I love fried dough in any form- funnel cakes, doughnuts, mandazi, churros, taiyaki, etc., but I had never managed to try beignets. All I knew was that New Orleans was famous for them and that they sounded delicious.
I spotted this recipe over a month ago when I discovered the gem that is Joe Pastry. At the time, I barely had time to cook, let alone bake something that had two (albeit short) rises. Finally free from work and school, I made these while on spring break in Florida two weeks ago. We were actually only four hours from New Orleans, but no one wanted to make the trip, so these were the closest I was going to get (for now, at least).
And they were so amazing. I served them with both the traditional heap of confectioners’ sugar, as well as some strawberry jam I made that morning. Even though they’re not all that indulgent, these aren’t exactly an everyday breakfast item. However, if you’ve got a couple hours to spare, they make a great Saturday morning treat. Just make sure to have a lot of strong coffee nearby.
adapted slightly from Joe Pastry
1/2 cup whole milk, room temperature
1/2 cup buttermilk, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla (I accidentally omitted this, but it was fine)
4 teaspoons instant yeast
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 cups minus two tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
Powdered sugar for garnishing
Peanut or vegetable oil for frying
- Combine the milk, buttermilk and vanilla in a measure and stir.
- Put the yeast, granulated sugar, flour and salt in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle and stir. Add in the dry ingredients and stir until all the ingredients are moistened. Switch to the dough hook and knead 3-4 minutes until the dough is relatively smooth. It will be rather wet and sticky. [I didn’t have an electric mixer, so I stirred the ingredients and then kneaded it by hand for a couple minutes extra.]
- Transfer it to a lightly oiled bowl and let it rise until almost doubled, 45 minutes to an hour. The dough can be deflated and refrigerated at this point for up to 3 days.
- Turn the dough out onto a well-floured board and pat it down into a rough rectangle. Roll it out to a thickness of about 3/8″, then with a pizza cutter slice it into squares about 2″ side to side. Lay the beignets on a sheet pan covered with a clean dish towel or proofing cloth and let rise another 45 minutes or so until puffy.
- Meanwhile, pour 2-3 inches of peanut oil into a heavy pot and slowly heat it to 375 degrees F. Do I have to repeat that you should have a fire extinguisher close by? You should whenever you deep fry.
- Fry the beignets about 45 seconds per side, closely watching your oil temperature to make sure it gets neither too hot or cool. Drain on paper towels. Serve warm with powdered sugar sprinkled all over.