Tuesday, March 4, 2014

French Market Beignets, SL1992

Each time I have visited New Orleans, I have not passed up the opportunity to go to Cafe Du Monde to eat one of their delectable beignets. So when The Mister announced that we were hosting a gumbo dinner, he immediately volunteered me to make these delightful treats. At the end of the dinner, our guests went home with powdered sugar on their faces and a few more for the road.

Leave it to me to forget to take pictures the first time I made these. Inevitably, I had to make a second batch to document. There were no complaints from The Mister's coworkers. Just mouths full of powdered, sugary goodness.

French Market Beignets

Adapted from Southern Living 1992 Annual Recipes, pg 88

  • 2 1/4 tsp yeast
  • 2 TBSP warm water
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 2 TBSP oil
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour (I used self-rising flour the first time I made these.)
  • oil for frying
  • powdered sugar for dusting
Mix yeast in water. Set aside. Put milk, sugar, salt, and nutmeg in a pot and warm until sugar dissolves. Remove milk mixture from heat. Make sure the milk mixture is not too hot before pouring it into a mixing bowl. Add the yeast mix, eggs, oil, and half the flour  and mix at medium speed. Add more flour to create a soft dough.

In a second bowl, pour about a tablespoon of oil and coat the bowl. Then put the dough in the oiled bowl. Coat the dough with oil. Cover the dough and allow it to rise for about an hour. (I set my bowl in the closed oven to reduce exposure to drafts.)

After an hour, clean and flour a counter top. Place the risen dough on the counter top and knead lightly then roll the dough into a large rectangle. (The instructions say 18 inch by 12 inch.) Cut the rolled dough into smaller rectangles. (The instructions say 32 3 inch by 2 inch.) Put the cut dough on a sheet pan with enough space between the dough to allow for the dough to rise.

This is where I diverted from the instructions and placed the sheet pans containing the cut dough into the refrigerator overnight. The next morning, I placed the sheet pans in the oven for an hour to let it rise.

Pour oil into a cast iron skillet and heat 375 degrees. (I used a candy thermometer to monitor the temperature.) Place several beignets in the oil and fry each side for about 1 minute. (When I fried the beignets, I had to flip the beignets just as soon as they turned golden brown.) Place the beignets on a stack of paper towels. Cover the beignets with powdered sugar and serve right away.

Some notes:
  • The first time I made the recipe I used self-rising flour and the beignets seemed pillowy after frying. The second time I used all-purpose flour according to the recipe.
  • I think I over mixed the second batch in the stand mixer as it was a little chewy.
  • Also, one minute on each side was too long when I cooked it so I removed the beignets as soon as they turned golden. I used a thermometer, but it may not have been deep enough in the oil to check the temperature accurately.

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