little beauty, waiting to be dusted with some lovely lemony sugar.
Ofcourse these are best enjoyed with some Cafe Au Lait, but for those less fortunate a cup of nice black coffee does the trick as well 🙂