Okay, as I said previously in my post, I am not a huge “holiday” themed person. Not that I don’t like holidays, but sticking to one theme kind of cramps my style. However, for the sake of blogging I’m going along with the theme of Mardi Gras! Please don’t misunderstand me, I do like holiday themes when I see them elsewhere, and I end up enjoying cooking/baking these themed foods, but my mind takes a while to catch up to the concept.
Last year I tried making my first King Cake which turned out to be rather disgusting looking cake, but tasted awesome. This year I tried my hands on making beignets. I am sad to say I’ve never been to New Orleans and to Café Du Monde. Twice in the past my family and I actually planned to go during the children’s Spring Break, but never materialized. So, until we can get down there, we’ll have to contend with the homemade version, which isn’t shabby, not shabby at all. This beignet recipe came from DamGood Sweet by David Guas (executive chef from Bayou Bakery in Northern Virginia), which in turn was printed on the Fine Cooking page!
This will yield about 4 dozen beignets:
3/4 cup whole milk
1-1/2 cups buttermilk
4 tsp. active dry yeast
2-1/2 Tbs. sugar
3-1/2 cups bread flour plus extra for flouring work surface
1/2 tsp.baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
Peanut oil for frying
Confectioners’ sugar for serving, as much as you think you’ll need—then double that!
Heat the milk in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until small bubbles form at the surface. Remove from the heat, add the buttermilk, and then pour into a stand mixer bowl. Whisk in the yeast and the sugar and set aside for 5 minutes.
Add the flour, baking soda, and salt, and mix on low speed, using a dough hook, until the dry ingredients are moistened, 3 to 4 minutes. Increase the mixer speed to medium and continue mixing until the dough forms a loose ball and is still quite wet and tacky, 1 to 2 minutes longer.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set the dough aside in a draft-free spot for 1 hour.
Pour enough peanut oil into a large pot to fill it to a depth of 3 inches and bring to a temperature of 375°F over medium heat (this will take about 20 minutes). Line a plate with paper towels and set aside.
Lightly flour your work surface and turn the dough out on it.
Sprinkle the top of the dough with flour, gently press to flatten, fold it in half, and gently tuck the ends under to create a rough-shaped round.
Dust again and roll the dough out into a 1/2-inch- to 1/3-inch-thick circle. Let the dough rest for 1 minute before using a chef’s knife, a bench knife, or a pizza wheel to cut the dough into 1-1/2-inch squares (you should get about 48).
Gently stretch a beignet lengthwise and carefully drop it into the oil. Add a few beignets (don’t overcrowd them, otherwise the oil will cool down and the beignets will soak up oil and be greasy) and fry until puffed and golden brown, turning them often with a slotted spoon, for 2 to 3 minutes.
Transfer to the prepared plate to drain while you cook the rest. Serve while still warm, buried under a mound of confectioners’ sugar, with hot coffee on the side.
My opinion: I wanted to make this for Sunday breakfast, but I knew it wasn’t realistic for me to wake up early. I made the dough the night before. I had the dough rise for an hour and put the dough in the fridge. When I checked the dough in the morning it rose a little more. I kept the cold dough out on the warmest part of the kitchen for about 30-40 minutes and proceeded with the rest.
I honestly thought this was a lot of beignets when I first started cutting and frying. HOWEVER, I am so embarrassed to say this: we probably finished off about 3/4 of these morsels. My family couldn’t get enough of these. Oh – my – gosh!! these were so good!! You bite into beignet and you instantly feel this bouncy, yeasty, & fried doughy texture; your teeth just sink into to this amazing sensation… wow… let me stop now before I start wanting more of these beignets. By the way, these tastes the best when eaten right away while they are warm!!