BeignetsPosted: February 14, 2013
Fat Tuesday was this week and while others around the nation were stuffing themselves, I was eyeball-deep in required reading for class. As a reward for my academic diligence, I thought I would whip up a batch of homemade beignets.
After some research, I began to feel a little intimidated. I don’t have a very good track record when it comes to frying things, but Hells Bells, I wanted beignets! Beignets I shall have!
The dough itself was relatively easy to throw together, and the fact that it only required a 1-hour rise time was definitely attractive.
The dough is quite sticky and requires a heavily-floured surface in order to be rolled out.
I know, I know, these aren’t all shaped like the ones you might find at Café du Monde in New Orleans, but heck, they were going to be fried in hot oil, so who cares?! Am I right??
Okay, one warning – your house will smell like the funnel cake truck at the county fair for a couple of days after your fry these beauties. Luckily, the weather here in Omaha was nice enough that I was able to open the windows for a few hours post fry-up.
I would also urge you to make these when you know they will be consumed post-haste. This recipe yields about two dozen, so be prepared to share (or eat every single one of them on your own).
From Cook’s Country
1 cup water, heated to 110ºF
3 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
1 tablespoon rapid-rise yeast
3 cups (15 ounces) all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons plus 2 quarts vegetable oil **
** Traditionally, these are fried in cottonseed oil, but I simply could not find it, so I used canola oil.
Combine water, 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, and yeast in large bowl and let sit until foamy, about 5 minutes. Combine flour, remaining 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, and salt in a second bowl. Whisk eggs and 2 tablespoons oil into yeast mixture. Add flour mixture and stir with rubber spatula until dough comes together. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until nearly doubled in size, about 1 hour. (I actually left my dough out on the counter to rise and it did just fine.)
Set wire rack inside rimmed baking sheet. Line second sheet with parchment paper and dust liberally with flour. Place half of dough on well-floured counter and pat into rough rectangle with floured hands, flipping to coat with flour. Roll dough into 1/4-inch-thick rectangle (roughly 12 by 9 inches). Using pizza wheel, cut dough into twelve 3-inch squares and transfer to floured sheet. Repeat with remaining dough.
Add enough of remaining 2 quarts oil to large Dutch oven to measure about 1 1/2-inches deep and heat over medium-high heat to 350ºF. Place several beignets in oil and fry until golden brown, about 3 minutes, flipping halfway through frying. Adjust burner, if necessary, to maintain oil temperature between 325º and 350ºF. It is imperative that you use either a deep-fry thermometer or an instant-read thermometer here. Your oil will get hotter than you want, and before you know it, you’ll have burned beignets rather than the golden ones you’ve worked so hard for.
Using a slotted spoon or spider, transfer beignets to prepared wire rack. Return oil to 350ºF and repeat with remaining beignets.
When slightly cooled, dust beignets with confectioner’s sugar. Serve immediately.