Hey there! Today’s article is all about a perfect recipe for pillowy beignets, brought to you by Claire Saffitz from Dessert Person. Beignets are these amazing squares of fried dough that are similar to donuts, and if you’ve ever had the ones at Café Du Monde in New Orleans, you know just how chewy and light they are. Well, this recipe aims to recreate that same texture, using yeasted dough to create large interior holes and airy pillows. Coating them generously with confectioners’ sugar is key, and this recipe makes about 35 to 40 beignets. The ingredients include all-purpose flour, rye or whole wheat flour, granulated sugar, kosher salt, baking powder, active dry yeast, whole milk, eggs, and neutral oil for frying. The video is produced by Vincent Cross, directed by Calvin Robertson, and edited by Hal McFall, with animation credits to Jack Sherry, Johara Dutton, and M. The article goes into detail about Claire’s journey to recreate these beignets, from visiting Café Du Monde and falling in love with their beignets, to doing research and testing to come up with her own version. She mixes the dough by hand to create a wet and sticky consistency, kneads it until it’s elastic and cohesive, and lets it rise before chilling in the fridge. Then, she forms the beignets into squares, fries them until crispy, and coats them generously in powdered sugar. The texture is described as light, chewy, and not greasy, and they are highly recommended to be enjoyed with a cup of coffee. So grab your ingredients and get ready to make this delicious treat!
Welcome to the recipe for perfect pillowy beignets! Inspired by the delicious beignets at Cafe Du Monde in New Orleans, this recipe aims to recreate their chewy and light texture. Beignets are fried dough squares similar to donuts, but with a unique taste and texture. The recipe uses a yeasted dough to create large interior holes and airy pillows. Coating the beignets with powdered sugar is an important step to achieve the desired taste. This recipe yields around 35 to 40 beignets.
To make the perfect pillowy beignets, you will need the following ingredients:
- 3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (17.8 oz / 506g), preferably a high-protein brand such as King Arthur
- 1/4 cup rye or whole wheat flour (1.2 oz / 34g)
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar (3.5 oz / 100g)
- 2 3/4 teaspoons Diamond Crystal kosher salt or 1 1/2 teaspoons Morton kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 1/2 cup whole milk (4.2 oz / 120g), at room temperature
- 2 large eggs (3.5 oz / 100g), beaten, at room temperature
- 6 cups neutral oil (2.9 lb / 1.3kg), such as peanut, for deep-frying
For this recipe, you will need the following equipment:
- Bowl and spatula for mixing the dough
- Heavy-bottomed pot with high sides (such as a Dutch oven) for deep-frying
- Deep fat thermometer to regulate the oil temperature
The total cooking time for this recipe will depend on individual factors such as the speed of preparation and frying. Allow enough time for mixing, kneading, rising, chilling, shaping, frying, coating, and serving.
This recipe yields approximately 35 to 40 pillowy beignets.
To prepare the perfect pillowy beignets, follow these steps:
Mixing the Dough
- In a large bowl, combine the all-purpose flour, rye or whole wheat flour, granulated sugar, kosher salt, baking powder, and active dry yeast.
- Mix the dry ingredients together until well combined.
- In a separate container, measure out the lukewarm water and add the active dry yeast. Stir until the yeast is dissolved.
- Add the milk and beaten eggs to the yeast mixture and whisk until combined.
- Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the liquid mixture.
- Using a spatula or a bowl scraper, gently incorporate the flour into the liquid until there are no dry flour spots remaining. Be careful not to overmix.
Kneading the Dough
- Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface.
- Begin kneading the dough by folding it in half, pushing down with the heel of your hand, and turning it 90 degrees.
- Continue kneading for about 10 minutes, or until the dough becomes elastic and cohesive.
- The dough should be sticky at first but should become easier to work with as you knead.
- If the dough becomes too sticky, add a small amount of flour as needed, but be cautious about adding too much.
Rising the Dough
- Place the kneaded dough back into the mixing bowl.
- Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap.
- Allow the dough to rise at room temperature for approximately 1.5 hours, or until it has doubled in size.
- The rising time may vary depending on the temperature and humidity of your kitchen.
Chilling the Dough
- Once the dough has risen, transfer it to the refrigerator.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill the dough for at least 1 hour or up to overnight.
- Chilling the dough helps to make it easier to handle and shape.
Shaping and Frying
Follow these steps to shape and fry the beignets:
Preparing the Work Surface
- Generously flour your work surface to prevent the dough from sticking.
- Ensure that all your ingredients and tools are ready for frying before moving on to the next steps.
Forming the Beignets
- Remove the chilled dough from the refrigerator and transfer it to the floured work surface.
- Gently press down on the dough to release any air pockets.
- Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough to a thickness of about 1/4 inch.
- Cut the dough into 2.5-inch squares using a knife or a pastry cutter.
- Separate the dough squares and dust them with flour to prevent sticking.
Frying the Beignets
- In a heavy-bottomed pot with high sides, heat the neutral oil to 375°F (190°C) using a deep fat thermometer to regulate the temperature.
- Carefully drop a few beignets into the hot oil, being mindful not to overcrowd the pot.
- Fry the beignets for about 2-3 minutes on each side, or until they are golden brown and puffed up.
- Use a slotted spoon or tongs to remove the fried beignets from the oil and transfer them to a plate lined with paper towels to drain excess oil.
- Continue frying the remaining beignets in batches until all are cooked.
Coating and Serving
To coat and serve the perfect pillowy beignets, follow these steps:
Dusting with Powdered Sugar
- Once the beignets are fried and drained, generously dust them with powdered sugar.
- Be sure to coat all sides of the beignets for a sweet finish.
Texture and Serving Suggestions
The beignets should have a light, chewy texture and should not be greasy. Serve them fresh and warm with a cup of coffee, just like at Cafe Du Monde.
Tips and Recommendations
To ensure the best results when making the perfect pillowy beignets, consider the following tips:
Handling the Dough
- The dough may be sticky at first, but avoid adding too much flour during kneading as it could make the beignets dense. Add flour sparingly as needed.
- When shaping the beignets, make sure to generously flour your work surface and dust the dough squares with flour to prevent sticking.
- Use a sharp knife or pastry cutter to cut the dough into squares for even and uniform beignets.
Organizing the Cooking Process
- Have all your ingredients and tools ready before frying the beignets to make the cooking process smoother and more efficient.
- Prepare a plate lined with paper towels to drain excess oil from the fried beignets.
Regulating Oil Temperature
- Use a deep fat thermometer to monitor and regulate the oil temperature while frying the beignets. Maintaining a consistent temperature ensures even cooking and prevents the beignets from becoming greasy.
The video for this recipe was produced by Vincent Cross, directed by Calvin Robertson, and edited by Hal McFall. The animation credits go to Jack Sherry, Johara Dutton, and M. Cody Wiley.
In conclusion, the recipe for perfect pillowy beignets aims to recreate the delicious and chewy beignets from Cafe Du Monde in New Orleans. With its yeasted dough, large interior holes, and airy texture, these beignets are a delightful treat to make at home. Remember to coat them generously with powdered sugar before serving and enjoy them with a cup of coffee. Happy cooking!