The beloved beignet is a Mardi Gras classic in the Deep South. Thanks to our St. Paul Pioneer Press, Dorie Greenspan’s recipe (from Baking Chez Moi) for beignets has come to the North Country. I haven’t deep-fried anything since the kids moved away and triglycerides moved in, but tomorrow I’ll brush off the beat-up Dutch oven—my designated deep-frying pan--and treat Taxman to these decadent little marvels, a Fat Tuesday indulgence that will inspire our Lenten sacrifices…I hope.
Method: In medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring milk, water, sugar, salt, and butter to rapid boil over high heat. Add flour all at once. Reduce heat to medium-low. Immediately begin stirring energetically with wooden spoon until dough comes together and light crust forms on the bottom of the saucepan. Keep stirring vigorously for one or two minutes more, or until dough dries and becomes very smooth. Turn dough into large bowl and allow to rest for about a minute. Add eggs, one at a time, beating each until fully incorporated. The dough may “break” a bit during this process, which will eliminate any need to go to the gym for arm-toning. Keep beating, though, and it will all come together. Beat in vanilla extract.
Pour 4 inches of oil into a large Dutch oven, fitted with a deep-fat thermometer. Heat oil to 325 degrees. (You want to fry the beignet in oil that’s between 325 and 350 degrees.) Meanwhile, set a couple of large soup spoons and a slotted spoon near the stove. Line small baking sheet with several layers of paper toweling. Place near—but not too near—the stove. In a large bowl, place generous handful of sugar, cinnamon sugar, or vanilla sugar.
When oil has come to desired temperature, use one soup spoon to scoop up a ping-pong ball-sized hunk of dough. Using second spoon, push dough into oil. Repeat to make more beignets, taking care not to overcrowd pan, which will lower the oil temperature and spoil EVERYTHING. Fry beignets, adjusting heat as needed to maintain target temperature. Greenspan says it takes from 8 to 12 minutes to cook fry them properly. When finished, they will be about three times their original size, deeply browned and split. The little fissure is the all-important sign that the beignet has expanded sufficiently. Using slotted spoon, lift fried beignet out of oil, tapping spoon a time or two against the inside of the pan to allow excess oil to drain back into Dutch oven. Place on prepared baking sheet to drain on paper towels, turning a time or two to aid drying. While still warm, place into sugar mixture and coat generously. Transfer to serving platter.
Continue the process until all dough is used up. Serve while still warm, if possible, with a little jam or honey—or perhaps some chocolate dipping sauce.
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|Serving Size: 1 Serving (31g)|
|Recipe Makes: 25 Servings|
|Calories from Fat: 35 (61%)|
|Amt Per Serving||% DV|
|Total Fat 3.9g||5 %|
|Saturated Fat 2.4g||12 %|
|Monounsaturated Fat 1g|
|Polyunsanturated Fat 0.2g|
|Cholesterol 10.4mg||3 %|
|Sodium 318.8mg||11 %|
|Potassium 29.8mg||1 %|
|Total Carbohydrate 4.5g||1 %|
|Dietary Fiber 0.1g||1 %|
|Sugars, other 4.4g|
|Protein 1.1g||2 %|
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Calories per serving: 57
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