claire's beignet

from claire weiss
(totally ganked from somewhere else)

In preparation for my upcoming AIDS Marathon in New Orleans, Claire took to making beignet for me when I got back from my long weekend runs. Rock on!

- nh, 17 jan. 2004

The beignet, Louisiana's State doughnut, was first introduced to Louisiana by the Acadians. Early beignet were fried fritters, sometimes filled with fruit. Today, the beignet is a square piece of dough, fried and covered with powdered sugar. They are best when freshly made and served hot.

  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 1/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Cottonseed or vegetable oil for frying*
  • Powdered sugar
  1. In a heavy 2-quart saucepan, combine sugar, salt, butter, and 1 cup water. Bring to boiling: butter will melt. Quickly add flour all at once; beat with wooden spoon until flour is moistened. Cook over medium heat, beating vigorously until dough forms a ball and leaves side of pan. Remove from heat.
  2. Add eggs, one at a time, beating with electric mixer at medium speed after each addition. Continue beating until the mixture is smooth, shiny and satin-y and forms strands that break apart. It should hold its shape when beater is slowly raised. Beat in vanilla. Dough should be fairly stiff.
  3. Roll dough 1/8 to 1/4-inch thickness on a floured surface, using flour liberally on dough. Cut into 2-inch squares.
  4. In electric skillet or large, heavy skillet, heat 1 to 2-inches of oil to 370*F (185*C) on deep frying thermometer.
  5. Fry 3 or 4 at a time until puffy and golden brown on both sides (do not crowd skillet). Remove beignet with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels; transfer to a wire rack. While hot, sprinkle generously with powdered sugar. Keep warm in 225*F (105*C) oven as you continue frying the remainder. Serve hot, preferably with a piping hot cup of cafe au lait!

Makes 18 to 24.