Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Making Beignets

Years ago, when I worked at La Parisienne (a fancy pants French restaurant) every Saturday and Sunday afternoon we served brunch.  One of my jobs was making beignets.  It was a really simple dough that was allowed to rise, cut out into small rectangles, fried, then dusted with powdered sugar.  I made so many of those little fried jewels that I often had to throw a dishtowel into the hot grease just to shake things up a bit.  Nevertheless, beignets are still one of my favorite memories from the restaurant. 
After searching the Internet for some recipes that came close to the "big batch" beignets from the restaurant days, I came across a recipe from a chef that I really admire, Alex Guarnaschelli from The Food Network.  These little pillows of fried dough came out perfectly, although a bit larger than your average beignets.
After mixing up the dough, I left it alone to rise.  Here it is after it doubled in size.
Next, I rolled the dough out to the thickness I wanted (about 1/2 inch) then cut out each beignets with a medium size round cookie cutter.
Once cut and on a floured sheet pan, let the beignets rise again.  Then it's time to fry!

Have a little plate or bowl filled with granulated sugar next to the fryer so that you can immediately roll the beignets in the sugar when they come out of the hot oil.

The recipe calls for a raspberry filling so definitely add that if it appeals to you.  I am a purist by nature so I opted out and left my beignets plain.
They came out warm, sugary, and delicate...and absolutely delicious!  Beignets take a bit of patience (all that resting, rising, and waiting) but they are well worth the wait!