A trip to New Orleans (or a visit to Vieux Carré) is incomplete without trying the beignet. This ultra-light pastry is typically square-shaped, fried (versus baked) and dusted with powdered sugar. Serve with a side of jam, or fresh fruit and café au lait, coffee with chicory or perhaps something a bit stronger and laissez les bons temps rouler!
INGREDIENTS½ cup warm water, 110-120 degrees
1/8 cup sugar
1 tablespoon active dry yeast (do not use rapid rise or quick yeast)
½ cup milk, room temperature
1 egg, large
½ teaspoon salt
2½ cups all-purpose flour
1½ tablespoons softened, unsalted butter
Extra flour for handling dough
Vegetable oil for frying (canola, sunflower)
3 cups powdered sugar
INSTRUCTIONSMix warm water, sugar and yeast in a small bowl with whisk and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside until needed.
In separate bowl, whisk together milk, egg and salt.
In separate bowl, crumb together flour and butter with a fork.
Pour the milk-egg mixture into the flour-butter mixture and combine to create a thick batter.
Add yeast mixture into batter until fully incorporated. Knead lightly while still inside the bowl lightly until texture is smooth and not sticky.
Grease inside of a metal bowl, gently place dough into bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Place in warm area (80-90 degrees) and let rise for 30 minutes or until double in size.
Sprinkle flour on workstation and roll out dough to ¼ inch thick sheet.
Using dough knife, cut into 2 ½" x 3" squares.
Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper, sprinkle with flour and place beignets on top.
Cover with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator.
Heat oil to 350 degrees. You want enough in the pot so that the pastries can float freely, so approximately 2-3 inches deep.
Place a few pieces of dough into the oil at a time, knowing that the temperature will drop so you may need to adjust the heat. Do not crowd the beignets.
Fry for 2 minutes, flipping after 1 minute.
Remove from hot oil and transfer to a paper-towel lined plate as needed.
Dust with plenty of powdered sugar and serve.
Makes 22-25 beignets
— RECIPE COURTESY OF VIEUX CARRÉ CHEF JEANA PECHA