When in New Orleans, beignets are a must. This donut-like sweet treat is one of the city’s most famous food staples that locals and visitors just can’t resist.
Beignets were first introduced to the city by the French-Creole colonists in the 18th century. The concept of the dessert is simple – dough is fried then covered with mounds of powdered sugar – but the result is extraordinary.
As a precursor to today's doughnuts, beignets are made from square-cut pieces of yeast dough and do not have a hole in them like most doughnuts. When served hot, they are absolute perfection, especially when accompanied with café au lait or chocolate milk.
New Orleans beignets come in orders of three on plates completely covered in powdered sugar. You can find them at various locations around the city, like the famous Café Du Monde or Café Beignet.You can also purchase the mix from local vendors and make them all on your own!
Makes about 32 beignets
- 1 cup water
- 4 oz unsalted butter
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 cup, plus 2 tablespoons sifted all-purpose flour
- 4 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- vegetable shortening, for deep frying
- confectioner's sugar
In a small saucepan combine the water, butter, granulated sugar, and salt and bring the mixture to a rapid boil. Remove the pan from heat and add the flour all at once, stirring vigorously. Cook the paste over low heat, beatin briskly, until the ingredients are thoroughly combined and the dough cleanly leaves the sides of the pain and forms a ball. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. By hand or with an electric mixer set at medium speed, beat the paste until it is smooth and glossy. Stir in the vanilla.
In a deep fryer, heat 3 inches shortening 370 degrees F. drop the dough by teaspoonfuls into the shortening, and fry the beignets in bathes, turning them, until golden brown (about 3 minutes). With a slotted spoon, remove to paper towels to drain. Sprinkle the beignets with the confectioners' sugar and serve the hot.