From our book, Make Give Sell ( Callie Maritz&Mari-Louis Guy)- Photography by Melody Deas
The smell and taste of breakfast in the French Quarter in New Orleans. Although it looks like a doughnut, the method is similar to making éclairs.
1 cup (250 ml) water
125 g butter, cubed
2 Tbsp (30 ml) sugar
a pinch of salt
1 cup (140 g) cake flour
1 tsp (5 ml) vanilla essence
oil for deep-frying
icing sugar for dusting
In a saucepan set over moderate heat, combine the water, butter and sugar. Stir until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved. Bring to a soft but steady boil. Remove from the heat and add the flour all at once. Return to the heat and stir very quickly with a wooden spoon until a ball forms and the dough comes away from the sides.
Transfer the dough to the bowl of an electric mixer, using the paddle attachment. Beat on high speed while adding the eggs one at a time, remembering to scrape down the sides between each addition. Beat for at least 30 seconds between each additional egg. The batter should be shiny and ribbony. Add the vanilla essence and beat through.
Heat the oil in a deep saucepan or deep-fryer until very hot. Test the heat by frying a small amount of batter. If the oil is hot enough the fried batter will pop up to the surface almost immediately.
Fry large spoonfuls of the beignet dough until golden brown and floating on the surface. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Dust generously with icing sugar. Serve immediately.
Makes about 24 small beignets
For savoury beignets, omit the sugar from the recipe, add 2 Tbsp (30 ml) of chopped chives, then dust with finely grated Parmesan cheese after frying.