History of Beignets
Beignets are the official state doughnut of Louisiana. How this tasty treat ended up in the Pelican State is a typical American migration story. From Rome andGaul, to the Great White North and the Big Easy, beignets are an American success.
Europeans have been eating fried dough at least as far back as ancient Rome. Scriblita were a type of Roman pastry made of moist dough dipped into boiling animal fat.
French cooks eventually developed two basic types of pastry: doughs that use yeast as a raising agent, and those that rise with their own steam. Doughs that are moist enough to use steam to fluff up are called choux pastries. Traditional beignets are achoux pastry.
French settlers brought beignets with them as theymigrated to the eastern coast of Canada, a regioncalled Acadia, in the 17th century. Thousands of Acadians endured a forced migration as the British took control of the region a hundred years later. Many Acadians settled in Louisiana, where theirdescendants became known as Cajuns. Acadians brought their cuisine, as well as their language, with them as they migrated south.
Today, beignets are most associated with the French Quarter of New Orleans, Louisiana
Source: National Geographic
Enjoy the recipe below:
1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 envelope active dry yeast
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 cup evaporated milk
7 cups bread flour
1/4 cup shortening
Oil, for deep-frying
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
Mix water, sugar, and yeast in a large bowl and let sit for 10 minutes.
In another bowl, beat the eggs, salt and evaporated milk together. Mix egg mixture to the yeast mixture. In a separate bowl, measure out thebread flour. Add 3 cups of the flour to the yeast mixture and stir to combine. Add the shortening and continue to stir while adding the remaining flour. Remove dough from the bowl, place onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Spray a large bowl with nonstick spray. 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 and set aside.
Roll the dough out to about 1/4-inch thickness and cut into 1-inch squares. Deep-fry, flipping constantly, 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.
Recipe courtesy of Food Network/Paula Deen