Today I decided to try my hand at making some beignets but first I had to practice pronouncing the word, lol. [Why do the french insist on spelling a word differently than pronouncing it?] 🙂
[I couldn’t help but notice the comparison between beignets and an Indian snack “sakkar para”. Essentially both are fried flour crisps, except for the beignets, the dough is fried then covered with mounds of powdered sugar whereas, for the sakkar para, we add the sugar while forming the dough. And both are super delicious!]
Almost all beignet recipes call for eggs in them, but I decided to make an eggless version. And I was pleased that the beignets turned out amazing even without the eggs.
For the yeast
- 3/4 tsp yeast
- 1 tsp sugar
- 3 tbsp tepid water
For the baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking powder (not baking soda, but baking powder)
- 1 tsp oil
- 1 tsp water
For the dough
- 3/4 cup water
- 1 cup half & half (I used fat-free) (also, this was a substitute for evaporated milk, which I didn’t have)
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3.5 cups all purpose flour
For the chocolate dipping sauce
- 3 tbsp Olivio spread (you can use regular butter)
- 6 oz bittersweet chocolate morsels
- 3/4 cup half & half
- Mix the yeast, sugar, and tepid water in a bowl. Set aside. [Active yeast will form bubbles & almost double in size.]
2. Dissolve the baking powder in 1 tsp water and add 1 tsp oil to it. Set aside.
3. Place the half & half, water, salt, sugar, and Olivio (butter) in a small pan. Mix it, then place on heat, stirring it constantly to ensure it doesn’t stick to the bottom. When done, pour it in a bowl and set aside until fully cooled.
For the next step, I used a food processor but you can do the next step without it too.
4. Pour half the milk and water mixture (from step 3) into the food processor. Add some flour to it and start the food processor.
5. Stop the processor to add the yeast (from step 1) and the baking powder mixture (from step 2).
6. Alternate processing with adding the rest of the milk mixture and flour until the dough begins to form. Even after the dough has formed, allow the processor to run for two, 1-minute cycles.
(This will make the flour smooth and eliminate the need to knead the flour.)
7. Empty the dough out in a greased bowl, fold the edges to smoothen it, then cover with a saran wrap and place in a warm place.
8. Two hours later, when I was ready to work on the beignets again, the dough had risen to twice it’s size.
9. Place a deep pot on the stove and add enough oil to fill it half-way. Turn the burner to medium heat. Keep an eye on the oil though, cause you don’t want it too hot, nor do you want it to not be ready. I don’t use a thermometer, but if you are, you want the temperature to be at ~350 degrees. If the oil gets too hot / starts smoking, move it off the stove for a few minutes & allow it cool.
10. While the oil is heating, take a piece of dough and roll it out on to a lightly floured surface.
11. Then rather than making squares, I used a mini round bowl to form equal-sized round beignets.
I pulled out the extra dough between the discs and was left with these.
12. When the oil is ready, fry the dough being sure to flip them every few seconds. Remove when they are golden brown on both sides and allow them to cool for a minute or two.
13. Arrange the fried crisps on a plate. Sprinkle both sides liberally with powdered sugar.
14. Prepare the chocolate dipping sauce by heating the three ingredients on medium flame. Once the chocolate is melted, the dipping sauce is ready.
Beignets taste best when they are served piping hot. But they also taste pretty good when they’ve cooled down.
It as a most satisfying end to my day – sitting with a large dollop of sauce and a handful of beignets.
P.S. If you decide to make them, send me a note to let me know how they turned out for you.