YAY for beignets…
Was clearing cupboards day-before & found a Krispy Creme donut cap which the kids had picked up in Dallas last year when we were on vacation. The memories of row upon row of delicious looking donuts sailing in front of us suddenly came alive. The freshness of the donuts just off from the conveyor, the warmth & the entire experience was scrumptious.
Got to Ruth’s bookmarked round-up & saw Dhhangit’s French Beignets (pronounced ben-yay) posted there with pictures. Providence…something was telling me it was time to make donuts; I’d never heard of beignets before! Recipe bookmarked, but by the time I got to the recipe, I found I needed 3 hours of rising time; I had just over 1. I planned to take some that afternoon for friends of the kids who are here these days. Googled for beignets & found another great sounding recipe for Chanukah Beignets @ Baking & Books. Rising time was 50-60 minutes & that fitted better into my silly hectic schedule.
Never heard of beignets before? I hadn’t! They are French & they are absolutely yummy! Good enough? Non?Hmmmm…well ok, a beignet ( pronounced ben–YAY) refers to a French doughnut being a pastry made from deep-fried dough and sprinkled with confectioner’s sugar. Beignets are often found in, and typically associated with, the city of New Orleans, Louisiana. Savory versions of beignets are also popular as an appetizer, with fillings such as crawfish or shrimp.
Donuts as adapted from Chanukah Beignets @ Baking & Books
Makes about 3 dozen, depending on size ( I got about 4 dozen smaller 3″ donuts)
Warm water – 1/4 cup
Dry active yeast – 4 teaspoons
Granulated sugar – 1/3 cup plus a pinch
Skimmed Milk – 1 1/4 cups warm (The recipe calls for whole milk, which I didnt have)
Vanilla extract – 2 1/2 teaspoons
Eggs – 2
Unsalted butter – 1/4 cup /melted
Salt – 1 1/2 teaspoons
Flour – 5 -5 1/2 cups (I used all purpose)
Vegetable oil, for frying
Confectioners sugar, Cinnamon, Melted dark chocolate, sprinkles, honey, sesame seeds etc Method:
In a large mixing bowl, stir together the warm water, yeast, and a pinch of sugar. Allow the mixture to stand for a couple of minutes, until the yeast has taken on a spongy appearance.
Pour in the warm milk, the remaining sugar, the vanilla, eggs, melted butter, salt & whisk to mix.
Add most of the flour to make a soft dough. Knead for 5 to 8 minutes, adding more flour as needed to form a firmer, smooth and elastic dough. (This wasn’t very easy to achieve because the dough was very very sticky. I used well over 5 1/2 cups, though the original recipe calls for 4 – 41/2 cups. Do start from 4 cups)
Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, rotate to coat, and loosely cover with cling wrap. Allow to rise for 50 to 60 minutes. ( I left mine for 2 hours because I was on the phone…so…it flowed!!)
Gently deflate the dough, then roll half out on a greased surface. Cut circles & centres out with a greased cookie cutter or a donut cutter. For beignets, roll out to a rectangle, cut into 3 x 5 inch rectangles, cover, and let sit for 15 minutes while heating the oil. If the dough is too elastic (i.e. if it retracts every time you work with it) allow it to relax for a few minutes before stretching or rolling it further.
In a wok, heat 4 inches of oil to 380 degrees F. (I just heated it & checked for doneness with a little ball of dough since I don’t own a candy thermometer, much as I’d love to).
Gently slide in the cut donuts, or for beignets, stretch the dough slightly before adding them to the oil and fry until the undersides are deep brown and the beignets have puffed up noticeably, about 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. (Be careful when you add the dough! The oil will probably splash a little.) Turn once and finish frying for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes on the other side.
They will have be deep golden brown on both sides when done. Lift the beignets out with a slotted spoon or tongs and drain them well on paper towels.
Dust generously with confectioners sugar &/or cinnamon mixed with confectioners sugar.
If you wish to top them with melted chocolate, wait for them to cool down completely & then dip the tops or paint on melted chocolate. Sprinkle on 100′s & 1000′s, coloured sugar strands, chocolate strands etc. Another topping option is to drizzle honey over them, sprinkled with roasted sesame seeds.
Notes: Every time you add dough to the oil the temperature of the oil will decrease, so allow the oil to reheat between batches. Don’t fry more than 2 beignets at once. Also, the first beignet you fry will probably become golden super fast, but be underdone in the center. This is normal.
This delicious recipe is from: A Treasury of Jewish Holiday Baking by Marcy Goldman.
Quoting Ariela from the Dec 2006 post @ Baking and Books , “If you do it right, you’ll be left with a crispy exterior and soft, fluffy interior. Dust the beignet with sugar and you’ve just created piece of edible heaven.” I DID IT. Created just that!! Take a look…
They were delicious. The kids love me even more now! Their friends too. Eleven kids in the daughter’s class shared 1 measly donut; she saved the rest for her other friends, who even rang home last evening to see if I could make more. So I made another batch with some left over dough that I had refrigerated, & sent them to school this morning!! The boy sweetly asked me to save some for his Dad who came in early this morning from HKG. Dad was famished when he reached home in the middle of the night…viola, I presented donuts! He enjoyed them too. They would’ve tasted better fresh out of the pan, but wild horses wouldn’t drag me to fry at 3 in the morning!! LOL!!
Dhhangit suggested honey & sesame seeds…YUMMMM…they were good too.
When it rains, it pours … When the dough rises, it shows!!
Poetic justice! I seem to be enjoying the magic of yeast…& HOW!!
Just discovered another event, which was one of the first ones I got familiar with almost a year ago…Think Spice. Am sending this to Sunita @ Sunita’s World who is celebrating the first anniversary of her monthly event. The choice of spice this month is open…so ‘cinnamon’ being one of my firm favourites, these donuts are off to her to join the party!