Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Traditional Buttermilk Beignets with Cinnamon Powdered Sugar

I've never attempted to make beignets nor have I ever tried them, and until a few days ago I didn't even know how to pronounce the word. Well, with the help of Joy the Baker, these tasty doughnut-like treats are perfect (especially when they are warm and fresh). These are traditionally eaten during Mardi Gras in New Orleans and else where, but aren't always eaten with powdered sugar on top (that is America for you). Either way, these were relatively easy to make and I would make them again in a heartbeat. Try them yourself!

*Makes: about 2 dozen, depending on size

  • 3/4 cup (180ml) milk
  • 1 1/2 cups (360g) buttermilk
  • 4 tsp active dry yeast
  • 3 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 4-4 1/2 cups (520-580g) strong bread flour, plus about 1 cup (130g) extra for flouring the work surface
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • Powdered sugar and cinnamon combined for serving, 1-2 cups (120-240g) powdered sugar mixed with 4-8 tbsp of cinnamon


Step 1: To start, take the milk and buttermilk out of the fridge and allow them to sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes before starting.

Step 2: Pour milk into a small saucepan and heat over medium heat. Heat until milk is steaming and small bubbles form on the surface (don't burn the milk though). The milk will be very warm to the touch. Remove it from the heat and pour it into a large bowl. Add buttermilk to the warm milk. Stir in granulated sugar. 

Step 3: Sprinkle yeast over the milk and sugar mixture. Stir gently. Allow milk and yeast mixture to sit for 5 minutes to activate the yeast. When yeast is active, the tops of the mixture will be slightly foamy and bubbling and that's how you know it is ready.

Step 4: Add flour, baking soda, and salt to the wet ingredients. Use a wooden spoon and mix until the dry ingredients are moistened. Keep mixing for another 5 minutes. Because the dough is wet it will stick to the bottom of the bowl. Try not to add more flour, but if you must, add up to 1/2 cup more flour (the mixture will still be wet). Stop mixing and use a spatula to scrape the dough from the bottom of the bowl, ensuring that all of the wet and dry ingredients are thoroughly combined.

Step 5: Move the dough to a bowl that has been sprayed with cooking spray or veggie oil, cover with plastic wrap, and then a clean dish towel. Allow to rest in a warm place for 1 hour.

Step 6: Generously flour a work surface with your extra bread flour. Use a spatula to remove the risen dough from the bowl. Generously flour the top of the dough. Gently flatten the dough. Use a floured rolling pin to roll the dough into a 1/2-inch thick rectangle shape. 

Step 7: Using a large knife or pizza cutter, cut the dough into 1 1/2 inch squares (or smaller if you want mini beignets). Flour the knife or pizza cutter as you slice. Try to separate the slices as you cut them so the dough does not stick together after it is sliced.

Step 8: Place enough oil in a saucepan to fill it to a depth of about 3-inches. Place a candy thermometer in the oil and heat over medium-high to 375F/190C. Place several layers of paper towel on a clean work surface.  Place a cooling rack (if you have one) atop the paper towels.  This will be our cooling and powder sugar station. Place powdered sugar in a bowl mixed with the cinnamon so you can dip your fresh beignets in it as they come out of the oil. Place some leftover pieces in the oil to test it out.

Step 9: Gently add beignets to the hot oil. Try not to overcrowd the pan (I was using a large wok and could fit 5 beignets comfortably). Fry until golden brown on both sides (about 2-3 minutes). Remove from oil and place on cooling rack. After a couple minutes of cooling off, stick each beignet top in the cinnamon powdered sugar.

Step 10: Before frying more batches of beignets make sure the oil is at 375 degrees F. Fry until all dough is cooked through and dusted with sugar. Serve immediately. Enjoy (with lots and lots of cinnamon powdered sugar)!

Now to photograph them!


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