Susan's Story* I can't remember where I first ran across this recipe, but it purports to be the one used at Café du Monde in New Orleans. It may be a copy-cat. I know that Café du Monde sells their Beignets as a mix now.
* These are very good, and worth the time spent working with the yeast. Some restaurants just use a sweetened biscuit dough with baking powder for the leavening, but traditional Beignets were made up with yeast the night before and cooked fresh in the morning.
* These are normally served with powdered sugar and coffee. But another way we like them is for dessert, with sweetened berries on top, and a big dollop of whipped cream.
egg, room temperature and beaten
bread flour or all purpose flour
instant active dry yeast
vegetable oil for cooking: use enough oil to completely cover beignets when frying
powdered sugar for dusting
1MAY USE A DOUGH MIXER, OR A BREAD MACHINE.
If using a mixer with a dough hook, place water, sugar, salt, egg, butter, evaporated milk, flour, and yeast in the bowl. Beat until smooth.
If using a bread machine, add liquid ingredients, then dry ingredients with yeast last (on top of everything else). Select dough setting and press Start, allow to run only until dough cycle has finished (do not bake).
2Turn the dough into a lightly oiled bowl and form into an oval. Cover tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until well chilled (3 to 4 hours) or overnight.
3To prepare dough, remove from refrigerator and roll out on a lightly floured board to 1/2-inch thickness. Cut into approximately 3-inch squares, triangles, or circles.
4In a deep fryer or large pot, heat vegetable oil to 365° F. Fry the beignets (2 or 3 at a time) for 2 to 3 minutes or until they are puffed and golden brown on both sides, turning them in the oil with tongs once or twice to get them evenly brown; beignets will rise to the surface of the oil as soon as they begin to puff.
5NOTE: If the beignets don't rise to the top immediately when dropped into the oil, the oil is not hot enough.
6Remove from oil and drain on paper towels, then sprinkle heavily with powdered sugar. Serve hot.
7The dough can be kept for up to a week in the refrigerator - it actually improves with age; just punch down when it rises. (Dough can also be frozen; shape beignets before freezing.)