Beignets: Delicate & Airy Pillows of Delight!

Let me confess off the bat that I am not a big fan of frying, anything, period. That said, maybe these little bites of powdery pillows are ultra light, or they are flash fried, regardless of what the reasons might be, these beignets are impossible to resist.

My first attempt at these elusive pillows were highly successful. And I was surprised at the ease of making them. One rainy evening, my husband was craving them so I without any hesitation swiftly made the dough. To everyone’s dismay, the beignets turned out flat. I chalked up my failure to the yeast…The other day we re-visited our local Cajun/Creole Restaurant Tibby’s. Ooh, I had forgotten how good these were. Since this past weekend, I was throwing a Cajun themed party I chose to try out my hand once more at beignets. This time around, I made two doughs in-case one of them failed.

I believe the consensus after the first bite was “cloud of air”. Beignets are an ideal ending to a heavily spiced carb loaded meal. The delicate and airy pillows of fried dough dusted with powdered sugar are sublime. Hey, I can live of these and I hardly have a sweet tooth. Eat them quickly as they will vanish before your eyes; YES! they are addictive.

Utterly Addictive Beignets

This recipe truly is super simple. And within minutes you will have delicate and airy bites of heaven to savor. Did I mention they are addictive?

Ingredients:

  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm 110°F (43°C) water
  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt or kosher salt
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp orange or rose essence (optional)
  • Peanut or mild vegetable oil for deep-frying
  • Confectioners’ sugar for dusting

Directions:

  1. Sprinkle yeast over warm water.
  2. Meanwhile in a standing mixer, combine 3 cups flour, granulated sugar, and salt. Mix till combined with a paddle attachment.
  3. Warm the milk and butter till butter melts.
  4. Add the warmed milk to the mixer and stir till combined.
  5. Add egg, yeast, and remaining flour and mix on medium speed till the dough forms.
  6. Place the dough in a well oiled bowl and refrigerate overnight.
  7. Let the dough rest for at least 30-45 minutes at room temperature before frying. If the dough is too cold, the beignets will come out doughy and flat.
  8. Heat peanut oil in a large skillet until hot. You should be able to feel the heat if you place your hand 6 inches over the skillet.
  9. Divide the dough into 2 equal pieces. Roll each piece to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut with a pizza cutter into 2 inch squares.
  10. With the skillet on medium-high heat, drop 4 pieces into the hot oil, turning swiftly, until the beignet is puffy and golden brown on each side. Repeat the process with rest of the dough.
  11. Dust the beignets generously with confectioners sugar on both sides.
  12. Dig in before they vanish.

Recipe adapted from Leite’s Culinaria

Have you tasted beignets? I would love to hear about your cherished memories revolving around these powdery pillows of heaven.

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