Fatten Up With Beignets For Mardi gras
After a visit to the swampy wetlands at the Missouri/Illinois border, I’m in the mood for something from the gator populated swamps of Louisiana. Not exactly from Cafe du Monde…just a rendition out of the heartland…I’ve made beignets to rival those of the famed Bourbon Street breakfast.
To begin I’ll need these ingredients, and all of them are fortunately in my kitchen already:
- 1/2 cup hot water
- 1/2 cup evaporated milk
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 packets or heaping teaspoons active dry yeast
- 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup powdered sugar
- 2 cups vegetable oil for frying
- 1 banana sliced in 1/2 inch chunks (optional)
In a large mixing bowl add the hot water, evaporated milk, honey and yeast. Stir until the yeast dissolves then add the flour and salt. Mix this together until the ingredients combine. Let it rise a minute then add the granulated sugar and stir it in. I find that this gives the dough light layers when cooked. Lightly oil the surface of the dough, cover, then allow the dough to rise to double (I put the whole bowl on top of the brewing coffee maker with one of those shower cap looking cover-ups to speed up the rising).
When properly risen, mash down the dough with a fork (it’s a sticky dough) and give it a few flips and folds in the bowl. Turn half the dough out onto a generously floured surface and roll it into a square about 8″x8″. With a long knife cut the square into nine smaller squares and separate. At this time, in a deep sauce pan heat the oil until bubbles appear on the end of a wooden spoon when dipped in. To fill the dough with fruit cut a slit in the top of the squares with a paring knife and try to create a pocket where you can slip a slice of banana inside…or not. Carefully place the squares two or three at a time in the hot oil and cook on each side for 40 to 60 seconds until golden-brown. Remove immediately to a paper towel lined plate and sprinkle generously on both sides with powdered sugar. Put the other half of dough in the fridge for later or go ahead and fry the next batch up right away. You’ll be tempted to do the whole batch up at once I promise. These little devils are so delicious!