Aren’t those beignets, you ask?
Tut, tut my fried compadre.
You see, unless having eaten at Cafe Du Monde and having been photographed with chipmunk cheeks due to stuffing as many beignets in your mouth as possible out fear that a jealous waiter may whisk them away at any moment, it may be difficult to understand my thought process here.
This is how I pay homage to my memory of such perfect treats. I’m sure you can relate. Don’t you have a food experience in your memory that even after recreated in your kitchen, although outrageously delicious and fawned over by all who indulges in them, is still not the exact same to what you recall?
That’s these little darlings. They are potentially as equal in lusciousness as those tender, sugar-packed, brown-sacked babies in New Orleans, but are not quite identical.
These are edible pillows of dough in every sense of the way. Including the fact that I hope to sleep upon a stack of them one day in the near future. They are light and airy but hold enough body of their own to give you total fried satisfaction in just one bite.
They cook fast so as not to contaminate the inside with oil absorption, leaving them airy and tender with a sexy golden exterior. Once plunged into a pile of powdered sugar, the outside softens to become closer to the texture of the interior. Squish one and see for yourself the air that hoists up such a pleasing pastry.
…Although show caution whilst running about squishing dough puffs willy nilly, for anyone who catches you attempting to deflate one of their lot may seek Mme. Laveau down by the bayou for retribution.
Haven’t you heard that story? The old wives tale about the lady who squished a friend’s beignet to examine the lightness when all of a sudden her breads ceased to rise and her chocolate seized without explanation for the rest of her life?
Supposedly, it was the voodoo magic of Mme. Laveau after the friend sought her out for revenge.
Yikes. Gives me the heebee-jeebies.
Do not touch another woman’s puffy dough pillows…just sayin.
Do some bubbly yeast voodoo magic of your own.
Do not attempt to eat this puffy dough pillow- even if bribed with beads.
Divide tasks into the French quarters.
See, making these really is the big easy. Nom nom nom.
Puffy Dough Pillows
Totally divine airy pillows of yeast dough fried to perfection. Dusted- or drenched- in powdered sugar is the only way to go on these New Orleans’ classics. Your search for a beignet recipe stops here, as does your desire to share your baked creations with friends and family.
- 3/4 C water, heated to 115F
- 1/4 C sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp yeast
- 1 egg, room temperature
- 1/2 tsp plus 1/8 tsp fine sea salt
- 1/2 C evaporated milk
- 3 1/2 C bread flour
- 2 T organic vegetable shortening, room temperature
- oil for deep frying
- powdered sugar in a bag for tossing the finished dough pillows
- Preheat oil between 335-340F.
- Place water and sugar into a medium bowl. Add yeast and allow to proof 15 minutes until frothy and yeast-smelling. Meanwhile, whisk together salt and flour and set aside.
- Pour proofed yeast into a large mixing bowl. Add egg and evaporated milk and whisk briefly. Then add half of the flour mixture and stir together. Finally, add remaining flour and shortening and mix thoroughly.
- Knead until the dough becomes smooth. Roll dough into a tight ball and place it in a clean, large bowl greased with vegetable or canola oil. Roll the ball around so all sides are coated lightly in oil. Place dough in bowl and cover with a light towel. Place the bowl in a warm area for 2 hours until doubled in size.
- Gently push dough down and roll into a rectangle 1/4 inch thick. Cut squares 2 inches x 2 inches. Place squares on a large cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Lay a light cloth over the squares and place cookie sheet in a warm place for 30 minutes until squares become puffy.
- Fry squares until golden, flipping constantly, and then remove from oil and toss in bag of powdered sugar. Do not overcrowd pan and it’s best to do one tester to get your timing correct before tossing in all of your squares. Best to eat immediately after coating in sugar- enjoy!
Recipe adapted from Food Network