Happy (belated!) Mardi Gras, everyone- and hello, March! Whether you participated in yesterday’s festivities from the heart of New Orleans or from the comforts of your home- which is exactly what I did- I have a classic recipe to share to commemorate Fat Tuesday that is sweet, delightful and delicious- even if you’re making these a day or two late!
Although this recipe takes a bit of time for prep work- you can make the dough the night before (I’ll include those details below, as well) to give yourself a head start, especially if you’re getting ready to feed a crowd.
And be sure to have your choice of fruits or chocolates on hand to serve alongside these bites for a truly celebratory experience!
WHAT YOU’LL NEED:
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
- ¾ cup warm water (95°F to 100°F)
- ½ cup evaporated milk
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- Vegetable oil, for frying
- Confectioners’ sugar, for garnish
WHAT YOU’LL DO:
1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour with the sugar, salt and yeast. Add the warm water, evaporated milk, egg and butter, and mix on medium speed until the mixture forms a smooth but sticky dough, about 5 minutes.
2. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased medium bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise in the refrigerator until doubled in size, 1 to 2 hours.
3. When the dough has risen, in a medium pot, heat 2 to 3 inches of vegetable oil until the oil reaches 350°F on a thermometer. Line a baking sheet with several layers of paper towels.
4. While the oil heats, divide the dough in half. On a lightly floured surface, roll out each piece of dough to about ¼-inch thick. Cut the dough into 2-inch squares (no need for precision!)
5. Fry the dough in batches until golden brown and puffed, turning the dough while it fries so it browns evenly, 5 to 6 minutes..
6. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the beignets from the oil to the paper-towel-lined baking sheet. Cool slightly, then finish with a generous sprinkling of confectioners’ sugar before serving.
** For Overnight Dough Prep ** In step 2, use lukewarm water (80°F to 85°F). Transfer the dough to a lightly greased medium bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let it rise in the refrigerator overnight, or 8 to 10 hours. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and resume with step 4.
These are hands down one of my favorite desserts to both bake and eat- made extra special since I typically only enjoy these around Mardi Gras.
This year I served my beignets with pureed banana and dark chocolate shavings- which made them extra pretty looking and tasty- but feel free to get creative and colorful with yours!