French Quarter Beignets
So the best place in the world to get a beignet is Cafe DuMonde in the French Quarter of New Orleans. It’s on my culinary bucket list. Until I get a chance to get some of these heavenly little fried pastries, this recipe is a pretty close second, at least according to many friends who’ve had both.
1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 cup evaporated milk
7 cups bread flour
1/4 cup shortening
Oil for frying
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
In the mixing bowl of a stand mixer, place the water, granulated sugar, and yeast, and briefly whisk together. Let stand for 10 minutes, or until foamy.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the evaporated milk, eggs, and salt. Once the yeast mixture is foamy, whisk the egg mixture into the yeast mixture.
Fit the stand mixer with the dough hook, and mix in three cups of flour, mixing on medium-low speed just until incorporated. Add the shortening, and continue mixing while adding the remaining flour. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead it until it’s smooth, about 5 minutes. Oil a large bowl with a little olive oil to prevent the dough from sticking, place the dough in the bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise for two hours in a warm place.
In a large, deep pan or a deep fryer, heat the oil to 350°.
Roll the dough out until about as thick as your pinky finger, a little more than 1/4″ thick. Cut it into squares and fry in small batches, tossing in a large bowl with the confectioners sugar as you remove them. Serve piping hot, nobody likes a cold beignet.