I’ve been getting a beignet craving ever since visiting New Orleans and eating the delicious beignets at Cafe du Monde. Now Cafe du Monde normally sells beignet mixes for those who want to take some back with them, but – I didn’t buy any. and also, I wanted to make some from scratch because I had heard the mixes are just not the same (surprise surprise). So I searched online for a couple of recipes. I made two different recipes – one was a Paula Deen one (which is given below), and I’ve forgotten where I even got the other one from. Suffice to say, the major distinction between the various recipes seem to be (besides minor changes in ingredients) – whether one should leave the dough overnight in a fridge, or whether one should leave it out at room temperature for a few hours till the dough rises. Paula Deen’s recipe recommended the latter, and it resulted in beignets that were light and airy, which was perfect. The recipe’s given below, though I’ve added my comments here and there.
Just be warned – making beignets from scratch turned out to be quite a long process. Also, for those of you who watch Chopped Champions on Food Network, how on earth did Michael Simon manage to make these in just half an hour?!
Paula Deen’s French Quarter Beignets
- 1 and a 1/2 cups lukewarm water
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 envelope active dry yeast
- 2 eggs, slightly beaten
- 1 and 1/4 teaspoons salt
- 1 cup evaporated milk
- 7 cups bread flour
- 1/4 cup shortening
- Nonstick spray
- Oil, for deep-frying
- 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
1. Mix water, sugar, and yeast in a large bowl and let sit for 10 minutes.
2. In another bowl, beat the eggs, salt and evaporated milk together. Mix egg mixture to the yeast mixture.
3. In a separate bowl, measure out the bread flour. Add 3 cups of the flour to the yeast mixture and stir to combine. Add the shortening and continue to stir while adding the remaining flour.
4. Remove dough from the bowl, place onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth.
5. Spray a large bowl with nonstick spray. Put dough into the bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a towel. Let rise in a warm place for at least 2 hours (though we left it out for about 10-12 hours overnight).
6. Preheat oil in a deep-fryer to 350 degrees F. Roll the dough out to about 1/4-inch thickness and cut into 1-inch squares.
7. Deep-fry, flipping constantly, until they become a golden color.
8. After beignets are fried, drain them for a few seconds on paper towels, and then toss them into the bag of confectioners’ sugar. Hold bag closed and shake to coat evenly.