Home > Beverages and misc > Fat Tuesday Warm Up: Beignets

Fat Tuesday Warm Up: Beignets

To celebrate Valentine’s Day and the upcoming Fat Tuesday celebration, my loving husband made beignets for breakfast today. If you have never had a beignet before you are really missing out on a cultural opportunity. They are like the chic, uptown cousin of the county fair queen funnel cake. Imagine square pillows of airy, puffy, layered dough topped with feather-light satiny sugar dusted from above. It is like the angels themselves are rubbing their wings together and down falls the powdered sugar. Truly a taste of heaven, and yes, they are THAT good. Cafe du Monde  in New Orleans gained notoriety thought their beignets and café au lait. They may offer other things on their menu, but I would never know it, since that is all I have ever consumed, or inhaled to be more accurate.

Dave in action...yes we did put tin foil on the rest of the stove to prevent the oil from getting everywhere - works great.

I will be honest, they do take a bit of work to make. In fact, you need to make the dough the night before. But it will be worth it, trust me. For the recipe below, Dave normally makes the entire recipe of dough but only uses half of it and freezes the other half. The dough freezes pretty darn well and makes a super easy breakfast, especially for those mornings when you feel the effects of a rough night on Bourbon Street.

Makes about 4-5 dozen beignets

1 1/2 cup warm water
1 package active dry yeast
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 cup undiluted canned evaporated milk
7 cups flour
1/4 vegetable shortening
oil for deep-frying
confectioner’s sugar

Put the warm water in a large bowl, add the dry yeast and stir until thoroughly dissolved. Add the sugar, salt, eggs and evaporated milk. Slowly stir in 4 cups of flour. Beat with a wooden spoon until smooth and well combined. Beat in the shortening then add the remaining flour, about 1/3 cup at a time. Stir until it becomes too stiff to do so and then work the dough with your fingers. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

On a clean, floured surface roll out the dough to a thickness of 1/8-inch. Using a sharp knife, cut the dough into rectangles measuring 2 1/2 inches by 3 1/2 inches.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Preheat the oil in a deep fryer or large pot  to 360 degrees.

Fry 3 or 4 beignets at a time until they are puffed and golden brown on both sides, about 2 to 3 minutes per batch. Using tongs, turn them over once or twice so that they are evenly browned. Drain each batch on a wire cooling rack. Place them on a platter covered with paper towels and put the platter in the oven to keep warm. Repeat with the remaining beignets.

Using a flour sifter or fine mesh colander, cover the beignets with plenty powdered sugar and serve hot with coffee.

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