Beignets are a French pastry that is fried and served with a thick dusting of powdered sugar. They are most well known for being associated with the French Quarter of New Orleans, but you can make them at home because I’m showing you How to make Beignets!
December 9th is National Pastry Day! You can certainly visit your favorite bakery and choose a delicious pastry to enjoy like a croissant, danish or strudel. Or you can stay home and read this post about How to Make Beignets and make them at home. Be sure to follow my December Food Holidays page so you never miss a food holiday in the month of December!
The History of Pastries:
Ancient Egyptians are said to have created the first type of pastries. These were wrapped around meat, and they were not meant to be eaten. Instead, the purpose of the pastry was to retain the juices of the meat. The meat was eaten and the pastry was tossed!
Flaky filo style dough was used in ancient times in the Mediterranean to create baklava and other Greek specialties.
By the 17th and 18th centuries, Europeans were introducing sugar to pastry. Brioche, napoleons, cream puffs and eclairs were some of the first sweet pastries to appear.
Beignets were brought to New Orleans in the 18th century by French colonists.
How to make Beignets:
- Combine the dough ingredients. Knead until the dough is smooth, cover the bowl and let it rise for one hour.
- Punch it down, and then let it rise again for 2 or 3 hours.
- Roll out the dough, and then cut it into squares.
Heat canola oil in a pan to 375 degrees. Drop the dough into the pan, and let it fry for about one minute. Then flip it over and fry for one more minute. Remove the fried pastry to a paper towel to drain.
When they’ve cooled down a bit, sprinkle them heavily with powdered sugar, and serve!
You don’t have to make them all at once! The dough can be kept for up to a week in the refrigerator- it actually improves with age. Occasionally punch down the dough when it rises.
The dough can also be frozen. Roll out and cut beignets before freezing. If refrigerated, let the dough warm up for easier rolling.
Beignets are best when eaten right before eating. They’re best when they’re fresh and hot!
Fun Facts about Beignets:
- Beignet is French for “fritter.” The word comes from the Celtic word “bigne,” which means “to rise.”
- It is the official state doughnut of Louisiana.
- A beignet is a square pastry with no hole in the middle. It’s typically served in a group of three.
- Beignets can be served for breakfast or dessert.
- Beignets are traditionally enjoyed with hot coffee (cafe au lait– coffee with milk).
- The best places to eat beignets in New Orleans are the Original Cafe Du Monde (est. 1862) and the Morning Call Coffee Stand (est. 1870).
- 1/2 cup lukewarm water
- 1/2 cup lukewarm milk
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup granulated white sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 cups all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons instant yeast
- canola oil
- powdered sugar
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the water, milk, butter, egg, sugar, salt, flour and yeast. Mix and knead on low until you've made a soft, smooth dough. Cover the dough and allow it to rise for 1 hour, or until it's puffy (not necessarily doubled). Gently deflate the dough by punching it down and place it in a greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise for 2 to 3 hours. Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface. Roll it into a roughly 14x10-inch rectangle about 1/2-inch thick. Cut the dough into 2-inch squares.
- Heat the canola oil over medium heat in a heavy-bottom deep fryer or Dutch oven until it is 375 degrees F. Drop 5 or 6 squares of dough into the hot oil. They may sink to the bottom, then after about 5 seconds, rise to the top. Fry the beignets for 1 minute, then turn them over. Fry for another minute, until puffed and golden brown all over. Remove from the oil and drain on a paper towel-lined platter. When the beignets are cool, sprinkle them heavily with powdered sugar.
- **The dough can be kept for up to a week in the refrigerator- it actually improves with age. Occasionally punch down the dough when it rises. The dough can also be frozen. Roll out and cut beignets before freezing. If refrigerated, let the dough warm up for easier rolling.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 20 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 301Total Fat: 22gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 19gCholesterol: 13mgSodium: 71mgCarbohydrates: 22gFiber: 1gSugar: 3gProtein: 3g
Nutritional information is estimated using a nutrition calculator. It's not likely to be 100% accurate.