Often, the recipes I share here at DFK mirror the recipes I’m working on in my everyday chef life. We recently made beignet at the hotel and it seemed clear that it would be a great recipe to do on the blog. This beignet is in the New Orleans tradition (see more on that below), and part of what I like about them is how relatively quick they are to make. There’s no proofing needed, the dough is a one bowl affair, and on top of that they’re incredibly versatile in the types of things you can put in and on them. Case in point, we’re going to stuff these lil’ guys with Nutella, because why not?
Although most of you out in DFK nation will immediately think of the donut of New Orleans fame, the beignet (say: ben-yay) has a deep, old history. The tradition of frying dough as we might know it today is usually attributed in origin to ancient Rome. The French claim a more recent ownership of beignet – beignet is French for fritter – although it’s clear they didn’t simply adopt the culinary tradition from the Romans. More likely there was Islamic influence that was passed on to the French or even the Spanish during the Middle Ages.
Beignet of the New Orleans variety (as opposed to Berliner Beignet, also French, but of a round shape and slightly different dough that is proofed) were brought to the U.S. by the French in 1700’s. They became a staple of Creole cooking and are now synonymous with the city, and the state of Louisiana. In fact, Louisiana named the beignet the state donut in 1986.
I always hesitate to put yields on my recipes since it will vary from kitchen to kitchen and personal preference. That being said, this recipe should give you about 26 3×3” beignet.
If you plan to fill your beignet (with Nutella or any other appropriate filling, of which there are many) you can use a small round piping tip or else purchase a specialty tip made specifically for filling beignet and donuts, called a bismark.
I always use peanut oil for my frying. It has a high smoke point and clean flavor. If that doesn’t work for you, frying in canola oil will work as well.
Speaking of frying – BE CAREFUL! Hot oil burns are very little fun. Make sure to have everything you need for frying setup before your oil gets hot, and work in a focused, methodical manner when things get started. It only take a little bit of oil at 350F to ruin your day.
7g active dry yeast
125g evaporated milk
6g vanilla extract
100g whole egg about 2 eggs
650g all purpose flour
2g baking powder
Melt the shortening and reserve to use later.
Warm the water to 110F/45C and add it to a stand mixing bowl with the active dry yeast, mixing the two ingredients together until the yeast is dissolved.
Add the sugar, evaporated milk, vanilla extract, salt, and whole egg, whisking well until combined.
Sift the all purpose flour with the baking powder and add 2/3 of the mixture to the wet ingredients. Mix with a paddle attachment until combined.
Add the melted shortening and remaining flour, mixing again until combined. You should see some gluten development in the dough, although it will be weak.
Line a half sheet pan with a non-stick baking mat or parchment paper, and spray with non-stick spray, then place the dough on the lined pan and flour it to prevent it from sticking to your hands.
Gently spread the dough evenly onto the lined sheet pan. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and chill it for a minimum of 1 hour up to overnight.
Flour the dough and turn it over onto your table top.
Remove the non-stick mat or parchment paper and flour the dough.
Gently roll the dough to ½”/1.2cm.
Cut the dough into roughly 3×3” pieces (I don’t measure). A pizza cutting wheel works great for this step. If you use a knife, make sure to flour the blade often to prevent it from sticking to the dough.
Cover and chill the dough once more, for a minimum of 30min. up to overnight.
Heat your frying oil to 350F/176C. and fry the beignet for 1min. per side.
Remove the beignet from the oil and place them on a cooling rack to cool and drain for 1-2min.
Fill the beignet from the side with nutella using a 6mm. round piping tip or specialty bismark piping tip.
Dust the beignet liberally with powdered sugar and laissez les bons temps rouler!