Monday, January 28, 2013
Beignets are a New Orleans staple, and they are divine in their simplicity. Beignets are a kind of French donut - slightly sweetened fried dough that is usually served with a generous dusting of powdered sugar or a fresh fruit sauce. The most iconic beignets are from Cafe du Monde, the all-night outdoor cafe in Jackson Square. If you find yourself in New Orleans, you absolutely MUST make a trip there. All they serve is Cafe au Lait and Beignets, but they are always hot and fresh.
Since Cafe du Monde doesn't share their famous beignet recipe (though you can buy it in a box mix if you'd like) I found a delicious and easy recipe from another iconic New Orleans establishment, Commander's Palace Restaurant. This recipe is adapted from their Commander's Kitchen cookbook.
3 Cups All-purpose Flour
2 Tablespoons Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
1 Cup Water
1 Cup Milk
1 Egg, beaten
2 1/2 quarts vegetable oil (or other frying oil - Canola, Safflower, etc.)
Powdered Sugar for dusting
Pour the vegetable oil into a large pot and heat over medium high heat to a temperature of 325 degrees. This will take a while to reach the right temperature, so start it heating while you prepare the batter:
In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar and mix well. In a separate bowl, mix the water, milk and egg. Add the wet ingredients to the dry, stirring until well-mixed.
Check your oil temperature - if it has reached 325 degrees, turn it down low while you do the last step to get the beignets ready to fry.
Turn the batter out onto a well-floured board. With a rolling pin, roll the dough to about 1/2" thick. Cut into squares (about 2") or rectangles. Don't worry if they aren't perfectly shaped -they will fry up nicely anyway. You can fry up the little scraps leftover too.
When the oil has reached 325 degrees, drop the beignets into the oil carefully, just a few at a time so you don't crowd the pot. Give them about 2-3 minutes and then gently turn them onto their other side. (It is best to use a long-handled slotted spoon or a mesh skimmer for this.) Give them another 2-3 minutes until they are golden brown on each side. Lift them out of the oil and place on a rack lined with paper towels. Dust each batch with powdered sugar while they are hot, before moving on to other batches.
Between each batch of beignets, check and adjust your oil to make sure you are maintaining 325 degrees.
Serve warm and enjoy!
Posted by Christa Dunn