Buttermilk Beignets & awaiting the arrival of summer.

Last week there needed to be some comfort in my life. No, there were no deaths, I am not going through a quarter life crisis, nor am I unhappy with where I am in life. Facts? Everyone I love is alive. Hurray! 25 has been the shiz. Quarter-life celebration? Yes please! & I couldn’t be happier to occupy this small corner of earth. I’m loving it here in Squamish! However, there was a teensy, itsy, bitsy little thing . . . no sun.
Picture

May I remind you it was June. No, not June-uary. And no, it’s not funny every time you say that. It makes we want to stick my head in the ground and either a) refuse to emerge until the sun does, or b) continue to burrow my way through the earth until I come up on the other side, hopefully to an abandoned island where sunshine & mangoes are my constant companions.Maybe I was over reacting. Maybe I was freaking out. In Missouri, the sun started to make itself known sometime around late March, early April, depending on its mood. If it waited this long, there would be a riot. I was seeing pictures of my family enjoying camping & canoe trips in our favorite spots. Seeing tans & sun-kissed skin. Shorts, tank tops & flip flops. Toes in dirt & sweat.Beautiful.

Yes, I know it is still beautiful here while overcast & rainy! But my vitamin D deficiency was getting the best of me.

Picture

One evening after dinner, my emotions got the best of me. I sat on the couch, looked my husband in the eyes, & started bawling like a little girl who just lost her ice cream cone to a mean ol’ dog. From my gut & my bones & my heart, I was sick of clouds. This amazing man, who obviously can’t control the weather & didn’t deserve to be cried at, comforted me in amazing ways. Visit to the in-laws, conversation, family, beer, & a hot tub under the stars. Those are the sorts of things that warm you bones & your soul, even when you can’t see the sunshine.Also, beignets help.
Picture

I saw this recipe a while back. I bought bread flour, prepared, then realized I needed to make it with a friend or two, because there was no way I would be able to eat all these by myself.Translation? I can’t be left in the house with this many beignets. Dangerous, slippery slope.Between work & life & schedules, I was finally able to coordinate with a friend to help my fry & eat these lil’ pillows.

Picture

This dough is so wet. Joy was right. If you think you might be going in the wrong direction, that you might have screwed it all up, then you are on the right track. This dough is on a journey. Could we take this metaphor deeper? Probably. Let’s move on . . .Hot oil & my phone don’t mix. Picture me focusing on not burning these, while freaking out about how fluffy they were getting. (yes, this happens.)
Picture

Picture

Picture

This was my first experience with beignets, and it will not be the last! So it. Yeasty & full of air pockets, yet the dough wasn’t crumby; it had some chew to it. Sweet, yeasty, chewy dough. Few things in life are better than that combination! These were eaten with a cold glass of milk & a friend. When the weird of life is getting you down, beignet. It is now a verb. It means to refuse to let life get you down; to be active in not wallowing; to enjoy too much of a good thing & let it be good.You now have my permission to. So, I say again, beignet.  😉
Buttermilk Beignets
makes 2 dozen large or 4 dozen small beignets3/4 cup whole milk1 1/2 cups buttermilk

4 teaspoons active dry yeast

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

4 to 4 1/2 cups bread flour, plus about 1 cup extra for flouring the work surface

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

Canola oil for frying

Powdered sugar for serving, a lot… about 2 to 3 cups

To start, allow the whole milk and buttermilk to sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes before bringing this recipe together.

Pour whole milk into a small saucepan and heat over medium heat.  Heat until milk is steaming and small bubbles form on the surface.  The milk will be very warm to the touch.  Remove from the heat and pour warm milk into the bowl of an electric stand mixer.  Add buttermilk to the warm milk.  Stir in granulated sugar.  Sprinkle yeast over the milk and sugar mixture.  Stir gently.  Allow milk and yeast mixture to sit for 5 minutes to activate the yeast.  When yeast is active, the tops of the mixture will be slightly foamy and bubbling.

Add flour, baking soda, and salt to the wet ingredients.  Use a dough hook and beat on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened.  Increase speed to medium and beat for 5 minutes.  This is a very wet dough so the dough will stick to the bottom of the bowl as it is beaten with the dough hook.  Try not to be tempted to add more flour, but is you must, add up to 1/2 cup more flour (the mixture will still be wet).   Stop the mixer and use a spatula to scrape the dough from the bottom of the bowl, ensuring that all of the wet and dry ingredients are thoroughly combined.  Remember:  the dough will be sticky.  AKA:  don’t freak out.  Leave dough in the mixing bowl to rise.  Cover with plastic wrap and a clean dish towel.  Allow to rest in a warm place for 1 hour.

Generously flour a work surface with bread flour.  Use a spatula to remove the risen dough from the bowl.  Once dough is on the floured work surface, generously flour the top of the dough.  Gently flatten the dough, fold it in half, then tuck the ends under to create a dough round.  The dough will still be very moist, but as long as your work surface is well-floured, you shouldn’t have any issues.

Use a floured rolling pin to roll the dough into a 1/2 to 1/3-inch thick rectangle.  Cover the dough with a clean dish towel and allow to rest for 5 minutes.  Using a bench knife or pizza cutter, cut the dough into 1 1/2 inch squares.  Stop to flour the knife or pizza cutter as you slice.  Try to separate the slices as you cut them so the dough does not stick together after it is sliced.

Place enough oil in a saucepan to fill it to a depth of about 3-inches.  I used 32 ounces of oil in a 3qt saucepan.  Place a candy thermometer in the oil and heat over medium-high head to 375 degrees F.  Place several layers of paper towel on a clean work surface.  Place a cooling rack (if you have one) atop the paper towels.  This will be our cooling and powder sugar station.  Place powdered sugar is a fine mesh sifter to dust the beignets as they come out of the oil.

Gently add beignets to the hot oil.  Try not to overcrowd the pan, I could fit three beignets at a time in my pan.  Fry until golden brown on both sides, flipping them once or twice during frying, about 2 to 3 minutes.  Remove from oil and place on cooling rack.  Immediately dust with a generous amount of powdered sugar.

Before frying more batches of beignets make sure the oil is at 375 degrees F.  Fry until all dough is cooked through and dusted with sugar.  Serve immediately.  These beignets are best (as most things are) straight from the fryer.  These beignets are best the day they’re made, very soon after frying.

To Make the beignets ahead:

The beignet dough can be made up to 8 hours in advance of frying. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray it with nonstick cooking spray. After cutting the dough, place the beignets on the paper and place another greased sheet of parchment paper, sprayed-side down, on top. Wrap the entire baking sheet with plastic wrap and refrigerate. The beignets can be fried straight from the refrigerator.

Source: Joy the Baker
Listening to: “Carry On” by fun.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: