Beignets are a famous treat that are beloved by people all over the world. Learn how to make them in your own kitchen. Just try not to wear black clothing when you eat the final product!
A beignet is a deep fried pastry that is covered in powdered sugar. Beignets are the official state doughnut of the state of Louisiana. They are mainly associated with the French Quarter of New Orleans, Louisiana. How did this pastry come to be? Beignets originated in France. When French settlers migrated in the 17th century to a region of Canada called Acadia, the recipe for beignets came along with them. A hundred years later, when the British took control of Acadia, many Acadians migrated to Louisiana in the United States. The Acadians kept their French language and cuisine alive in the American south. Their descendants are known as Cajuns.
Beignets are a beautiful thing. Their light and airy like doughnuts, but the hill of powdered sugar on top sets them apart. I love ordering them when I see them on restaurant menus or if they are available at street fairs. My first time making them was in university. My roommates and I bought this cheap dough mix and we were frying all kinds of fried carnival food; corn dogs, funnel cakes, and beignets. Those first beignets were a disaster, they were completely inedible. It took me a few years to get up the courage to make one of my favorite fried treats again, but I did not want the dessert to keep me down. I found a recipe and tried again. The beignets were better than before, but they did not meet the standard of ones I had eaten at restaurants and fairs. Then one day, I found the key to making beignets at home; a large Dutch oven. I made another recipe for beignet dough, but instead of frying them in a frying pan I fried them in a large Dutch oven and they puffed up perfectly. I hope that my story inspires you to make beignets at home, because they taste best when eaten fresh! Please enjoy!
Beautiful Beignets Recipe
Yields 25-30 beignets
Specialty Tools: Large Dutch oven, rolling pin, pizza cutter/sharp knife, sieve/fine-mesh strainer
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Inactive Time: 2 hours
Cook Time: 15 to 23 minutes
Drink Pairing Suggestion: Coffee or Milk
1/2 cup milk
3/4 cup water
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 large egg
1 1/2 tablespoons butter, melted
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
Vegetable oil for frying and oiling
1 cup powdered sugar for dusting
Place milk and water in a small sauce pan. Heat saucepan to medium heat for 1 to 2 minutes. The mixture should be warm.
Take sauce pan off the heat. Whisk the granulated sugar into the milk mixture.
Spoon in the yeast and set aside for 15 minutes. This will proof the yeast. When time is up the yeast should be foamy.
In a large bowl, beat the egg. Pour in the milk mixture.
Gently add in the melted butter and the flour.
Mix with a stand mixer for 1-2 minutes, or beat with a wooden spoon until the mixture is thick and smooth.
Dust your work surface with flour and dump the dough onto it. Gently fold the dough 3 times.
Oil the mixing bowl with a tablespoon or two of vegetable oil. Place dough in the well-oiled bowl.
Cover bowl with a kitchen towel. Leave the bowl in a warm place to let the dough rise.
The dough should rise until it has doubled in size, about 2 hours.
Dust your work surface again with flour. Lay the dough on it. Using a floured rolling pin, roll out the dough until it is about 1/4-inch thick.
Using a pizza cutter or sharp knife, cut the dough into 2-inch squares. You should have 25-30 pieces. It is okay if some of the corner pieces are not perfect squares. (Do not reroll the dough.)
Line a baking sheet with paper towels, set aside.
Heat some oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat.
Fry 4 dough pieces at a time. Gently add the dough pieces to the oil. Make sure ladle some hot oil over the pieces. Fry each side for 1 to 2 minutes, until golden brown.
Transfer hot beignets to paper-towel lined baking sheet to drain.
Repeat these steps with remaining dough.
Using a sieve or strainer, generously dust the beignets with powdered sugar right before serving.
Serve with coffee or milk.
Beignets are a great dessert for classic New Orleans inspired dishes like jambalaya.
Beignets are best fresh, but the dough can be made the night before. After mixing the dough, leave it in a well-oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let it rise in the refrigerator overnight, about 8 hours. Fry according to above steps.
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