As any resident can tell you, a good day in the Crescent City starts with hot beignets and strong coffee, even if you do have to brush a whole lot of powdered sugar off your shirtfront afterwards. And while a plain, freshly made beignet is perfection in itself, many pastry chefs are now gilding the lily, dressing up their beignets recipe and calling them dessert.
Makes 12 beignets
1 package active dry yeast
2 tablespoons warm water
4 ½ cups all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup whole milk
4 tablespoons butter
1 egg, beaten
Vegetable oil for frying
Powdered sugar for serving
1. In a small bowl, sprinkle yeast over warm water. Set aside for 5 minutes, then stir briefly to dissolve the yeast.
2. Sift flour, sugar, and salt into a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment.
3. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, heat milk and butter until butter melts and milk is just beginning to steam. Pour hot milk mixture into flour and beat briskly. If using stand mixer, beat on medium-low speed until just mixed. Add beaten egg and yeast mixture and beat vigorously until smooth.
4. In a cast-iron Dutch oven or other heavy, deep pot over medium-high heat, heat two to three inches of oil to 365°F. Line a baking sheet with a grid rack or two layers of paper towels.
5. While oil is heating, lightly flour a counter or work surface. Sprinkle flour over a baking sheet. Pat dough out into a 1/2-inch thick rectangle. Using a sharp knife, cut rectangle into 12 squares, each approximately 2 inches square. Arrange squares on floured baking sheet.
6. Using a slotted spoon or skimmer, drop beignets into oil, frying in batches to avoid crowding the pan. Fry for 1 minute, then flip to brown other side. Using a slotted spoon, skimmer, or tongs, remove beignets from oil. Let drain on rack or paper towels. Repeat with remaining beignets.
7. Sift powdered sugar over beignets and serve warm.
Need something a little lighter? Try a fauxnut recipe instead.
This recipes courtesy of World of Doughnuts (Egg & Dart Press, June 2013)