Happy Fat Tuesday!! Being from Louisiana, I usually stay true to our cooking methods but for these beignets, I decided to cut the frying and bake instead.
Fat Tuesday, which the French call Mardi Gras, is the traditional name for the day before Ash Wednesday and the last day for the season called “Carnival”. Carnival is characterized by merrymaking, feasting and dancing. So basically, you live it up then, the next day…Lent. Lent is a time for fasting and penance in preparation for Easter, which lasts for 40 days. If you’ve ever been to New Orleans during Mardi Gras, you know they know how to party.
Beignets are a part of our culture, brought to Louisiana by the Acadians. The original beignets were more like a fried fritter and some were filled with fruit. There is nothing like sitting at Cafe Du Monde in New Orleans sipping coffee and eating their amazing beignets.
After combining the ingredients, you will have a sticky ball of dough. Oil a separate bowl, place the dough inside, cover and wrap in a towel for 2 hours. I lay a towel out flat, set the bowl in the middle, then wrap the towel up around it. Sometimes, depending on the temperature of your house, a glass bowl can be cold on the bottom.
For the final stage before baking, heat your oven to 200 degrees F. Once the beignets are cut into 2 inch squares, turn off the oven and put the beignets on baking sheets inside. Crack the oven to allow the heat to escape. This is called proofing and it’s an important final step.
After proofing, you will have fluffy little beignets ready to bake.
Brush a little milk on top of each beignet right before baking. If you don’t get a nice brown top at the end of the baking cycle, turn on broil and toast the top for a few seconds.
Brush each beignet with melted butter and roll in powdered sugar. Place them on a plate and sift a little more powdered sugar on top. You’re done! Enjoy!!
Tasty beignets, baked instead of deep frying.
- 3/4 cup lukewarm water
- 1/4 cup granulates sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
- 1 egg, slightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons bourbon vanilla (regular vanilla is fine)
- 1/2 cup evaporated milk
- 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- powdered sugar for rolling and dusting
- 1/4 cup milk (for brushing beignets before baking)
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
Mix water, sugar, and yeast in a large bowl, set aside for 10 minutes.
In a separate bowl, whisk egg, salt, vanilla extract and evaporated milk.
Pour egg mixture into yeast mixture. Stir.
Whisk in melted butter, then add flour.
Use your hand to mix dough together completely. Dough will be sticky.
Coat a large bowl with oil (I used canola), place dough in bowl and cover with plastic.
Wrap with a towel and set aside to rise for 2 hours.
Heat oven to 200 degrees F.
Line 3 baking pans with parchment paper.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough into a rectangle, 1/4 inch thick.
Cut 2 inch squares with a pizza cutter and place on baking sheets.
Turn off oven and place all baking sheets inside to rise for another 45 minutes.
Make sure to crack the oven door to allow heat to escape.
Remove baking sheets from oven and heat to 375 degrees F.
Brush each beignet with milk before baking.
Bake one tray at a time for 10 minutes. If golden brown is not achieved, broil for a few seconds.
Brush beignet tops with melted butter and roll in powdered sugar.
After placing on plate, lightly dust the tops with more powdered sugar.
Left over beignets can be reheated in the microwave, buttered, then dusted with powdered sugar the next day.