BEIGNETS (FRENCH QUARTER DOUGHNUTS)

about 5 dozen
doughnuts

 

Romantic visions of cobble stoned old New Orleans and the
Vieux Carre, or French Market, come to mind when tasting hot crisp puffs of
dough known as Beignets.  Horse-drawn
carriages still pull up to the Café du Monde in order that the passengers may
taste the famous doughnuts and enjoy a steaming cup of coffee fortified with
chicory.

 

  • ½ cup boiling water
  • ¼ cup sugar or the equivalent of ¼ cup sugar in
    granulated sugar substitute
  • ¼ cup shortening, at room temperature
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup milk or half-and-half
  • 1 egg or the equivalent of 1 egg in egg substitute,
    beaten
  • 1½ teaspoons active dry yeast (½ package)
  • ¼ cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees F.)
  • 3¼ cups sifted flour (approximate)
  • Cooking oil (corn, canola, or safflower oil) for frying
    beignets
  • Sifted confectioners' sugar as desired

 

In a deep large bowl, combine boiling, water, sugar,
shortening, and salt, stirring until shortening is melted.  Blend in milk or half-and-half and egg; cool
to lukewarm. 

Soften yeast in warm water. 
Add softened yeast and 2 cups flour to egg mixture, beating hard.  Add remaining 1¼ cups flour or as needed to
make a medium soft dough.  Place dough in
a greased bowl, turn dough to grease top, and cover.  Refrigerate until ready to use.  One-third or one-half of the dough may be refrigerated
overnight, to be fried the next day, if desired.

Roll about half of the dough at a time to 1/8-inch thickness
on a lightly floured board.  With a sharp
knife or fluted pastry wheel, cut dough into 2½ to 3-inch squares. 

Fry dough at once….DO NOT LET DOUGH RISE.…in
deep hot fat (360 to 370 degrees F.) about 2 minutes total cooking time,
turning beignets once.  Drain beignets
on absorbent paper. 

Dust beignets generously with confectioners' sugar
while hot and serve at once.

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