Beignets of New Orleans
What is a Beignet?
I was first introduced to beignets when I first visited the French Quarter of New Orleans back a few years ago. This French pastry also called a “fritter” is a New Orleans breakfast favorite served with a heaping amount of powder sugar on top. Beignets come to the table fresh and hot right from the fryer, at first site you wonder what is this square thing on my plate, but once you bite into the beignet you will ask yourself why have I not had this delicious breakfast item before and why is this not served around the United States as a breakfast item? This fresh deep fried dough is served at many of the coffee shops and restaurants in New Orleans as the beignets are the official state doughnut of Louisiana. Doughnuts are usually round but here in the big easy beignet are square and covered with something from powder sugar or some sort of fruit.
Beignet sprinkled with powder sugar
Where did beignets come from?
The beignets came to the United States when the French colonist came from Canada back in the 18th century. When the French colonist migrated south and landed in Louisiana beignets became a staple to the breakfast menu in the French Quarter. The word beignet comes from the early Celtic word “bigne” meaning “to raise”. Beignets have been around New Orleans for many many years and have been associated with Mardi Gras in France and now Mardi Gras in New Orleans. But before the French brought beignets to America the history of beignets extends way back to the middle ages when Europeans would eat fried dough, but instead of cooking the dough in traditional cooking oil they would fry the dough in boiling animal fat.
Chocolate filled beignets
Beignets are usually made for breakfast and covered with mounds of powder sugar and served with a hot cup of strong coffee or a hot latte. Beignets are also served as a dessert with the beignet being filled with fruit or topped with fruit and whipped topping. Another type of beignet may be served as a main dish when the beignet is filled meats, cheeses, potatoes or seafood. However you stuff your beignet is up to you, these are just a few suggestions but there are plenty of other ways to make beignets on the internet or in cook books, just let your imagination run loose and try your own ideas to stuff beignets. Feel free to share your ideas by leaving your suggestions in the comment box at the end of this hub.
New Orleans Style of Beignet
New Orleans Beignets
Make Your Own New Orleans Beignets, If you've never been to New Orleans, you can still get a taste of its cuisine with our recipe for New Orleans Beignets from scratch, the official state doughnut of Louisiana.
New Orleans Beignets
- Combine 1 (1/4 oz.) envelope of active dry yeast, 1⁄2 cup warm water (105º to 115º), and 1 tsp. granulated sugar in bowl of a heavy-duty stand mixer; let stand 5 minutes. Add 1 cup evaporated milk, 2 large eggs (slightly beaten), 1 tsp. of salt, and 1/2 cup granulated sugar.
- Microwave 1 cup water until hot (about 115°); stir in 1/4 cup of shortening until melted. Add to yeast mixture. Beat at low speed, gradually adding 4 cups flour, until smooth. Gradually add 2 1⁄2 to 3 cups more flour, beating until a sticky dough forms. Transfer to a lightly greased bowl; turn to grease top. Cover and chill 4 to 24 hours.
- Turn dough out onto a floured surface; roll to 1⁄4-inch thickness. Cut into 2 1⁄2-inch squares.
- Pour oil to depth of 2 to 3 inches into a Dutch oven; heat to 360°. Fry dough, in batches, 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Drain on a wire rack. Dust immediately with powdered sugar.
Beignets being made at Cafe Du Monde in New Orleans, LA
Please rate this wonderful beignet recipe
French Quarter Beignets
Mix water, sugar, and yeast in a large bowl and let sit for 10 minutes.
In another bowl, beat the eggs, salt and evaporated milk together. Mix egg mixture to the yeast mixture. In a separate bowl, measure out the bread flour. Add 3 cups of the flour to the yeast mixture and stir to combine. Add the shortening and continue to stir while adding the remaining flour. Remove dough from the bowl, place onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Spray a large bowl with nonstick spray. Put dough into the bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a towel. Let rise in a warm place for at least 2 hours.
Preheat oil in a deep-fryer to 350 degrees F.
Add the confectioners' sugar to a paper or plastic bag and set aside.
Roll the dough out to about 1/4-inch thickness and cut into 1-inch squares. Deep-fry, flipping constantly, until they become a golden color. After beignets are fried, drain them for a few seconds on paper towels, and then toss them into the bag of confectioners' sugar. Hold bag closed and shake to coat evenly.
Prep and Cooking Time
- Prep time: 30 hours
- Cook time: 2 hours 30 min
- Ready in: 32 hours 30 min
- Yields: Around 3 dozen beignets French Quarter Style
- 1 1/2 cups luke warm water
- 1/2 cup sugar, granulated
- 1 envelope yeast, dry
- 2 eggs, slightly beaten
- 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
- 1 cup evaporated milk
- 7 cups bread flour
- 1/4 cup of shortening
- 3 cups confectioners' sugar
- oil for cooking, deep frying
- non-stick spray