Here it is, just in time for Mardi Gras (aka Fat Tuesday). What is that snowy, pillowy puff of deliciousness you ask? You’re looking at Louisiana’s state doughnut, the beignet! They are just as scrumptious as they look, too.
You won’t believe me when I tell you that this is one of the easiest doughs I’ve ever worked with. You do not need a stand mixer (although that’s what I use) and you can keep the dough in the fridge after the 2 hour rise, then roll it out and fry the doughnuts in the morning. Whatever you decide to do, just make sure you either have a big appetite, or a lot of friends and family to share these with, because this recipe yields a TON. (Which is good, because you won’t have any problem chowing down on a few at a time.)
Beignets are very popular in Louisiana, especially during the Mardi Gras season. Many of you have heard of Cafe du Monde, which is a well-known place in NOLA that serves beignets. You can find their beignet mix on grocery store shelves, as well. But, let me encourage you to make these completely homemade instead as it is probably much easier than you think. You can eat them for breakfast or dessert!
Kids will love to make these with you, as long as you keep them away from the hot oil! 😉 Get them involved by letting them shake the paper bag filled with powdered sugar and a few warm doughnuts at a time. Then, of course, let them eat a bunch and watch their faces get covered with white! It’s priceless.
Check out these other fab recipes for Fat Tuesday and get your Mardi Gras swagger on!
New Orleans Beignets
- 1 1/2 cups warm water
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 envelope (2 1/4 tsp) active dry yeast
- 2 eggs , lightly beaten
- 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
- 1 cup evaporated milk
- 7 cups bread flour
- 1/4 cup vegetable shortening
- Nonstick spray
- Frying oil
- 2-3 cups powdered sugar
Combine the water, granulated sugar and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer (or large mixing bowl). Let set for 10 minutes to bloom.
In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, salt and evaporated milk. Add to the yeast mixture and stir on low with the paddle attachment (or wooden spoon) until incorporated. Stir in 3 cups of the flour then mix in the shortening on medium speed. With the mixer on low, add in the rest of the flour.
Change to the dough hook and knead the dough until smooth, adding more flour (up to 2-3 Tbs) if necessary. Alternatively, you can knead the dough on a floured surface by hand until smooth. Transfer the dough to a large bowl, lightly greased with nonstick spray. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let rise for at least 2 hours.
**At this point (after the rise) you can either continue on or store the dough in the refrigerator overnight and complete the rest of the steps in the morning.**
Heat at least 1 inch of oil to between 350 to 380 degrees F in a large cast iron skillet or Dutch oven.
As the oil is heating up, roll the dough out to a large 1/4-inch thick rectangle on a lightly floured surface. Cut into 2-inch squares (pizza cutter works great). Once the oil reaches between 350 to 380 degrees F, fry 3 to 5 squares at a time until lightly golden, just a few seconds on each side. Tip: Once the dough pops to the top of the oil and puffs a little, flip them every 2-3 seconds to keep from browning too much on either side, and becoming hard to work with. Make sure you keep the oil between 350 to 380 degrees by reheating it between batches if necessary.
Transfer fried doughnuts to a plate lined with paper towels to drain the oil for a few seconds. Place about 1 1/2 cups of the powdered sugar in a paper bag. While still warm, toss three to five doughnuts at a time into the sugar filled paper bag. Fold bag closed and shake to coat. Remove doughnuts from the bag and place on serving platter. Repeat with remaining dough and sugar.
Serve immediately. These are best the same day they are made.
Source: Adapted from Paula Deen via The Food Network