Beignets always make me smile.
The first time I had a beignet, I was probably 4 years old. My Uncle Gary lived next door and he would make them and run them hot to our house in a paper bag. The first bite of this airy donut left an impression. I was always excited when I heard him knock on the door. A special treat that we didn't have often.
The year I turned 30, my parents, Craig, Max and I went to New Orleans to celebrate Halloween. One of our first stops was Cafe du Monde. The beignets there are a little bite of heaven. I remember Max's little face full of powdered sugar and his smile was large.
We get them at the French Quarter hotel at Disney World and occasionally I make them at home. My kids are super excited when they see the dough rising. "Remember not to breath in when you take a bite" they remind each other. See, if you breath in at the same time you take a bite of a hot beignet, you'll cough because you inhale some of the powdered sugar;)
My favorite way to eat them is hot or warm. The good news with that is if you make the full recipe, you'll have plenty to share with your friends and neighbors. But, for the first time EVER we had some leftovers so the kids took them to school the next day. They said they weren't as good as they are warm but they were still a good donut.
I couldn't find the recipe I usually use so this recipe is Paula Dean's and I only changed a couple of things. For example, I prefer to fry in Crisco shortening instead of oil because I think oil makes them a bit greasy. If you don't achieve the hole in the middle, it's ok...they are still a tasty donut.
Here's what you'll need:
1 1/2 C lukewarm water
1/2 C Sugar
1 envelope active dry yeast
2 Eggs, slightly beaten
1 1/4 t Salt
1 C Evaporated Milk
7 C Flour
1/4 C Shortening
Shortening, for deep-frying
3 C Powdered Sugar
Mix water, sugar, and yeast in a large bowl and let sit for 10 minutes.
In another bowl, beat the eggs, salt and evaporated milk together. Mix egg mixture to the yeast mixture. In a separate bowl, measure out the flour. Add 3 cups of the flour to the yeast mixture and stir to combine. Add the shortening and continue to stir while adding the remaining flour. Remove dough from the bowl, place onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Spray a large bowl with nonstick spray. Put dough into the bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a towel. Let rise in a warm place for at least 2 hours.
Preheat shortening in a cast iron pan. I usually have my burner at an 8.
Add the confectioners' sugar to a paper bag or bowl and set aside.
Roll the dough out to about 1/4-inch thickness and cut into 1-inch squares. Deep-fry, flipping, until they become a golden color. After beignets are fried, drain them for a few seconds on paper towels, and then toss them into powdered sugar. Hold bag closed and shake to coat evenly.
All kneaded and ready to rest for a couple of hours.
Ready to roll out!! I'm getting SO excited.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and put a little flour on top for rolling.
Roll the dough out to about 1/4 of an inch. You don't want the dough to flat or they want puff when they hit the grease. I cut them with a pizza cutter and let them sit another 5-10 minutes. I actually got about 50 beignets out of this dough.
See how they puff when you put them in the grease
Powdered and ready to go.
Light and airy, that's a perfect beignet.
They make Claire smile too!