Traditional Beignets

Traditional Beignets

Our recipe offers the crisp, golden standard of a beignet, perfect with only an adornment of confectioners’ sugar. Our dough can be made and chilled overnight before a morning fry in oil for a breakfast of beignets the way they’re intended to be served—still hot with an equally hot cup of café au lait.

Traditional Beignets
 
Makes 24 beignets
Ingredients
  • ½ cup (120 grams) warm water (105°F/41°C to 110°F/43°C)
  • 1½ teaspoons (4.5 grams) active dry yeast
  • ¼ cup (50 grams) plus 1 teaspoon (4 grams) granulated sugar, divided
  • ½ cup (120 grams) boiling water
  • ½ cup (120 grams) evaporated milk
  • 2 tablespoons (28 grams) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons (6 grams) kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon (4 grams) vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg (50 grams)
  • 4¼ cups (531 grams) all-purpose flour
  • Canola or vegetable oil, for frying
  • 1 cup (120 grams) confectioners’ sugar
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, stir together ½ cup (120 grams) warm water, yeast, and 1 teaspoon (4 grams) granulated sugar. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together ½ cup (120 grams) boiling water, evaporated milk, melted butter, salt, vanilla, and remaining ¼ cup (50 grams) granulated sugar by hand. Whisk in yeast mixture and egg. Add flour. Using the dough hook attachment, beat until dough comes together, starts to get smooth and soft, and forms a ball at base of dough hook, 6 to 7 minutes, stopping to scrape sides of bowl. (Dough should stick to your fingers when you touch it but release after you pull away. Dough will still stick to bottom and sides of bowl.) Check dough for proper gluten development using the windowpane test. (See Beignet Dough Basics.)
  3. Spray a large bowl with cooking spray. Place dough in bowl, turning to grease top. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to overnight.
  4. In a large Dutch oven, pour oil to a depth of 2 inches, and heat over medium heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 375°F (190°C). (See Note.)
  5. Divide dough in half (about 518 grams each). On a heavily floured surface, roll half of dough into a 13×10-inch rectangle (about ¼ inch thick). (Cover and refrigerate remaining dough.) Trim ½ inch of edges so rectangle is 12×9 inches. Cut into 3-inch squares, and separate them so they do not stick back together.
  6. Place 2 to 3 squares in hot oil; when settled on top of oil, immediately turn. (See Frying 411 on page 40.) Fry until golden brown, about 1 minute per side. Carefully remove from hot oil, and let drain on paper towels. Repeat procedure with remaining dough. Sift confectioners’ sugar over hot beignets. Serve warm.
Notes
Note: It can take 30 to 45 minutes for the oil to heat. Remove the dough from the refrigerator only after the oil reaches 375°F (190°C).

 

Beignet Dough Basics

Learn how to master the quirks of the dough

Beignet dough is a fairly wet, sticky dough. While there is yeast in a typical beignet dough, a great amount of its puffy rise during frying is due to the excess moisture in the dough. This moisture becomes a powerful burst of steam, allowing the dough to puff out while a large hollow is created within. While this texture makes it perfect to fry into puffed pastries, it can be difficult to know when your dough has been kneaded properly. The best way to gauge when your dough is ready is to use the windowpane test to check dough for proper gluten development. Pinch off (don’t tear) a small piece of dough. Slowly pull the dough out from the center. If the dough is ready, you will be able to stretch it until it’s thin and translucent like a windowpane. If the dough tears, it’s not quite ready. Beat for 1 minute, and test again.

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