Sometimes a quick 5 minute donut is just right. And then there is the “special occasion” that calls for the N’Orleans Beignet.
When I was a little girl, sometimes on a Friday or Saturday night Daddy would pile us kids into the car around 11:00 P.M. and we would head out to the French Quarter. Of course we kids were in our pajamas with bare feet and we knew we were not getting out of the car. It really didn’t matter, we were just thrilled to see the sights, sounds and smells of the Quarter! Daddy would pull around to the back side of Café Du Monde and we got to order beignets and chocolate milk with curb service. Soon after placing our order, the waiter would return and hook our tray of goodies onto Daddy’s window and we would shriek with delight as he passed out plates of these soft little pillows of goodness. “Be careful not to spill too much powdered sugar on the seats\!” he would warn. But if you have ever eaten beignets you know that was just not possible. Not only was the back seat dusted with confectioner’s sugar, more often than not there were also spills from the cartons of chocolate milk.
If we didn’t go to the Quarter, there was always Verbena Bakery. The bakery was located in a building in the side yard of a residence off of Franklin Avenue. We made sure to wear our shoes if we knew we were going to Verbena because we definitely got to go inside to place our order. You couldn’t eat your doughnuts there but you could watch this tall, thin, black man rolling out the dough and hand cutting doughnuts so quickly, it would make you dizzy! He threaded the doughnuts onto his thumb and would turn swiftly and fling them into the bubbling fryer. My favorite was watching the older lady as she filled the jelly doughnuts with that fabulous raspberry jam. Gosh, I wish I could remember their names! I can tell you that there is NOTHING on this earth better tasting than a hot doughnut right out of the fryer and freshly dipped in a bath of glaze!
I will never, ever forget those late night doughnut runs with my siblings and my sweet Daddy!
Then there were those weekends when Daddy was on a fishing trip so Mama would make her version of QUICK doughnuts . These were made by frying regular canned biscuits in a shallow pan of hot vegetable oil. As soon as they turned golden brown, they were drained and then liberally sprinkled with confectioner’s sugar and sometimes a little ground cinnamon. These are so delicious and surprisingly satisfying.
Quick 5 minute Doughnuts
2 cans of your favorite canned buttermilk biscuits (not the flakey kind)
After frying, drain on paper towels. Dust generously with confectioner’s sugar!
And now for the French Quarter Beignets My Way!!
French Quarter Beignets
Yields about 6 dozen
- 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water (115*F)
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 envelopes active dry yeast
- 2 eggs, slightly beaten
- 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
- 1 cup evaporated milk
- 7 cups All Purpose Flour
- 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/4 cup room temp. shortening, cut up into bits
- Nonstick spray
- Oil, for deep-frying
- 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
Mix slightly warm water, sugar, and yeast in a large bowl and let sit for 10 minutes to proof.
In another bowl, beat the eggs, salt and evaporated milk together. Mix egg mixture into the yeast mixture. In a separate bowl, measure out the flour and whisk in the salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add 3 cups of the flour to the yeast mixture and stir to combine. Add the shortening and continue to stir while adding another 3 cups flour. (Save remaining flour to dust the cutting surface.) Remove dough from the bowl, place onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Spray a large, clean bowl with nonstick spray or drizzle over a little vegetable oil to coat. 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 or place in a large sieve over a large bowl and set aside.
Roll the dough out to about 1/4-inch thickness and cut into 2-inch squares. Deep-fry, flipping once or twice, 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. Or sieve the hot beignets with lots of confectioner’s sugar. Serve immediately!!!!!!!!!!
Until next time……Bon Appetit