Similar to doughnuts but without the wait, Beignets are a tasty treat to make for any time of day. I was originally going to type "breakfast" or "dessert" but I thought to myself...
"When aren't beignets good?"
You can make these to eat right the same day, or prepare the dough, and after the first rising, put them into the fridge for the next day. You can even freeze them at that stage and later take them out to thaw them out before frying them.
This recipe is a good basic beignet recipe that you can eat as is or add different flavorings if you are feeling creative. For example, the last time I made them I added 1 T of ground cardamom and it was pretty tasty. If you want pumpkin beignets, just add 1/2 c. of canned pumpkin to the wet ingredients and 2 T pumpkin pie seasoning to the flour when mixing.
Full recipe is at the end of this post.
Here's how I make beignets:
1. Combine 1 packet yeast with 1 1/2 c. of warm water. Sprinkle a pinch of granulated sugar over the top to feed the yeast and help it grow. Once yeast looks foamy combine in mixing bowl with the sugar, evaporated milk and eggs. Add half the flour, then the shortening, then the rest of the flour.
2. Let the dough rise until doubled, then roll out and cut into squares. I like to use a pizza slicer for this:
At this point you can either fry them or refrigerate/freeze them.
3. Fry them up! Have a plate covered with paper towels ready where you can put the finished beignets. To check if your oil is hot enough for frying, drop a piece of dough into the oil and observe if it immediately begins to fry, or if it sinks to the bottom. If it fries easily, the oil is ready!
Beignets puff up pretty quickly when they are fried, and when you can see a change in color on the underside, flip them over with a pair of tongs:
A little FYI: Dough that rests overnight tends to be more dense than beignets made the same day they are mixed. If you want to be sure to have pockets inside for filling with some kind of cream, or applesauce or jelly the best results are from the fresh dough because they come out the fluffiest.
Finish the beignets off with a little sprinkling of sifted powdered sugar:
1 1/2 c. lukewarm water
1 package yeast
3/4 c. sugar
1 c. evaporated milk
1/4 c. shortening
7 c. flour
powdered sugar for dusting
I hope your family enjoys them as much as mine!