Beignets, the treat from New Orleans. They can be a little intimidating for those who don't make a lot of doughs as they are made using a wet dough. By wet, I mean they are a lot softer than your standard bread doughs and the last thing you want to do is add more flour when making them as you'll end up with doughnuts instead. Beignets are a lot lighter than doughnuts and a lot moorish (and a lot better in my opinion). Served warm and heavily dusted with icing sugar, it's very easy to clean the serving plate before you put it down. Going back to the dough, like I've said in the recipe, the best thing I can advise is to flour the worktop and the dough well and you should find they will be fine. Just be confident when handling them, and don't let them sit too long in the basket before lowering it into the oil or else you'll get indentations. Obviously when it comes to deep frying I've said about being careful whether you're using a fryer or pot over the stove. Avoid dropping things from a height to prevent burns. I've also said about leaving the dough in the fridge for at least an hour but you really should leave it overnight. Patience pays off.
Hands-on Time 30 minutes plus proving
Frying Time 3 minutes
150g Evaporated milk
2 tsp Vanilla extract
2 Eggs (large)
425g Bread flour plus extra for dusting
120g Caster sugar
2 1/2 tsp Fast-action yeast
1/2 tsp Fine salt
35g Unsalted butter (softened)
Up to 1500ml Oil for frying, such as vegetable, plus extra for greasing
50g Icing sugar
Free-standing mixer with a dough hook
Deep fat fryer or large deep sided pot and a jam thermometer
Wide edged spatula (optional)
Tongs or slotted spoon
Add the water, evaporated milk, vanilla, and eggs to a jug and beat until combined.
Add the 425 grams of flour, caster sugar, yeast, and salt to the bowl of the mixer and switch on.
Whilst the mixer is running gradually add the milk mixture. You may need to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl using a spatula if there are lumps of flour that haven’t mixed in.
When they have come together then add the softened butter and continue to mix on a medium speed for 5 minutes.
When the time is up you will have a runny dough, yes it’s supposed to look like that.
Grease a bowl with some oil and transfer the dough into it.
Pop the bowl in the fridge and leave for at least 1 hour, better yet overnight.
When you are ready to fry the beignets preheat the oil in the fryer to 170°C/325°F, if you are using a pot this is where a jam thermometer will come in handy. Make sure you keep your fryer away from the edge of the worktop. Likewise place your pot on the hob where it can’t be knocked easily.
Line a baking tray with kitchen paper and put it near by to the fryer/pot. Make sure however you have space to the other side of there fryer/pot for the dough as you don’t want to walk around the kitchen with the dough in your hands to fry.
Heavily flour the worktop and tip the dough out onto it. Again it will be quite wet so do not worry.
Heavily flour the top of the dough and very gently roll it out so it’s about 2 cm thick. Yes it’s odd rolling a very soft dough so you need to hold the pin up more than pressing it down as you roll. Be gentle.
Apply more flour if you need it.
Using a pizza cutter, slice the dough up into evenly sized squares, you should be able to make about 12. Again apply more flour if need be.
Depending on the size of your fryer/pot you will likely need to fry in batches as you don’t want to overcrowd things.
Either using your hands, or if you’re not confident a wide edge spatula, transfer enough squares of dough that will fit into the basket of your fryer. If you’re dropping the squares into the oil don’t drop from a height as you don’t want to be splashed with hot oil.
Despite how wet the dough is, I found it pretty easy to lift with my hands.
Fry the dough for about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes until it’s puffed up and a rich deep golden colour before flipping over using tongs/ a slotted spoon for another minute or so.
Once the dough is a deep golden colour on both sides transfer them onto the lined baking tray to drain off and cool.
Repeat with leftover dough.
Once you’ve fried all of the dough, immediately transfer the beignets onto a serving dish, dust heavily with icing sugar and devour whilst still warm.