Hello! Thanks to everyone who tuned in to watch me on The Chew! If you missed it, there's a clip in the video above. You can also watch the full segment by clicking here (starting at the 27:50 mark).
I actually made my beignet recipe again yesterday! This recipe takes me back to chilly Saturday mornings spent ordering beignets and cafe au lait (mixed with a little hot chocolate). "Coffee Call"-- Baton Rouge's version of "Cafe du Monde"-- was a favorite spot for my friends and I to meet up in high school to enjoy the pillowy fried dough. I always ended up wearing a considerable amount of powdered sugar by the time I left--there was no escaping the clingy white powder. Even though there were heaps of powdered sugar on the beignets, there were little shakers on the cafe tables willed with even more powdered sugar, and I'd always add more.
This recipe is unique because the dough uses evaporated milk. The dough is also enriched with egg, melted shortening and sugar. Here are three tips to being successful with this recipe:
1. Monitor the temperature of the oil. The oil should be as close to 370 F as possible throughout the frying process. Too cold oil and your beignets will be greasy. Too hot and they'll brown before they're cooked on the inside! Get a thermometer and only friend when the temp. is right in the 370 range.
2. Use enough flour when rolling it out. The dough is a "sticky dough." If you handle it without enough flour, it will become a sticky mess! A dough scraper (or large spatula) can help you transfer the dough easily. Before rolling it out, be SUPER generous with the flour--both under the dough and on top of the dough. Generously flour the surface, turn the dough on to the surface, and then generously flour the top of the dough. Roll the dough, cut it, then transfer each square to a heavily floured area. (I noticed that if I don't separate the squares, they will continue to rise while I'm frying, and they will all stick together.)
3. Once in the oil, flip after 15 seconds, and keep flipping during the first minute. This prevents the beignets from ballooning too quickly.
With those three tips, I'm positive that anyone can be successful making this recipe! Keep the oil temperature steady, use lots of flour, and flip those beignets! (Sticky doughs can be scary, but they make for some of the lightest pastries!)
1 and 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
3/4 cup warm water (6 ounces)
1/3 cup granulated sugar (67 grams)
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
3 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (455 grams) (divided, plus extra for dusting)
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening (melted)
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar (for dusting)
Canola oil (for frying, plus extra for greasing)
Grease a large bowl with oil, set aside. Line a large pan with paper towels and set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, add yeast, water and sugar. Hand whisk to combine and set aside to bloom, about 5-10 minutes.
To the bloomed mixture, add evaporated milk, and egg, and whisk to combine. Add salt and 1 and 3/4 cups flour. Using a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, mix on level 3/10 until combined. Add shortening and remaining flour, and knead on level 3/10 until dough is smooth, about 4-5 minutes.
Using a dough scraper, transfer dough into prepared bowl. Cover with plastic or towel and set aside until it doubles in size, about 2 hours.
In a large Dutch oven or deep fryer, preheat 4-inches of oil to 370ºF.
On a clean workspace dusted with flour, roll out dough to a 1/4-inch thickness, dusting with flour as needed. Cut the dough into 3-inch squares and carefully transfer into the oil. After dropping the squares in the oil, flip after 15 seconds and continue to flip every 15 seconds for the first minute or so. This will prevent a "hump" from forming. Fry until they are golden brown and cooked through, about 2 minutes. Transfer them to a paper towel, dust generously with confectioners' sugar and serve immediately with cafe au lait.
Recipe also may be found here.