Beignets

Picture yourself walking in the early morning light, a warm breeze swaying around you, the sounds of horses neighing, the soft leftover jazz tunes wafting by. You cross the street and there is your destination: Cafe du Monde. You choose a seat, not many to choose from even at this early hour, and you wait for someone to take your order. “A cafe au lait and an order of beignets”, you tell the woman who quickly appears. You wait, not too long, just the right amount of time to contemplate the delicacy you are about to experience. The plate is placed before you, the cup next to it and you inhale the unforgettable, rich smell. You raise one of the powdered beauties to your mouth…

That’s enough coyness, I think. Let’s get on with the recipe. You’ll love it, even if there’s no jazz music around.

Beignets use yeast so dissolve that with water and sugar.

Add all the other ingredients, forming a ball of soft, but not sticky, dough. Set it in the fridge for at least 4 hours.

Roll the dough out and start cutting squares. Now, heat your oil, make sure it’s really really hot and start frying the dough in batches. I don’t have pictures of this because frying oil and cameras do not mix. Sorry. Keep flipping them over, and when they are nice and brown, take them out. Immediately dust them with powdered sugar. How naive, “dust”, more like submerge the crispy dough until it is smothered in white.

Ahh, the yumminess. Enjoy and if you get a chance visit Cafe du Monde. It is an indescribable experience.

Ingredients

  • 1 packet dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 7 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 1 quart vegetable oil for frying
  • powdered sugar

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add sugar, salt, eggs, evaporated milk, and blend well. Mix in 4 cups of the flour and beat until smooth. Add the shortening, and then the remaining 3 cups of flour. Cover and chill for up to 24 hours.
  2. Roll out dough 1/8 inch thick. Cut into 2 1/2 inch squares. Fry in 360 degree F (180 degrees C) hot oil. If beignets do not pop up, oil is not hot enough. Drain onto paper towels.
  3. Shake confectioners’ sugar on hot beignets. Serve warm.
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