Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Begin the Beignets

We are still talking about the beignets dessert we had at The Modern, the lovely restaurant run by Union Square Hospitality Group at MOMA in NYC. They were light, not greasy at all and delicious dipped into the caramel sauce or the fruit salsa (mango salsa, if I recall correctly) or the maple ice cream (I think that was it; I didn't take notes) ...trust me on that, I made sure they were delicious with ANY of the sides...

At any rate, Bryn has been talking about them ever since, so what else to do but make beignets and blog about it?

It isn't that difficult--it's a yeast dough. I gave it one rise in the bowl, turned it out, rolled it, then let it go for another rise. I used a pizza cutter to cut them into diamond shapes, then fried them, dusted them with sugar and enjoyed...I had some dulce de leche in the fridge, so I dipped them in that, but does it sound strange if I say the dulce de leche was too sweet? I don't think real caramel sauce is so sweet. At any rate, I didn't like it so much like that. Guess I am a purist when it comes to this--straight up with the dusting of sugar.

I didn't have the needed evaporated milk called for in the recipe, so instead, I used a 4 oz. carton of vanilla yogurt. I thought it gave the beignets the subtlest hint of tang...Very nice.

We will not discuss here the near disaster we had the following day when Bryn wanted to surprise me by frying up the leftover dough--this recipe makes enough for a crowd, so I'd popped it into the fridge. Be we are not discussing that here. Suffice it to say....

Bryn learned the following:
  • Hot grease splatters.
  • Hot grease smokes.
  • Hot grease burns.
  • Water does not cool off grease but makes it splatter some more.

I believe the following:
  • Bryn is lucky only her fingers got some splatter burns.
  • We are lucky the house didn't burn down.

I KNOW this:
  • Bryn is not allowed to turn on anything but the microwave and the kettle when no adults are around. Can you believe she decided to whip up beignets for kicks? Sheesh. The next Julia, right?

Barb and Bryn's Beignets:
(Makes about 40 2-inch beignets)
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeats
3/4 warm water
1/4 cup superfine sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
4 ounces vanilla yogurt
3 3/4 cup flour
2 tablespoons butter
Vegetable Oil for Frying
Powdered Sugar

1. Mix the yeast, water and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Let sit until creamy 9about 10 minutes). Add salt, egg, yogurt and mix with dough hook. Add 1 1/2 cups flour, mix, then add butter and mix until combined. Add remaining flour and mix until dough is just pulling away from the sides of the bowl. Drizzle with a tiny bit of oil, smooth oil over dough, cover with plastic wrap and leave in warm spot for about 1 hour, until doubled in size.

2. Turn dough out onto lightly floured work surface. Pat into rectangle, dust top with flour then roll out to 1/2-inch thick rectangle. Measures about 15 inches long by about 10 inches wide. Cut into diamond shapes (cut straight across one side, then on the diagnonal the other way). Cover in place with a clean dish cloth. Let rise another 40 to 60 minutes.

3. Heat about 2 inches oil to 350 degrees. Gently drop beignets into oil, one at a time. Don't crowd oil or heat will lower. Turn after about 30 seconds. Fry until both sides are golden brown. Drain on paper towel. Cool slightly then dust with powdered sugar: Eat NOW.

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