This recipe, from Dam Good Sweet, a cookbook by Chef David Guas of Bayou Bakery in Arlington, Virginia and food writer Raquel Pelzel, makes smaller, almost two-bite size morsels of beignets. Chef Guas grew up in the fabulous city of New Orleans, so he knows a thing or two about beignets. Perfect for occasional indulgences and cravings, we liked the smaller version. I made a half recipe and it worked perfectly. I might add just a touch of vanilla next time to highlight the subtle sweetness of the dough.
One thing that I know for sure, and particularly in the case of New Orleans, food doesn’t travel well. There is nothing like being there to experience the cuisine and that is especially true for this unique city. So, while the sounds, aromas, the sensuality, and the essence of the city might allude a recipe, if you can’t make the trip, a hot batch of fresh Buttermilk Beignets and a steaming cup of Café au Lait just might do in a pinch.
Below are some other articles about the city of New Orleans. These teasers might give you the fever to visit, especially if you have never been. By the way, we are planning a trip to New Orleans with our On The Road culinary adventures for later this year, so if you have any interest in touring the city from a culinary perspective with us, please let me know.
In the meantime, bring out the Mardi Gras beads, make a Sazerac, and Laissez les bons temps rouler!
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3/4 cup whole milk
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
4 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
3 1/2 cups bread flour plus extra for flouring work surface
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
Peanut oil for frying
Confectioners’ sugar for serving, as much as you think you’ll need—then double that!
Heat the milk in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until small bubbles form at the surface. Remove from the heat, add the buttermilk, and then pour into a stand mixer bowl. Whisk in the yeast and the sugar and set aside for 5 minutes. Add the flour, baking soda, and salt, and mix on low speed, using a dough hook, until the dry ingredients are moistened, 3 to 4 minutes. Increase the mixer speed to medium and continue mixing until the dough forms a loose ball and is still quite wet and tacky, 1 to 2 minutes longer. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set the dough aside in a draft-free spot for 1 hour.
Pour enough peanut oil into a large pot to fill it to a depth of 3 inches and bring to a temperature of 375°F over medium heat (this will take about 20 minutes). Line a plate with paper towels and set aside.
Lightly flour your work surface and turn the dough out on it. Sprinkle the top of the dough with flour, gently press to flatten, fold it in half, and gently tuck the ends under to create a rough-shaped round. Dust again and roll the dough out into a ½-inch- to ¹/³ -inch-thick circle. Let the dough rest for 1 minute before using a chef’s knife, a bench knife, or a pizza wheel to cut the dough into 1 1/2-inch squares (you should get about 48).
Gently stretch a beignet lengthwise and carefully drop it into the oil. Add a few beignets (don’t overcrowd them, otherwise the oil will cool down and the beignets will soak up oil and be greasy) and fry until puffed and golden brown, turning them often with a slotted spoon, for 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to the prepared plate to drain while you cook the rest. Serve while still warm, buried under a mound of confectioners’ sugar, with hot coffee on the side.
The beignet dough can be made up to 8 hours in advance of frying. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray it with nonstick cooking spray. After cutting the dough, place the beignets on the paper and place another greased sheet of parchment paper, sprayed-side down, on top. Wrap the entire baking sheet with plastic wrap and refrigerate. The beignets can be fried straight from the refrigerator.
Reprinted with permission from:
Dam Good Sweet
David Guas and Raquel Pelzel