Food and Drink: Beignets Inspired By Chef

My favourite scene in the movie Chef is when Carl and his son visit Café du Monde in New Orleans, famous for their Beignets. As they stroll through the French Market savouring the powdered sugar topped morsels, Carl turns to his son and says "Eat it slow. You're never going to taste your first Beignet again. They don't taste like this anywhere else in the world."

While I've never visited the Crescent City - it's on my bucket list - I've always been drawn to its cuisine; Crawfish étouffée, Po'boys, Muffaletta sandwiches, Jambalaya and Beignets, of course. I decided to try my hand at making these powdered sugar dusted treats. I'm sure they're not as good as what you'd get at Café du Monde, but they were delicious with a soft, cake-like centre.

Make sure to enjoy your Beignets while lingering over a café au lait, and as they say in NOLA... laissez les bons temps roulez!

You'll need:
  • 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water 
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar 
  • 1 envelope active dry yeast 
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten 
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt 
  • 1 cup evaporated milk 
  • 7 cups bread flour 
  • 1/4 cup shortening 
  • Nonstick spray 
  • Oil, for deep-frying 
  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar

1. Mix the water, sugar and yeast in a large bowl and let sit for 10 minutes.

2. In another bowl, beat the eggs, salt and evaporated milk. Mix the egg and yeast mixture. Add 3 cups of flour to the yeast mixture and stir to combine. Add the shortening and continue to stir while adding the remaining flour. Remove the dough from the bowl, place onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Spray a large bowl with nonstick spray. Put the dough into the bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a towel. Let the dough rise in a warm place for at least 2 hours.

3. Preheat the oil in a Dutch oven to 350 degrees.

4. Roll the dough out to about 1/4-inch thickness and cut into 1-inch squares. Deep-fry, flipping constantly, until the Beignets puff up and become a golden color. After the Beignets are fried, drain them for a few minutes on paper towels and dust with powdered sugar.

Picture 2 found here

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