It’s not a donut hole

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It’s beignet time. My dad and I both have a love for food and cooking. Since my parents live a little closer to me during the summer time, we decided the next time I was in town to make beignets…a delicious French pastry! I have had quite a few beignets over the years, each varying slightly. My favorite has been in Chicago at The Grand Lux Cafe. I love the rustic look and the lighter color. They were served with three dipping sauces… raspberry, vanilla, and chocolate ganache. Oh my goodness, they were delicious!

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The first tip I want to tell you is to have all the proper tools. As we were making these, I kept thinking how ridiculous it would have been trying to make these at my house and improvising tools (like we always do). Don’t do it. This guy on the left (spider) I found particularly helpful when frying the beignets.

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The dough is pretty straight forward (and delicious).

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After letting it rise for what seemed like forever, the fun begins! You only get to roll the dough out once so make the most of it. We didn’t have a biscuit cutter so we used the lid to a mason jar. It worked like a gem.

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Don’t waste the extra dough. Cut it up into roughly the same size pieces and fry them.

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Tip #2. Do not guess what the oil temperature is. Use a thermometer. Keep an eye on your oil, the temperature can rise very quickly resulting in crispy outside, but an undone center.

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Test one or two to start and see how it goes. Once you start the process goes quickly and it’s very helpful to have two people in the kitchen.

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Once they are done frying, coat them in sugar. We tried granulated and powdered. I thought they were both good, but I think the powdered sugar looked a little classier. But of course I don’t have any pictures of those. If using powdered sugar, either sift the sugar on or put sugar and beignet in a ziploc and gently shake.

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Don’t forget the dipping sauces!

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Beignets
Author: 
Cuisine: French
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: About 24
 
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2½ teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1¼ sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ⅔ cup granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3½ cups bread flour
  • Extra flour, for rolling the dough (about 1 cup total)
  • 1 gallon fryer oil
  • Granulated sugar, for garnish
Instructions
  1. In a medium bowl, stir together the yeast and the water. Set aside to proof.
  2. After 10 minutes, stir in the all-purpose flour, cover with plastic, set aside in a warm place and let it double in size.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the eggs, with the mixer on low speed, one by one. When the mix is smooth, add the vanilla and salt. Stir to blend. Add the bread flour and mix on low speed until fully incorporated.
  4. Change the electric mixer attachment to a dough hook. Continue mixing the dough until it becomes a ball. Then, stir in the yeast mixture until thoroughly incorporated. Put the dough in a bowl, cover with plastic and allow to proof, 1 hour to 1 hour 30 minutes.
  5. Lightly flour a cool surface and roll the dough out to about 1½-inch thickness. Cut rounds of dough with a cutter and turn them onto a floured baking sheet to rest, 20 to 30 minutes, before frying.
  6. Heat the oil in a large pot to 365 to 370 degrees F. Drop the beignets in the hot fat and cook until golden brown on both sides, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove them from the oil with a slotted spoon.
  7. Roll in the granulated sugar.
  8. Serve immediately with Vanilla Dipping Sauce.
Notes
You can also fill these pastries by putting filling into a pastry bag or zip lock with a small tip. After frying, poke the side of the beignet and fill with desired filling.

 

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