Sweet Tooth Friday: A Trip to NOLA Beignets
I love to travel. Even with all three kids in tow, there is something about packing up, closing the house and heading to a new place that makes me very happy. One place that is definitely on my bucket list is New Orleans. I know the food scene there is amazing and for me travel = food. So, at some point, I want to get there to check out the rich culture and amazing spirit I have read and heard so much about.
When I do, one of my first stops will be Café Du Monde. They are world famous and serve, ‘the best’ beignets. Beignets are a little square of fried dough, served hot with powdered sugar. As a true connoisseur of anything fried, these will be a must for my ‘someday’ trip.
The way I see it, beignets are Italian zeppoles’ French cousin. [They were brought to New Orleans by French colonists in the 18th centery.] Instead of little balls, the dough is cut into squares and deep fried. In addition, a key ingredient is evaporated milk. They are a bit more dense than zeppoles but equally delicious.
As you can gather from this website, I’m a big fan of trying recipes that are indigenous to a particular area of the globe so when my daughter requested that I make them, I was very excited to comply. She helped with the dough and also cut the beignets into perfect squares and then added lots and lots of powdered sugar when they came out of the oil.
Whether you have made it to New Orleans or not, give these little powdered squares a try. It will feel like Mardi Gras in your mouth when you take a bite!
Beignets – Anne Burrell
3/4 cup lukewarm water
1 (.25-ounce) packet active dry yeast
1/2 cup, plus 1 teaspoon sugar
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup evaporated milk
3 tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 to 6 cups peanut or other neutrally-flavored oil, for frying
In a measuring cup combine the water, yeast, and 1 teaspoon sugar. Let sit until the yeast gets frothy and smells yeasty.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the flour, remaining 1/2 cup sugar, and pinch salt.
In another bowl, combine the egg yolks, evaporated milk, melted butter, and vanilla. Add the yeast mixture and whisk to combine well.
Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients and place on the stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Once the ingredients are well combined, knead 5 minutes. Remove the bowl from the mixer, cover, and place in a warm area for 2 hours, or until the dough has doubled in size.
In a wide, deep pot, heat the oil to 350 degrees F.
Remove the dough from the bowl and lightly knead on a floured work surface. Cut the dough into 2-inch squares.
Set up a paper towel-lined sheet tray to land the beignets when they come out of the oil.
Working in batches so as to not crowd the oil, fry the dough squares until they are puffy and golden brown. Remove from the oil, make a pit stop on the paper towels and immediately dust with powdered sugar.