Friday, November 5, 2010

New Orleans Beignets Recipe

Beignets are a tasty treat! If you have ever been to New Orleans then you are familiar with Cafe Du Monde Beignets. That is the ONLY way to really eat them.  Part of the joy of eating these fried dough treats includes sitting in the French Quarter, listening to street performers, smelling the cottonseed oil and drinking a cup of Cafe Au Lait.
We use to live in New Orleans and miss eating going to and eating these at Cafe Du Monde.  So we fried up a batch today and all I can say is YUM! They were perfect.   Here is my recipe that was passed on to me when I lived in New Orleans.

New Orleans Beignets (click to print)

Ingredients

1 envelope active dry yeast
3/4 c. water (110 F)
1/4 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 beaten egg
1/2 c. evaporated milk
3 1/2-3 3/4 c. flour
1/8 c. shortening
Cottonseed oil for frying (or vegetable oil)
Powdered Sugar

Directions: (Don't let the directions scare you. These are easy to make)

1) Combine the yeast, water and sugar in the work bowl of a stand mixer with dough hook. Let sit until frothy (5-10 minutes)
2) Add salt, egg and evaporated milk.  Mix on low speed until it starts to come together.
3) Add half of the flour until it starts to come together and then add shortening.  When that mixes in add the rest of the flour slowly until most of it is incorporated.  There will be some leftover.
4) Use the leftover flour to flour your table top and dump out the dough.  Work the dough just enough to make it non-sticky and smooth.
5) Place the dough in a oiled bowl, loosely cover and let rise until double in size.  (I put mine in the fridge for over night and then the dough is ready for breakfast)
6) Once dough is double in size, or next morning, Punch it down and turn it onto a floured surface and roll out into a rectangle that is about 1/2" thick.
7) With a sharp knife work at a diagonal to the rectangle, cut into 2" wide strips.  Now cut into diamond shapes by making diagonal cuts in the opposite directions.
8) Place the beignets on a floured baking sheet to let rise about 40 minutes in a warm place (I put them in the oven that has preheated to 350 and then turned off)
9) When risen, heat 2-3 inches of oil in a large saucepan to 350 degrees.
10) Place 3 beignets into the hot oil, being careful not to smash or deflate them.  When they are golden brown, flip them over to do the same on the other side. (These step happens quickly so have a plate with paper towel ready to go.)
11) Top with plenty of powdered sugar.
12) Depending on the cut, this will make 24-36 beignets. 
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