Upon a not so recent visit to New Orleans, both my wife and I really, truly enjoyed the food. Everything from the shrimp po’ boy, red beans and rice, to the ever so famous, beignets. Our visit was short and sweet, however we came back home craving the food. As many of you are already aware, when I have something either so delicious, or something mediocre for that matter, my goal is to recreate it, after all, I could not go on with my wife not having a beignet for breakfast another day.
I recently made some quick and easy doughnuts for the kids not too long ago, as they really love their desserts after dinner, or for any meal for that matter. They loved them, as we all did, and while I was showering them with powdered sugar, they quickly reminded me of the nice morning my wife and I had together, enjoying beignets in New Orleans. I wanted to bring back that moment, and so I decided to make beignets for breakfast the other morning. They were a huge hit, even bigger than the doughnuts. Could it possibly because my daughter helped me with the dough? I think it had something to do with it. Regardless, the dough is really easy to make, and can be covered and placed in the refrigerator overnight so that you can be ready to make them first thing in the morning. These were a huge hit with my kids and family members.
- 1 package of active dry yeast
- 3/4 cup of warm water
- 1/4 cup of white sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 1/2 cup of evaporated milk
- 3 3/4 – 4 1/4 cups of all purpose flour
- 2 tbsp vegetable shortening
- About 2-3 cups of vegetable oil for frying
- Powdered Sugar, sifted or shaken, and plenty of it
Begin by getting your mixing bowl ready, and add the yeast, water, and sugar. Stir gently, and let it sit for about 5-8 minutes, or until it gets nice and frothy. Next, add in your salt, egg, and milk, and with a dough hook attached, mix for a minute or so. Begin by adding in about 2 cups of the flour, making sure to scrape down your sides of the bowl from time to time. Mix on medium speed. Add in the shortening, mixing well, and combine about a cup and half of more flour. The dough should be coming together. To a board, dust with flour, and lightly knead the dough for a couple of minutes, until it is nice and smooth. Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, and cover with plastic wrap and a large enough towel to let it rise. Now, if you are making these same day, let the dough rise for a few hours, otherwise, feel free to place in hte refrigerator overnight.
When you are ready to begin rolling out the dough, punch it down. That is always fun. Punch down the dough, and bring it back to a lightly floured board. Flour your rolling pin and the top of your dough as well, and use the remaining flour to prevent the dough from sticking to you, the pin, and the board. Roll out into a square-like shape, approximately 1/2 inch thick. With a pizza cutter, cut on a diagnol, and make into strips, as wide as you like them.
I preheated my oven to 170 degrees, then turned it off, and placed the board in the luke-warm oven to let the strips rise another 30-45 minutes. About 20 minutes into it, preheat your pot of oil. I like to bring my pot of oil up to heat in stages; low-medium, medium, then medium-high just before dropping the dough in. Your goal is to get a consistent oil temperature of around 350 degrees. Drop a couple of the beignets into the oil, being careful when removing them from the board, and cook for a minute or so on each side. These go quick so do not turn your back on them. You want a nice golden brown before removing them onto some paper towel to let any excess oil drain. Repeat your process with the remaining beignets.
Transfer to a serving platter, and shower them graciously with powdered sugar. Serve with coffee or milk. Enjoy the comforts of New Orleans right inside of your own kitchen.
When your strips have risen, remove the board from the oven.