…Voulez-vous vous coucher avec moi, ce soir? Ou peut-être vous voulez manger beignets avec moi ce soir?
I’m sure most of you know the first part of that phrase, even if you only know it from the song ‘Lady Marmalade’ (either Patti LaBelle’s original version or the newer version with Christina Aguilera, Mya, Pink and Lil’ Kim). And I’m sure that you know what it means, but if you don’t, it means ‘Do you want to go to bed with me, tonight?’ So if you’re going to answer either of the questions I posed, let’s go with the latter, which translates to ‘Or maybe you want to eat beignets with me tonight?’ because thats what this post is about.
Beignets are fried balls of dough, that are coated in powdered sugar. To Italians, they’re known as Zeppole (otherwise known as my favorite part of the San Gennaro feast in Little Italy). Beignets that are similar to those are popular here in the U.S., specifically in Louisiana (New Orleans.. hence my little ‘Lady Marmalade’ intro up there). They’re also related to Funnel Cake, which is a similar concept except, like the name implies… a funnel is used to create the shape. In France, beignets are fried dough that are filled with vegetable or fruit, or even meat. And speaking of San Gennaro- fried Oreos may be next on my to-do list, although after two you get so sick of them it may not be worth it (If you are unfamiliar with them, check out this article.. its a few years old but explains the San Gennaro frying-phenomenon).
These are not filled with anything but the fluffy goodness of the fried dough, so in other words, they’re the United States version of beignets. They are closely associated with café au lait, which literally means ‘coffee with milk.’ The New Orleans style was originated by Café du Monde– it is made with milk and chicory, giving it a strong and bitter taste. Apparently, the bitterness of the chicory offsets the sweetness of the beignets. I can’t imagine anyone not liking these, for real. What is there not to like? Fried dough? Powdered sugar? If you don’t like those things you’re certifiable.
Makes 18 beignets.
- 1 cup lukewarm water
- ¼ cup sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 egg, room temperature & beaten
- 2 tablespoons butter, softened
- ½ cup evaporated milk
- 4 cups bread flour or all-purpose flour
- 3 teaspoons instant active dry yeast
- Vegetable oil*
- Powdered sugar for dusting
* Use just enough vegetable oil to completely cover beignets while frying.
- Using a mixer with a dough hook, place water, sugar, salt, egg, butter, evaporated milk, flour, and yeast in the bowl. Beat until smooth. If using a bread machine, select dough setting and press Start. When dough cycle has finished, remove dough from pan and turn out onto a lightly oiled surface. form dough into an oval, place in a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until well chilled (3 to 4 hours) or overnight.*
- To prepare dough, remove from refrigerator and roll out on a lightly floured board to ½-inch thickness. Cut into approximately 3-inch squares.
- In a deep fryer or large pot, heat vegetable oil to 360 degrees F. Fry the beignets (2 or 3 at a time) 2 to 3 minutes or until they are puffed and golden brown on both sides, turning them in the oil with tongs once or twice to get them evenly brown; beignets will rise to the surface of the oil as soon as they begin to puff. NOTE: If the beignets don’t rise to the top immediately when dropped into the oil, the oil is not hot enough. Remove from oil and drain on paper towels, then sprinkle heavily with powdered sugar. Serve hot.
*The dough can be kept for up to a week in the refrigerator – it actually improves with age; just punch down when it rises. Dough can also be frozen; cut and roll, or shape doughnuts before freezing.
Sitting pretty in a bowl, waiting for me to chow down…
I made some coffee in a French press and made it light and sweet (which is how I like it) to have with these. I actually prefer using a French press to a coffee maker, but thats just me. Thanks Cakespy for the wonderful recipe! They are incredible. God, fried dough covered in sugar. It’s like heaven in one little artery-clogging, bite-size package.
It helps to have a plate or bowl of powdered sugar to douse ’em in
I loved this because it gives me an excuse to whip out the big guns. You got it- my baby, my love, my pink KitchenAid stand mixer. I don’t use it very often, just for doughs (bagels, cinnamon roll dough and pizza, or in this case, beignets…) or for buttercream or whipped creams. But whenever I do get a chance to make sweet, sweet baking love to my mixer I get excited. It’s just so gorgeous. Anyway back to the recipe. You can theoretically shape them into whatever shape you like before frying. Hearts, maybe? Stars? Even doughnut shaped. But real beignets, like zeppole, are just square-ish roundish shaped blobs. But hey, rules were made to be broken, right? And who pays attention to rules when it comes to fried dough, anyway?
I wanna remind everyone that if you like this blog, you may just like my other blog… so check it out. And if you feel like it, check out the other sites I’m a part of/host. One of which is my sort of “online portfolio” so if you’re curious as to what 4 years of F.I.T. bought me (aside from many gay and starving artist friends), check that out too. If you’d like to support my cause and help me keep my stores of heavy cream and butter high, then check out the Cupcake Rehab store and feel free to purchase many, many items. And uh, my chef-crush Johnny Iuzzini has a book: Dessert Fourplay. His crispy warm creamy chocolate doughnuts sound amazing. Just telling you in case, you know, you’re lookin’ to.. oh I don’t know, purchase me a book. *cough*