Beignets in French Quarter of New Orleans, Louisiana; photo by beautifulcataya on Flickr (noncommercial use permitted with attribution / no derivative works).
In 1986, the Louisiana legislature officially designated the beignet (pronounced "ben_yay") as the state doughnut of Louisiana. This was a way to celebrate the state's unique culture and cuisine. Today, beignets can be found at restaurants and cafes throughout Louisiana, and they are a popular souvenir for visitors to the state.
The beignet is a fried dough pastry that is popular in Louisiana. It is made from a simple dough of flour, water, sugar, and yeast, which is deep-fried and then dusted with powdered sugar. Beignets are often served for breakfast or as a snack, and they can be enjoyed plain or with a variety of toppings, such as chocolate sauce, fruit preserves, or maple syrup.
The beignet is believed to have originated in France, where it is known as a "bugne." It was brought to Louisiana by French colonists in the 18th century, and it quickly became a popular pastry in the region. Beignets were often served at Mardi Gras celebrations, and they became a symbol of the city of New Orleans.
- 2 tablespoons warm water (105 ° F)
- ½ teaspoon active dry yeast
- 2 teaspoons vegetable shortening
- 1 tablespoon sugar (plus a pinch for yeast proofing)
- 3 tablespoons whole milk
- 1 large egg white
- 3 tablespoons boiling water
- 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour (plus extra for rolling)
- Pinch of salt
- 2 cups neutral oil (for frying, I use canola)
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- In a small bowl, combine the warm water and yeast. Add a pinch of sugar and let it sit for about 5 minutes until it becomes frothy.
- In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, salt, and sugar.
- In another small bowl, whisk together the egg white and milk.
- Add the yeast mixture and egg mixture to the flour mixture and stir until it forms a dough.
- Knead the dough on a floured surface until it becomes smooth.
- Place the dough in a greased bowl and cover it with plastic wrap. Let it rise in a warm place for about an hour.
- Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.
- Roll out the dough on a floured surface until it is about ¼ inch thick.
- Cut the dough into squares or circles.
- Fry the beignets in batches until they are golden brown on both sides.
- Remove them from the oil with a slotted spoon and place them on paper towels to drain.
- Dust them with powdered sugar before serving.
Enjoy your beignets!