Billowy soft decadent fluffy pastry perfectly suited to dip into a hot cup of black coffee. They are the perfect balance of savory dough, sweet sucrose and succulent sopping goodness. There is an art to eating a good beignet. It is not unlike a much anticipated first kiss, though not as awkward and fleeting. One holds their breath and closes their eyes in anticipation of the first taste of fluffy fried dough, only to savor a decadent dreamy dram of equal parts rich buttery flaky dough and ethereal powdery sugar. The act of eating a beignet is not soley out of love of food, it is a necessity. These little fluffy bits of flour, butter and milk are covered in a dusting of powdered sugar so fine that if you breath in or exhale whilst taking a bite, one either releases a deluge of white cloudy smoke erupting from your mouth or an equally violent storm of aerosolized sucrose permeates one’s delicate lungs. Everyone knows that the combination of delicate flour and hot oil means it is time to let the salivary juices flow. 2.5 teaspoons active dry yeast 1.5 cups warm water just warm enough to make one’s finger just hot to the touch. 1/2 cup white sugar. 1 teaspoon salt. 2 eggs. 1 cup evaporated milk.7 cups all-purpose flour sifted, yes it makes a difference. .25 cup shortening of choice either vegetable or lard. 4 cups vegetable oil for frying. .25 cup confectioners’ sugar. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water and let bloom. Add sugar, salt, eggs, evaporated milk, and blend well. Mix in 4 cups of the flour and beat until smooth. Add the shortening, and then the remaining 3 cups of flour. Cover and chill for up to 24 hours. Trust me when I say that you need to resist that first day like a one night stand. It always seems like a good idea at the time, but anticipation makes it so much better. Let dough re-rise for about 3 hours in a warm place. Roll out dough 1/8 inch thick. Cut into 2 inch squares. Fry in 360 degree F oil (use a kitchen thermometer. If beignets do not fluff up, the oil is not hot enough. Place on paper towels to drain excess oil. Shake confectioners’ sugar on hot beignets. Serve warm. See my previous coffee article to see the perfect blissful paring for this breakfast/desert.
If you aren’t up for making these little golden puffs of deliciousness, oddly enough this New Orleans treat can apparently be found at our beloved Willies Burgers on 16th and Broadway. But honestly when will I ever be at Willies that early in the morning, and why would I get beignets.