I don’t know about you guys, but I think fried dough is pretty fabulous. I’m not a huge fan of deep frying things, but every once in a while it’s a treat we like to indulge in. Oh sure, baked dough is great. I’m not knocking it. But, there is something to be said for a yeasted dough cooked in a big vat full of bubbling oil. Beignets are a great for an easy Sunday morning breakfast since most of the work is done the night before. You simply roll out and fry in the morning.
I’ve actually been making this recipe for years now. In fact, I think these beignets were my first attempt at using yeast in the kitchen. Ahh, the places you’ll go! The dough always comes together nicely, and is easy to work with. Make sure you don’t skimp on the powdered sugar on top. There’s not much sugar in the dough, so it’s important to really “lay it on thick” when serving. With a hot café au lait, and the morning paper – it’s the perfect way to start your Sunday morning.
makes about 2 dozen squares
1 envelope active dry yeast
3/4 cup water (110 degrees F)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 beaten egg
1/2 cup evaporated milk
3 1/2 – 3 3/4 cups flour
1/8 cup shortening
Vegetable oil for frying
powdered sugar for topping
Combine the yeast, water, and sugar in the work bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook (You could also make this in a food processor, or the old fashioned way, by hand). Let this sit until frothy, about 5 minutes.
Add the salt, egg, and evaporated milk. Mix on low speed, then add half of the flour until it starts to come together, then add the shortening. When the shortening is incorporated start adding the remaining flour, a little at a time until most of it is incorporated.
Turn the dough onto a floured surface to finish by hand. Knead the dough, adding just enough flour as necessary to make a non-sticky, smooth dough. Place the dough into a large oiled bowl, loosely cover and let rise in the refrigerator overnight.
In the morning punch down the dough, and turn it onto a floured surface. Roll out into a rectangle that is about 1/2″ thick. With a very pizza cutter or a very sharp knife, working at a diagonal to the rectangle, cut into 2″ wide strips. Now cut into diamond shapes by making diagonal cuts in the opposite direction. Place the beignets on a floured baking sheet to let rise about 40 minutes in a warm place.
When the beignets have risen, heat 2-3 inches of vegetable oil in a large saucepan to 350-360 degrees. Place 2-3 beignets into the hot oil at a time, being careful not to smash or deflate them. When they are golden brown, flip them over until golden brown on the other side (They go pretty quickly so start checking them right after they go into the oil). Remove to paper towel lined plates to drain. Serve hot topped with plenty of powdered sugar.
Source: New Orleans Cuisine